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by Gillian
on June 12, 2015

Welcome to our newest entry in our weekly series intro to inbound marketing. You can check out our previous posts here:

Today, we're going to talk about another critical piece of any inbound marketing strategy: calls to action, also known as CTAs.

CTA: A Definition

The idea of a CTA is definitely not new to inbound marketing. Calls to action have been in integral part of marketing and advertising campaigns basically since the dawn of advertising. The idea behind a CTA is that you are clearly providing your user with instructions as to what steps to take next. Do you want them to order your catalog? Request a free quote? Submit a form? Download an eBook? All of these actions can be conveyed in a CTA.


How CTAs Work Within Inbound Marketing Strategies

The CTA's importance to inbound marketing strategies is twofold. First, CTAs do their marketing job of clearly guiding your site visitors exactly where you want them to go. Second, they are important tracking tools that allow you to better analyze your site visitors' behavior. When someone clicks a well-designed CTA they are telling you exactly what they want and you can more easily bucket them into a certain persona, add them to contact lists, and use workflows to keep nurturing them as a lead.


CTA Design is Essential

The words you choose to include with your CTA are important because they tell your user what to do. But you CTA designs can be just as important. Since the purpose of a CTA is to direct your user to take a certain action, it is essential that a CTA stand out from the rest of a design. CTA buttons should be immediately obvious, even if it means using a color that contrasts rather dramatically with the rest of your site.  The whole CTA should also be big so that people notice it as they scan your site.


Creating an Effective CTA

The most effective CTAs are ones that are fully integrated with an inbound marketing campaign. Your CTA should reflect your landing page offer so that when someone clicks on your bright and shiny button, they will not be surprised by what they get. This cohesiveness should extend to colors, design, copy, and content. For instance, if you ask someone to click so they can download a free template, be sure that your landing page uses the same language. The most effective CTAs also clearly communicate a timely value proposition. A CTA should not just tell a user what to do (like shop or download) but should also be clear as to what they will get when they do it (like a discount, an eBook, or a free trial).


For more info, be sure to download our Inbound Marketing Fundamentals eBook.