I learned a valuable lesson over the festive period. No, it wasn’t the true meaning of Christmas, and I wasn’t brought on a life-changing metaphysical journey by three ghosts, but it was interesting nevertheless.
As an uncle, I excitedly bought several presents for my nephew and niece, and couldn’t wait to see them open their bundled together parcels, but when the big day came, and they rushed to see what I had brought, they tore open the wrapping, looked for a few seconds at the first gift, then dropped them all and rushed off. Ten minutes later, neither of them could recall a single present I had given them.
Knowing parents may give an experienced nod at this point, and call me naïve, because it only dawned on me after the fact what had gone wrong. What I had done was offer people already overwhelmed and over-stimulated by countless distractions even more things to be distracted by and nothing to focus on.
Though the mistake was obvious, many content marketing practitioners are doing the very same thing. Not literally – I don’t mean giving too many presents to children – but the concept is the same. They fill their online content with too many distractions, too many buttons and CTAs, so visitors don’t know what to focus on, what to do, or where to go. The result? They rush off, their attention caught by something else.
As any good content marketing agency or SEO agency should tell you, this is why it is important to ensure that focus by including only one CTA that brings the visitor exactly where they want to go and offers them the one piece of useful content or the one action they want to undertake.
As this blog from adespresso.com points out, web pages with multiple offers such as ‘Download this’, ‘Sign up for that’ or ‘Contact Us’ result not in more click-throughs and leads because of more offers, but in fewer (266% fewer, to be exact), because the visitor doesn’t know which CTA is the one that will bring them the most value. Just as handing my nephew several gifts led to him not being attracted to any of them, so it is that a visitor facing several enticements will not see any of them standing out.
It’s all about keeping it as simple as possible. A clear, single CTA leaves the visitor in no doubt about what action they should take, and what will happen when they take that action. While debates about where to put the CTA are ongoing, the one thing you need to do is make sure it is staring the visitor in the face. (There is also the argument that social media icons are also CTAs, but these can be included in the correct format to make them available as icons that don’t distract).
You want them to be able to instantly recognise and be drawn to the CTA that will lead them to take the action you want them to take, and not be attracted to another page that leads to distraction.
This blog from Vicki McGee puts it plainly by explaining that the online audience is inundated with available content, leaving them time-poor, so they want to read content that is helpful to them, and they want to get what they expect every time they click on something on your site. If they don’t get their desired results, they will be gone within seconds.
Your CTA needs to be based on the content or blog topics that triggered the visitor’s interest and made them click on it, and it should be clear what they need to do to get hold of that eBook, whitepaper, trial, registration, etc. It goes without saying that clicking on this CTA should then deliver on the promise, bringing the visitor to a clear landing page that provides the content or action they want, while also capturing further valuable information about them that will help your business or digital marketing agency engage effectively with them.
It’s important not to be greedy and look for your visitor to instantly become a qualified lead by downloading all sorts of material, signing up for this and that, or contacting you. We all move by taking one step at a time, and the same thing applies to online activity. Do it right, and you have one of the best lead generation tactics there is.
It is best practice to use your inbound digital marketing strategy to move visitors through the customer journey, but this is done in carefully planned stages or steps that provide the content the visitor wants, only at the time they want it.
Rather than bombarding them with offers, provide one CTA that is relevant to their current needs, and then the next logical steps in their search. First-time visitors can be offered a simple fact sheet or eBook, for example, while return or frequent visitors who have already downloaded these might be ready for a webinar, and those who are may later be ready to make their purchasing decision.
It all comes down to showing the visitor that what you have to offer is something they will want or need, and this is best done by offering one thing at a time. If you do this properly, you will see your online visitors turn into leads who will be only too happy to receive what you have to give them.
Find out more about CTAs and Landing Pages and how you can create a great lead generation strategy by downloading our Lead Generation Survival Kit: