1 – There has to be a clear benefit for the reader
2 – It has to be easy for the reader to perform the desired action
3 – There has to be a clear benefit to you the blogger
I will tell you upfront that it is extremely difficult to hit on all three. At least it is for me. But if you can, then you can see amazing results, which is why I think crafting great Calls to Action is a goal worth striving toward. Typically, you craft a CTA that hits on one of these pretty easily. With a little thought it’s not too difficult to hit on two of the keys, but hitting on all three at the same time is what is tough.
The first two steps seem to be a bit easier than the final one (having a CTA with a clear benefit to you the blogger). So I think it makes sense to start with the benefit to you (the blogger) first. The CTA for this post was framed to drive signups of my TLARS newsletter. Newsletter signups was the clear benefit to me that makes moving forward with this worthwhile.
The second area to focus on is the clear benefit to the reader. This is crucial, because you need to motivate the reader to move to the step of actually performing the desired action. If there is a clear benefit to the reader, then they aren’t doing you a favor as much as they are doing themselves a favor by answering your CTA. That’s what you want.
With the above post, The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Engagement, there was detailed instruction on how to build engagement via social media. The content was rock-solid, so when I added the CTA at the end asking readers to signup for my newsletter if you want to learn more about how to not only build engagement around your social media and marketing efforts but to actually cultivate fans of your brand, it was an easy decision to answer the CTA. There was a clear benefit to me the blogger, but also to the reader. So by answering my CTA, the reader actually sees it as if they were doing themselves a favor. This is why I said you need to focus on a clear benefit to the reader, because humans being humans, we will act in our own best interests first. I probably won’t answer your CTA just because you asked me to, but because I can see how *I* will benefit from doing so.
Finally, there has to be an easy way for the reader to perform the desired action. Keep in mind that if you have given the reader a clear benefit to performing the CTA, then they are already motivated to do so. So you need to structure your CTA so you are asking as little as possible from them. For my CTA all the reader has to do is click the link, put in their email address and subscribe. 30 seconds, tops.
But something else I have been doing here, in my newsletter, and on Twitter is asking readers of Think Like a Rock Star to please review the book on Amazon. The response rates have been much lower, simply because it takes most people 10-15 minutes to post a review on Amazon. That is a LOT of time, especially compared to 30 seconds. So just remember if you are asking a lot of your readers when it comes to answering your CTA, then you have to make sure that they are extremely motivated to follow through. This is why if you can make it easier for them to follow through, your response rate will obviously be much higher.
So in order to create a great Call to Action, follow these steps:
1 – Figure out the clear benefit to you. If the reader answers your CTA, how do YOU as a blogger/business owner/marketer/etc benefit?
2 – Figure out the clear benefit to the reader. The reader will act in her own best interests. If you can show her why she will benefit from answering your CTA, then she probably will.
3 – Make it as easy and painless as possible for the reader to answer your CTA. If your CTA clearly benefits the reader, then she is motivated to answer. But you then need to make it as easy as possible for her to answer. The more difficult you make it for her to answer your CTA, the higher her level of motivation needs to be in order for her to follow through. Keep this in mind.
So should every post have a clear Call To Action?
This really depends on what the focus of your blog is (is it your journal, is it how your business markets itself online). Either way, I don’t think every post has to have a clear CTA, but you do need to regularly give your readers some instruction on the actions you want them to take. Even if you are writing a personal blog, it helps to ask for feedback sometimes (assuming you are allowing comments).
But if your blog is a marketing tool for your business, you absolutely need to focus on driving your readers toward a desired action via strong CTAs. If you are a blogging business and want help and advice on engaging with your customers, please email me and I will be happy to discuss your options for how we can work together and give you a free quote on services (see what I just did there?).