Calls-to-action have become something of a staple term in the world of B2B marketing – the concept is as overstated as it is underutilized, as many marketers simply don’t know how to effectively create them. What’s the true purpose of a call to action? Many marketers don’t assume a customer-centric approach, and treat CTA’s as an audience ask. In truth, a call to action isn’t just a compelling ask of your audience- it’s a carefully formulated, appropriate offer. Want to separate yourself from the pack with some CTA best practices? Here are 5 critical things to know:

Use Direct Verbage

For starters, realize that end users won’t do what you want unless you tell them what to do. Be specific- if you’re offering a free eBook download, your offer button shouldn’t read “download” – it should read “download your free eBook”.  Research has shown that using first-person language (your eBook vs. our eBook) typically yields higher click rates for offers.

Make Sure Your Offers are Appropriate

Your offer might be amazing – but that doesn’t matter if your buyer isn’t ready to accept it. Recognize that offers should always be customer-centric, and study your buyers before you send anything! Best-in-class marketers prepare the right content for the right people at the right time. Imagine your buyers as they trek through the buying cycle – in the awareness stage, for example, a buyer will never want to hear about your solution, as they may not have clearly identified or acknowledged their own business problems.

Practice Keyword Consistency

Always use the same language throughout the buyer’s journey when it comes to offers. Think about using effective keywords to highlight your offer in the subject line of your email, the CTA button, and the landing page. Importantly, these keywords should be written through the eyes of your buyer. If you don’t know what makes your buyer tick, you can’t expect to market a compelling offer.

Carefully Place Offers

Poor offer placement may be the number one mistake causing marketers to lose potential customers. Recognize that end-users tend to make up their minds about an offer within seconds, so if your offer isn’t overtly communicated and immediately visible, it will probably be ignored. Downloads and links should always be placed at the bottom of an email below the text, which is why your email should be short and to the point when marketing offers to a specific customer base.  To be sure, more generalized offers should be placed on the sidebars of your company website or blog. These more general offers should, of course, address buyers at any stage in the buyer’s journey.

Test and Optimize Your Changes

Just because you have a good grasp on where your buyer is in the buyer’s journey doesn’t mean you’ll succeed on your first try. Everything from button size and placement, wording, color scheme, and subject line can influence the effectiveness of your offer. It can be tempting to extensively re-work your marketing designs when you don’t see the results you want, but if you resist that urge, it will pay off! Make sure to change only one element at a time. This way, you’ll know exactly which change produced a given outcome.

As we have seen, there’s a lot more to effective CTA management than meets the eye. Directed language, optimal keywords, and well-designed content work best in tandem with appropriate offers when framed through the perspective of the customer. Now that you understand the importance of tailoring your offers with respect to the buyer’s journey, you can use the best practices in this article to transform your current offerings into knock-out results. Want to take real action? Download your IMS360 CTA Best-Practice Infographic today!

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