The Complete Guide to CTAs

January 14, 2014 Michael Keshen

 

As marketers, we’re all well aware of the importance and power of the call-to-action (or CTA, as the kids call it). We’re also aware that not all CTAs are created equal. Sure, it’s great when you can get compel a reader to click on something, but wouldn’t it be better to know who they are? And why they did it? And what else they want from you so they can fall madly in love with your content and your brand?

At Uberflip, we spend a LOT of time thinking about how to get you more leads and more customers through your content marketing – because, as we’ve mentioned before, we’re thinking about this for ourselves too.  We’re content marketers! We’re our own users, working inside our own product every day. And we want that product to provide as much value as possible to our customers in terms of turning visitors into leads, and those leads into customers.

Link CTAs

A Link CTA allows you to easily link visitors to a URL of your choice. You can strategically place your Link CTAs among your content wherever they are most relevant. This will enable you to direct visitors when they are most engaged towards the next stage in whatever flow you have established.

How to Set Up Your Link CTA

To create a Link CTA, go to Manage Hubs → CTAs, then click Create New CTA. From here, select Link CTA.

Choose CTA Type

Next, customize the messaging that will appear within your CTA and where it will link to.

Choose CTA Tagline

Once you’re happy with the CTA’s copy, you can now design the appearance of your CTA. Here you can play with the colors of the background, button and text. You can also adjust the tagline size.

Choose your CTA's colours

Finally, all that’s left is to place your CTA. Your CTA can appear within your Latest Content Feed, within a Stream, or beside individual Items within a Stream. Try to place your CTA wherever amongst the content that is the most relevant. If it doesn’t work everywhere, don’t worry - you can always create more!

CTA Placement

Link CTA Use Cases

Learn More About Us

When people are inside your Hub, chances are they’re interested in your brand. Create a Link CTA to direct people to where they can learn more about you when they’re most engaged with your content. This can be to your homepage, pricing page, or whatever other landing spot that you think works best.

Follow/Like/Connect With Us

Use a Link CTA to better connect with your audience. If you have a Facebook Stream, consider adding a “Like Us on Facebook” CTA that links to your Facebook page, where people can then like your company’s page. If it’s a Twitter Stream, do the same but with a “Follow Us on Twitter” CTA that links to your Twitter profile. Have any other platforms to connect on? You get the idea.

Link to Other Hub Content

A Hub is all about cross-promoting your content, allowing your visitors to discover all of your content regardless of where it comes from. You can better guide your visitors to your premium content (think ebooks, whitepapers or webinar recordings) with Link CTAs: After all, they link to any URL, which can also include URLs of Items within your Hub as well! You can even leverage whatever premium content you link to by gating them with Form CTAs. What are Form CTAs, you ask? Read on to find out!

Form CTAs

Note: Form CTAs are part of our MailChimp, HubSpot and Eloqua integrations. In order to use Form CTAs, you’ll need to have an account with either MailChimp, HubSpot, Marketo or Eloqua.

Form CTAs are what you’ll use to collect information from visitors. It’s what turns an anonymous viewer into a qualified lead. At the minimum you can ask for an email address, but you can also request a person’s first name, last name, or any other field you’d like. Once this information is entered, we’ll send this straight over the software you’ve integrated to manage your contact lists. If you’re using marketing automation, we’ll even track a lead’s behavior through your Hub, so you can create highly targeted campaigns based on exactly what content a person is interested in.

How to Set Up Your Form CTA

To get started with your Form CTA, head to Manage Hubs → CTAs, then click Create New CTA. Select a Form CTA, and select from either our MailChimp, HubSpot, Marketo or Eloqua integrations. In this example, we’ll use HubSpot (click here for information on syncing your HubSpot account with your Hub).

Choose Form CTA

From the dropdown menu, select which list you want those who are signing up for/downloading this piece of content to be added to (for example, a Mailing List in MailChimp or a Smart List in HubSpot). This will allow you to organize and keep track of all of these lovely people.

Fill out the CTA’s copy and select the fields you want people to fill in (you’ll be able to see everything magically appear in a preview so you know exactly what it will look like). If you have set up custom fields within the integration you are using, you will be able to select those forms as well.

Download your Free eBook CTA

Next, design your CTA by customizing its colors and font size.

Customize your CTA's colours

Finally, you can now place your CTA throughout your Hub. You can place CTAs in your Latest Content Feed, within a particular Stream, or at the Item level. For this last option, you can place the CTA beside an Item over overlay it on top of your CTA.

Place your CTA

Form CTA Use Cases

Get In Touch

Since people are at the very least providing their email addresses, it’s presumable that you are going to use this information to contact them. You can use Form CTAs as an opportunity to connect with visitors in whatever way makes the most sense for your business. Perhaps people would like to speak to a sales rep, schedule a product demo or receive exclusive offers. Whatever the reason is, be sure to scatter Form CTAs throughout your content so you’re there when a visitor is ready to connect.

Be sure to have relevant CTAs based on where each one is placed. For instance, let’s say you have 2 Marketing Streams - one for content about lawn mowers and another for scuba diving. Rather than having one CTA in both Streams that says, “Speak to a sales rep,” create 2 Form CTAs: “Let us help you choose the perfect lawn mower!” and “Speak to a scuba expert today!” Since each CTA fits better in their placements, they have a much better chance for success.

Success CTAs

Success CTAs allow you to gate specific content so you can collect reader information and put a name (and email address) to all of those clicks, downloads and page views. Readers can see a piece of content by entering their contact information. Once they do, they’ll be given instant access to your special blog post, whitepaper, eBook, video – you get the idea. Basically, it’s a win/win – you get to know who’s consuming your content and your readers get that content straight away (and more content that’s of value to them once they’re in the funnel).

Under On Success, you’ll enter the message you want your readers to see once they enter their contact information. With a regular form CTA, this message alone would be displayed and they would be added to the list you selected previously. It’s clicking on Link to Content that allows you to give those readers instant access to, well, whatever content you choose to put in there. You can even click on that little “Find Item” button to select an existing item within your Hub.

On Success...

This makes capturing your readers’ information and super easy, and is great for them because they get that content right away instead of waiting for you to email it to them later. As anybody who’s gone head to head with a box of Krispy Kreme knows – instant gratification is a powerful thing.

As you can see in the first image, we were using Success CTAs to allow readers to download a free editorial calendar template, which we’ve had great success (pun intended) with! Once someone enters their contact information into the CTA fields, they were given access to a blog post that contains a short video tutorial on how to create an editorial calendar, along with a link to download the template itself.

Previously, this blog post was public in our Hub, and seeing how popular it was via our Hubs metrics, we realized we were missing out on a real lead generation opportunity. Clearly, this post was providing something of value that people wanted – if we knew who they were and were and were able to provide more of the kind of content they want, we’d be able to establish a real relationship with them. That’s a lot more powerful than a one-off download, right?

Since you’re able to link to whatever you want, how you use Success CTAs is really up to you. We used an existing blog post in our Hub for a more organic, centralized experience. But we also have an external HubSpot landing page that we created that we’re able to link to as well, for a more formal offering. Whatever offering you think aligns best with your content strategy, go for it!

Collect Subscribers

CTAs are a great way to collect subscribers to your Hub - in fact, we were able to boost our subscribers by 9X in one month. You can either create a custom newsletter yourself or use our own newsletter tool to automatically send a summary of your latest Hub content to subscribers. 

We find the Overlay feature to be the most effective technique of gaining new subscribers. This setting will make your CTA pop up over an Item after a predefined time. Take a look at the screenshot below:

Collect subscribers with CTA overlays

Here you can see that we’ve set the CTA to pop up after 60 seconds of reading an Item in our Blog Stream. You might be thinking, “Isn’t 60 seconds a long time to wait? What if people don’t stay that long?” Well, I don’t know about you, but when I load up a page and I’m greeted with a subscription popup I always close it right away. After all, I just got to the blog - I don’t know you yet and I’m not ready to connect. If I’ve made it to a full minute reading your article, then chances are I’m interested in what you’re saying. So, when a popup appears to get more insight in my mailbox, I’m much more likely to actually fill it out.

How are you using CTAs? Have we left out any great use cases? Let us know in the comments!

Speaking of lead generation, learn how we increased our leads by 800% (not a typo) by using Hubs.

About the Author

Michael Keshen

Michael is a Content Marketer at Tucows.

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