More than ever before, reaching out to prospective customers is a tricky proposition. Today’s fast-paced environment means that people are bombarded with advertising wherever they go, and as a result, a phenomenon known as advertising blindness has become a growing concern throughout the business world.
Perhaps nowhere is this truer than the internet itself, wherein webpages have become increasingly inundated with specific graphics and text, formated in a certain way to attract visitors to click, and in turn, continue down the conversion funnel. This is your call-to-action (CTA).
According to one study, as much as 86 percent of online users have become affected by banner blindness, the type of ad blindness that specifically pertains to online activity. Likewise, complaints about the high frequency of ad interruptions have become a near-universal issue (84 percent of users, at least in one survey), leaving companies to devise fresh ways to connect with their target audience. However, despite mounting adversity, CTAs still remain a key tool for Software as a Service (SaaS) businesses to develop leads and use their content to drive positive action when they are done correctly.
So Many Choices
As the online space has continued to mature, the design and general approach to CTAs has become more and more complex (in fact, you can read more about CTA design here!). In today’s marketplace, businesses have been forced to overcome banner blindness and other rising obstacles through innovation, leading to a wide variety of philosophies when it comes to what ingredients make a winning CTA.
Although which selection works best for your business will depend on a number of factors (and will be best revealed through vigorous testing), here are a few of the most common ways to integrate CTAs into your SaaS content.
- End-of-post: Perhaps the most common place to insert a CTA is at the very bottom of a post. This is the old stand-by but recent studies show that as little as 6 percent of total leads may be derived from this approach. Likely, this is due to the fact that many readers are accustomed to this style, and some may never reach the bottom of the post to see it. You'll see that we still employ this method as our internal data shows a higher success rate. It's important to see what works for your audience and not to rely on a single tactic.
- Anchor text: Inserting your CTAs in the body of your post is another way to incorprate this important piece of information, and research shows that it may be a more effective way of converting prospects. Essentially, this one breaks up your main text with a bold, larger font -- known as “anchor text” -- that urges readers to take some kind of action mid read and serves as a refreshing change of pace, hence the higher level of success with click rates.
- Internal links: Using internal links within your content is already a proven tactic to boost your search engine optimization (SEO). However, inserting links within your body paragraphs also remains an effective way to engage readers while utilizing your CTA. Sometimes, these internal links are subtly integrated within the main text, and in other cases, font size, color and other factors are used to help distinguish it from the surrounding text.
Tips to Pump Up Your CTAs
Although there is no clear-cut rulebook for which CTAs will work best for your business goals, general wisdom within the online community has resulted in a number of guidelines that will help you design your CTA.
- Include simple (and specific) instructions: The key to any successful CTA is simplicity, as this is your opportunity to incite action while your reader is still hooked by your content. Clear, concise instructions universally work best, and it’s unfair to expect readers to take multiple actions based on a single CTA.
- Offer an exclusive: Special offers -- whether a free eBook or a trial membership of your product -- make it much easier to overcome readers’ hesitation to commit to clicking. After all, presumably your readers are already on your site because of their interest in the topic at hand. So it stands to reason that removing a sense of risk would boost conversion.
- Don’t overdesign: Just as the verbiage of your CTA functions best when it is clear and easy-to-follow, the visual design of your CTA should follow suit, provided you’re creating a clickable graphic in lieu of a simple text link. In any case, overcomplicating your CTA buttons with too many colors, images or other effects is certainly something to avoid.
- Diversify your CTAs: Because the effectiveness of CTAs is often an uphill battle, it’s always best to incorporate multiple kinds throughout your content. These can encompass some of the types listed above as well as a variety of different buttons. You can test the use of different types of CTAs within your content to see which perform best for your business. The important part is that you reach your readership and get your message across. Inevitably, mixing up your approach will only further those goals.
Answer the Call
CTAs may not be as cut and dry as they once were but that's a good thing! You can learn from the best practices of others to test out new and better techniques. CTAs are critical to SaaS marketing. They help visitors move through the site to product pages and can even push a lead from "free" to customer.
The right strategy and design can boost the chances that SaaS CTAs will connect with their intended audience. Don’t waste this opportunity to communicate directly to your customers and submit your message in a clear, concise manner that maximizes your conversion rates.
If you are interested in learning more about how to optimize your content, while at the same time aligning your CTAs with your product marketing efforts, have a look at our eBook covering just that, "How to Align SaaS Content Marketing and Product Management."