Chapter 4

Call to Action

Choosing Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

A call-to-action is a request to your audience to engage further with your organization. It might be something simple, such as asking a visitor to buy, subscribe or donate. You may, however, have a more complex sales cycle or a more expensive product/service which requires education and several communications, called touches, to secure the commitment. You probably also need to continually attract new customers to a product or service that is not an impulse buy.

Identify your CTAs at the get-go

Deciding early on what your calls to action will be is important to minimize the time and cost of building out your marketing foundation. Going through this process will also reduce the number of changes that you make initially. Understandably, any marketing plan is a work in progress and will change as you add new products and services.

Consider the entire prospect-proponent life cycle

Keep in mind that 88% of consumers do research online before they buy, so it’s important to consider all the different methods you might use to stimulate engagement. Think about your prospect’s entire experience, called the life cycle, with your organization.

Your audience may visit your site during their research to learn more. They may register at your site or subscribe to your newsletter before they buy.

They may download a coupon, ebook or white paper or they may have a specific question to ask and post that through your site’s contact form. In these cases, your visitors are leads for you to nurture and qualify.

Later, your visitors may perform the desired action, whether it’s an application, registration or revenue-generating purchase or donation. Then they may become prospects again, as candidates for additional units or different products and services that you offer.

Eventually, you should ask for feedback or reviews of your goods and services. These are called “earned” mentions, basically word-of-mouth marketing, the type that 92% of consumers trust more than any other, according to a Nielsen research study. Recommendations are understandably the most trustworthy type of marketing.

CTAs determine your next steps

The visitor actions that you choose will trigger the assets you create to capture responses. Your site, blog and landing pages will form the central core for most of your activities, however your pages on social media platforms will also provide powerful tools for collecting a wide variety of results from likes to sales. You may also use ticketing, webinar, crowdfunding or retail applications to generate sales, leads or aggregate information.

Submit buttons are not CTAs

Some people think that the site buttons, like the one below, used to submit information, are CTAs. Don’t be confused. A button is simply a tactic to have a user complete an action.

The process to determine as many possible calls-to-action as you might envision before you go further will be worthwhile. It will cause you to create assets appropriate to each and every channel that meets the needs of your plan and its CTAs, whether through Facebook, a press release or a technical publication.


Use the checklist to mark every interesting method you’ll use to secure actions. Are there others to add to this list? You may want to sell on Amazon, Facebook and other sites as well as your own, for instance.

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Performance of a button over a link in a call-to-action from Campaign Monitor

Click to head to Chapter 5.