In the world of online marketing, a call to action is a common term that gets used in many different ways. But what is a call to action, and how can you use one (or more) to grow your side hustle? Let’s dig in!
What is a Call to Action
A call to action, often called a CTA, is a line of text or an image that directs your audience to do something. It helps your readers, listeners, viewers, followers, or website visitors know what to do next once they engage with your content.
It can be simple text that is linked to another page or website, a button, or just plain text that is not linked (and simply gives instructions of what to do).
Common calls to action include “Buy Now” or “Learn More,” but there are literally countless ways that you can prompt people to take action on your content.
Where to Use CTAs
Your website. On different pages throughout your website you should have various calls to action directing people to where they should go next. On the Side Hustle Teachers website I have different calls to action on different pages. On the homepage options to “Learn More” about the education, and connection I offer, and to “Join the Group” for the Facebook community. On the Podcast and Blog page, the call to action is to engage with the content.
Your content. Within your blog posts, podcast and video episodes (and the show notes), you want to give your audience calls to action that fit with the content. It might be a general call to action, like follow you on Instagram, or it could be more specific, like downloading a freebie related to the content.
Landing pages. A landing page is typically a very simple page designed to capture email addresses in exchange for a freebie. When people land here it’s often because they’ve clicked on one of your calls to action somewhere else. Therefore, this page will usually contain a form submission and a call to action to download the freebie.
Social media. Since engagement is the name of the game on social, every post you share on social media should contain a call to action. Whether you’re asking people to engage with your content, leave a comment, share a post, go to a page for a freebie, or click a link to buy from you.
Email. When you send emails to your list each week you should include links to your weekly content and any other pertinent information.
How to Create Effective CTAs
Use action words. When telling your audience what to do you have to tell them… you know… what to do. Use language that is clear and instructive so your audience doesn’t have to guess what to do or what’s going to happen when they do.
This chart from AdEspresso is a great place to start when looking for action words:
Create urgency or FOMO. If there’s a limited time to get your freebie or special offer, include that in your call to action. If there’s no time limit, don’t try to create false urgency. No one likes a phony. Instead, try to create a fear of missing out on a community or lesson.
Make it easy to see. Whether it’s through a contrasting color, larger text, white space, or word choice, make sure your call to action is noticeable and won’t be missed by skimmers.
What Not to Do with CTAs
There are 3 common mistakes people make with their calls to action:
Not using CTAs. Oftentimes new content creators hesitate to add CTAs because they feel like it’s too bossy or spammy and it will annoy their audience. However, well thought out CTAs are considered helpful because they give people instructions for what to do next. They can choose to disregard the instructions or, if they enjoyed what you shared, they likely want to know what the next steps should be.
Asking people to do too many things. Having too many different calls to action is overwhelming and confusing to your audience. When you ask people to do multiple things – follow you on social, share the post, subscribe to your email list, download a freebie, etc. – you reduce the chances of them taking any action at all.
Putting CTAs everywhere. Even if you have a single call to action, when your page is so full of buttons and links that it makes it visually confusing or difficult to engage with the content, it’s very off-putting. Provide your audience a few places to take action, but remember that your purpose is first to serve.
A final word: Like most other things in business (and life), calls to action take testing, testing, and more testing. Every audience is different so you just have to try various strategies and see what works and what doesn’t.
Join me on Tuesday at 7:30 pm (EDT) in the Side Hustle Teachers Facebook Group for a LIVE recap, answers to your questions, and examples of great calls to action! A replay of the video will be posted below the Friday after the live. ↓↓↓