Note: This post was part of the “Marketing That Works” Ideas Contest, showcasing 20 of the most innovative marketing ideas from the blogosphere’s up and coming marketers. We’ve since picked a winner – check out this post for the details! 🙂
If you’ve been blogging for long, you know that there are good days and better days. Sometimes great ideas are harder to come by, but sometimes with every stroke of the keyboard you spin gold.
Hidden within your website is this golden “best of the best” content. Why make your readers search for it?
Sometimes this can look a bit too much like searching for a lost kitten. Your readers have a problem you might be able to help them fix (their kitty “Mr. Poops” has been gone for 3 days and you have written the perfect post on how to find a lost cat), they might do some “searching” on their own around the house, look under the couch, ask friends what they would do, or eventually go to animal control since they are the authority on lost cats, after all.
It’s time consuming, labor intensive and often it’s so frustrating you just want to give up.
But what if there was a scrap of paper slipped under the door, a ransom note giving strict direction, a command, on what you must do to solve your problem? Suddenly all the advice, and searching that has been done thus far has very little to do with what comes next. The words on that note have your full and undivided attention and give you clear direction on what to do next.
“Download my e-book or the kitty gets it.”
So you rush to your computer, enter your email and download the e-book. As promised, “Mr. Poops” lands on your doorstep safe and sound. Everyone lives happily ever after…
Now before PETA knocks down my door and takes me away for suggesting everyone with a blog goes out and steals a cat, let me explain how this relates to your internet marketing success.
As you have surely heard, lead generation is the engine that makes any internet based business work. Without an engaged audience, your undoubtedly brilliant content, found just beneath the surface of your site, will never be unearthed.
You might have a wonderfully thought-out email newsletter, a flawlessly executed free course, or a killer webinar series…but first you need compelling “ransom note worthy” call to actions in order to make your very best content stand out among the rest of your site so it can do what is was written for, to feed the lead generation engine with new subscribers.
So what exactly makes call to actions “ransom note worthy?”
1. It’s personal
Now, I’m not suggesting that this needs to be quite as personal as our ransom note example, but it’s important to understand the motivation behind why your reader is viewing the page where your particular call to action appears.
- If someone is looking at a price comparison page, a call to action like: “5 unorthodox ways to save on…” might fit the bill nicely.
- Your “About” page might be a good place to include a call to action for samples of your product or even your employment page. Both are great ways to build your list.
2. It shows unavoidable value
More importantly it draws on what is already valuable to the reader. This is just another way of saying that you must highlight your strongest benefits in your call to actions, not your products features. People want to feel good about themselves, eliminate a pain or problem, have more time to do what is important to them. How that is actually accomplished is certainly important, but always secondary.
For instance, if your site was in the business of helping the elderly use a computer.
Instead of: “10-tips to get you started with email”
You may want to try (and test): “Learn how to stay in touch with your kids with email: 10-simple steps”
The first one is not all bad, but by focusing in on the benefit to our target customer first, the second one follows strong headline writing technique. It shows the customer the real value they will get in return for giving you their contact information. This is critical for increasing your call to actions rates and website conversions.
3. It creates urgency
Why should your reader take advantage of your offer right now? Will they miss out or experience some perceived “pain” if they don’t take action? You know that your product is amazing and that it’s a “no brainer,” but you must convince your readers of this. I like to try and imagine a million dollars ready for the taking, and that all I have to do is convince a stranger that I’m not crazy and that if they simply go get it in the next 10-minutes that we could split it. The only way to create urgency in others is to have at least the same level of urgency yourself, it will show through in the way that you convey your message.
There is a great quote by Brian Clark of Copyblogger that probably sums this up better than anyone:
“Never allow readers to question why they are bothering to pay attention.”
- Don’t assume that they will take advantage of your amazing offer because it’s in their best interest to do so.
- Be a little pushier than you might normally be. If your product is great your customers will thank you for it.
- Use words and phrases that evoke urgency and action. You don’t need to be a sleaze ball to do this either. If your offer is limited, tell your customers to “click here now” or “call today.” When your offer ends tomorrow or your limited supply runs out, your customers will thank you for telling them to get in on your offer before it was too late.
Show your readers why it’s important they take advantage of your offer, why it’s important to them specifically, and why they should do so right now. Think “ransom note” not “wedding invitation” and watch your call to actions conversion rates grow.