Why Content Matters: Tips for Effective CTA Copy

Posted by Shannon Fuldauer on Jan 15, 2013 8:50:00 AM

Let's face it—without strong copy, your calls to action and landing pages will not succeed. Within seconds of seeing your call to action (CTA), a visitor should be able to determine exactly why he or she should take action and what they will get in return for their information or money. If your CTA copy is ineffective or confusing, you have already lost the lead. 

The most effective CTAs contain action verbs. Excluding these powerful words from your copy leaves the reader with little to no direction and often hurts your click rate—ultimately affecting your conversion rate.

Think of action verbs as a CTA's best friend—they convey emotion and appeal to the reader’s senses.

A call to action—whether on your website, email or print material—is meant to prompt a person to perform a specific action. There are several factors that contribute to an effective call to action, including copy, design, and placement. Today we will focus specifically on copy.

Here are a few examples of powerful action verbs:

  • Discover
  • Explore
  • Click
  • Learn
  • Examine
  • Download
  • Find
  • Uncover

Why Less is More

You've heard the statement less is more. In the case of most calls to action, this holds true. Fewer words with more robust meaning (that your audience can easily understand) should be the goal when creating your copy. Don't get too wordy that your message gets lost among the vocabulary. Adverbs and adjectives will weigh down your copy. On the other hand, a visitor should not have to dust off the thesaurus or search Google to understand the meaning of a word in your CTA. Additionally, avoid technical terms or internal acronyms that often bore or confuse your audience.

Use relevant statistics when possible to back up your statements. Most people are intrigued by statistics, and, in a world of vague claims, actual numbers help validate your offer. For example, HubSpot’s call to action for joining its email list is, “Get the world’s best marketing resources right in your inbox! Join more than 817,000 inbound marketers!”

What We Have Learned So Far

At Kuno Creative, we are constantly A/B testing our own CTAs. Our visitors tend to respond best to phrases such as Free Ebook or Free Cheat Sheet. On the flip side, the phrase Learn More, often coverts lower.

The Takeaway?

It is important to know your audience and be willing to test copy. Rarely will the first CTA you create generate the most conversions. While we can offer best practices in developing strong copy, it is really up to you to constantly test and readjust your CTA's based on the data you gather. Some action verbs will convert better than others depending on your industry, and it is your job to discover what works best. 

Do you have great CTA copy tips you would like to share?  What success have you experienced? Leave us a comment. 


shannon fuldauerAbout the author: Shannon Fuldauer has a B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketing background including roles as Vice President of Marketing & Sales Support, and subsequently Vice President of Public Relations & SEO Services, for CareerBoard.com. She has expertise in digital marketing and advanced email communications and is a senior consultant with Kuno Creative.


 

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Topics: landing pages, calls to action, content marketing

Landing Page Case Study: Measurement & Lead Nurturing Lessons

Posted by Tracy Lewis on Jan 14, 2013 7:39:00 AM

In June 2012, PR 20/20 released the ebook, The B2B Marketer's Guide to Going Inbound, as a resource for marketers to generate and nurture high-quality leads through the use of technology, and inbound strategy and tactics.

The ebook was promoted within a blog post with calls to action to download by filling out a form on a separate landing page. To date, the ebook has been downloaded 262 times by marketers and agency professionals alike, driving significant leads to PR 20/20 and its sister site, Marketing Agency Insider.

Below we outline strategies employed and lessons learned during campaign execution.

Call-to-Action Tracking

Within the blog post, there were two calls to action prompting readers to download the ebook. The first was a text link that appeared above an image of the ebook cover. The second was a call-to-action button positioned at the end of the post.

CTA screenshot

We set up both links as separate events within HubSpot Enterprise so that we could better understand conversion rates and visitor behaviors.

Of the two, the text link was clicked 73.9% of the time, whereas the button was only clicked 26.2%. Our belief is that the text link was more popular because it appeared higher in the post, not necessarily because it was a text link. However, additional tests would need to be run to test that hypothesis.

A/B Test of Landing Page Copy

On the ebook landing page, we ran an a/b test that looked at the impact of copy length on conversion rates. In version one of the page, we included short bullets, outlining the ebook’s table of contents. In version two, we provided much more detail in those bullets. See the screenshots below to compare.

Landing Page Sample

Landing Page SampleAs you’ll see, in both pages, copy length was the only variable that changed. Other factors, such as headline, image and form remained consistent.

After running the test for several months, we found that there was not a statistically significant difference in the two variations. Version one converted at 65.8%, whereas version two converted at 70.9%.

We have plans to run additional tests on this page in the future. In fact, we’re currently experimenting with HubSpot’s smart fields within the landing page form. Smart fields pre-populate information previously gathered from a user, eliminating unnecessary form fields, to make repeat conversions easy.

Targeted, Automated Lead Nurturing

In addition to optimizing CTAs and landing pages for conversion, it’s also important to think about the process that will occur after a lead submits a form.

Since our ebook was a thought leadership piece, in which people may not necessarily constitute a sales-ready lead for PR 20/20, we connected the form with an automated lead nurturing campaign

In the form, we asked if the person’s company provided marketing services to clients.

Form FieldFrom here, we set up smart lists that automatically tag contacts as either a “company” or “agency” within our HubSpot portal. Audiences then receive tailored emails based on their status.

For example, companies get a set of three emails that offer additional resources, and then prompt the person to contact PR 20/20 for marketing support. Agencies, on the other hand, get one email that introduces them to Marketing Agency Insider, an educational site for agencies developed by PR 20/20.

By segmenting audiences in this way, and tailoring the message accordingly, we’ve seen strong email click through rates, and very few unsubscribes.

Key Takeaways

When working with calls to action and landing pages, the key is to have the systems in place that enable you to not only track performance, but also to make adjustments based on historical data. Keep in mind that in many cases, testing and optimization is an iterative strategy that can take time to execute properly. However, small updates collectively can drive a large impact.

Finally, we’ve found that the more targeted you can make the experience, the better. Technology, like smart lists, fields and CTAs, makes personalization easier than ever before.

Share your call to action and landing page experiences, best practices and lessons learned in the comments section below.

About the Author: Tracy Lewis is a consultant at PR 20/20, a certified Gold HubSpot partner and inbound marketing agency that combines content, public relations, social media and search marketing into integrated campaigns. She is also the community manager for Marketing Agency Insider.

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Topics: landing pages, lead nurturing, lead follow up, marketing analytics, PR 20/20

How Landing Pages Get Salespeople Interested in Inbound Marketing

Posted by Todd Hockenberry on Jan 13, 2013 7:03:00 AM

In my last post, I talked about how to convince your salespeople to help you create content for inbound marketing by showing them that they are already creating engaging content every day. The deep connections between salespeople and prospects mean that salespeople are often the best people to understand what messages resonate with customers and what questions customers want answered. Once you've gotten great content out of salespeople, your next step is delivering that content in the best way possible.

Create Highly Focused Customer Centric Content

The content that salespeople create is highly customer-focused and has great potential to convert into prospects. However, when customer-focused content is paired with interesting calls to action and landing pages then you see those prospects become leads. Landing pages themselves may not interest salespeople that much but what comes from them certainly does. The formula is simple — the sales team helps create the right content for target prospects. Calls to action and landing pages bring in what the sales team needs — qualified leads.

The job of a landing page is, at its simplest, to connect content with visitors and convert them to leads. However, a landing page can do a lot more than deliver some well-crafted content to the right audience. If salespeople are helping shape and craft excellent content that is being released through a landing page created by someone in marketing, the landing page then serves as a point of connection between the sales team and the marketing team. Landing pages can also be leveraged to drive traffic from a site, or part of a site, that was generating little or no traffic before.

Increase Incoming Leads Quickly

For example, one of my clients had the fairly standard "Contact Us" form on a simple landing page. There isn't anything wrong with a Contact Us page, but in this client's case that form wasn't creating any leads for them. We came in and took some of the content already on their site, made it into downloadable content, attached the content to landing pages, and then added calls to action across their site. Adding landing pages as gate keepers to content that was already there resulted in a lot of leads very quickly. This client increased leads per month from the website from 0 to over 60 just by adding a few basic offers and landing pages to the site.

manufacturing marketing

Not all landing pages are created equal, however. To get the most out of a landing page you should shape them around the same kinds of customer-centered thinking that drives good content. Great content is driven by a persona and is focused on their issues, needs, interests, and problems. The landing page that you build in front of that content should be just as shaped by that persona as the content itself was.

Qualify, Qualify, Qualify Those Leads

Having targeted landing pages in front of your customer-focused content is how you create leads that are more qualified. Qualified leads, in turn, allow salespeople to follow up at a much higher level. This is why it is so important to understand your target persona and to create the best, most focused content for them.

Beyond that, however, the form on your landing page represents an amazing tool for lead segmentation. You have a great piece of content that prospects want to get to, so make them answer a few basic questions first. By adding a few segmenting questions into your landing page form, you can get your leads to self-qualify and help drive them further into the sales funnel. Ask them what their job title is, what their biggest problem is, what their main goal is, budget, when they need a solution – be creative and see if you can actually interest the prospect because you're asking the same questions they are asking themselves. The more answers you get, the better the lead is qualified. Now sales can start the conversation at a much higher level.

One of our clients grew their business 86% in the first year of working with us. They generated this significant increase while doing fewer proposals than the previous year. This was a big deal because they are a small company and doing a proposal is a big time investment. By segmenting leads using landing pages they were able to sort the best leads from the top of the funnel inquiries and spend their time closing sales, not writing proposals.

I love this success story because it reminds me of something one of my first sales bosses said to me. He asked me how things were going and I responded with something like “I am doing great, I did 14 quotes and made 43 calls.” His response? “We don’t sell quotes here, son.”

Landing Pages For Testing Ideas

Finally, landing pages are a great way for sales people to test the interest in a given market for a new offering or to test new positioning for a product/service. If the idea behind the call to action and landing page converts, then sales can assume that the offer has some legs. A landing page is a very easy, inexpensive way to perform a litmus test that tells sales whether or not they should promote a new idea in their direct calls and selling.

One of the ways we have used this technique to test the waters for a client was to offer engineering documents (drawings, specifications, test results) on landing pages to see who would convert and download them. My client had purchased a series of product lines and did not know everyone who had previously purchased the products. These old customers found the landing pages and converted. Sales now had a reason to talk to these leads and an insight into their business. The leads that converted showed that there was interest and demand for after sale support and proved that these documents could be used to attract new contacts previously unknown to sales. The conversions on our test landing pages put sales into a position to deliver more value and make more sales.

Creating great content is always going to be the first step, but putting time and effort into landing pages is essential. What's more, the time and effort you put into landing pages pays serious dividends. Whether you need to do some quick market research for a new product, better qualify your leads, or leverage your website to bring in leads, landing pages can be serious work horses in your inbound marketing campaign.

About the Author: Todd Hockenberry is the founder of Top Line Results, an inbound marketing agency that specializes in leading top line revenue growth at small and medium-sized companies with a focus on manufacturing, technology and capital equipment.

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Topics: landing pages, business to business lead generation, business advice, marketing for manufacturing, Top Line Results

The Most Important Open Ended Question You Should Ask on Your Lead Generation Forms

Posted by Peter Caputa on Aug 21, 2012 7:56:00 AM

Back in early 2008, there were 7 of us meeting in our only conference room. It was HubSpot's entire sales and marketing team having our weekly meeting, later termed our SMarketing meeting. Like we've continued to ask ourselves every day since, we were trying to answer the question, "How can we turn more of our inbound leads into customers?"

During this meeting in 2007, I told Mike Volpe, "It'd be great if they just told us what their challenges were on the forms." To which, Volpe sarcastically said, "Do you want me to sell for you too?". We convinced him to try it out by the end of the meeting. It's hard to say no to Dan Tyre, Chris Johnson and Mark Roberge. The question, "What's your biggest marketing challenge?" is on every one of our forms to this day. It's helped our sales team more effectively and more quickly connect, qualify and close new businesss 1,000s of times now. Last year, when correlating lead characteristics to close rate, our marketing team proved that when certain answers included keywords like "leads", they were more likely to buy our marketing software.  

4 years, 350 people and 7500 customers later, we've made a lot of progress in figuring out how to turn leads into sales. We've bottled up 'lessons like this one' and have baked them into our software and training programs so that our customers and partners can turn more of their leads into sales too. 

Yesterday, one of our customers shared a story about adding a similar question to their landing pages. Their company is Goodbye Crutches, which makes products that replace the need for crutches.

To test the idea, we devised a simple A/B test on some of our most commonly accessed offers and landing pages. Using the Advanced Landing Pages feature in HubSpot Enterprise, we were able to show our visitors one of two versions of these pages. The only difference we tested was the optional open-ended question “What is your biggest struggle?”

You can read about their stellar results at the article, "Proof that It Never Hurts to Ask".

SMarketing Take-Away: Most sales professionals know that people are more likely to buy when they have a challenge they need to overcome, a problem they need to fix, they're frustrated by the status quo, or in the case of Goodbye crutches, they have 'pain' that's impacting their comfort and happiness. As a marketer or marketing agency, if you want to deliver more and higher quality sales-ready leads to your [client's] sales team, ask the open ended question on your forms, "What's your biggest xyz challenge?".

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Topics: landing pages, lead generation

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