15 Dec 2015

Quick Ways to Creating Effective CTA’s and Headlines

If you are a small to medium business that runs your own marketing campaigns out of necessity you know how hard it is to come up with fresh ideas to continually create content that draws people in. With this blog we wanted to show a few devices that we use to start the creative process flowing, or as a starting block to leap from. Many of them will be familiar as they are in a format that is well used, but you need to take the idea and make it your own. The chances are – if it’s familiar, it’s been proven effective and works well. As you practise them you will find your way of expressing them and be able to make up your own.

The media you are using will often dictate what type of headline or CTA (Call to action) that will be best employed, but a little research will make it clear what will work and what won’t. Have a clear plan to what you want that particular media to achieve. If it’s a blog, what is the reader’s takeaway you want to create? If it’s web site content, what information is relevant and how will you present it? All this is important to making your content readable and attractive.

One thing every article, blog or content needs is an excellent headline.

 

Writing a Headline that Impresses

There are several ways to construct an excellent headline that motivates people to click through to your article, but it’s worth taking the time to explore your options, play with the words and get the headline right. Some writers never write without the title in place, others wait until it comes organically as they create the article – there is no ‘winning’ effective method and you may end up using both at different times.

One style of piquing reader’s interest is a ‘promise’ headline. This is where the words ‘promise’ information. They are often very assertive, creating confidence in the content and present it as desirable. This type of headline works well for blogs and articles but you always need to ‘think big’. The more tantalizing the title, the more likely the information is to be read, but be warned. If you promise something big make sure you follow it through and deliver what you promise.

Here is a list of standalone titles that work and just need the focus of your blog to be added:

Who Else Wants…?

The Secret of ….

Here is a Method of/to… Helping to …

Little known Ways to …

Get Rid of (insert problem) Once and For All

Now You Can Have…

Quick Ways to …

(Do something) Like (Insert world class example) IE: Play Soccer Like David Beckham

Have a/Build a (Insert focus) You/Others can be proud of

What Everyone Needs to Know About …

Get an Unfair Advantage by …

If you can’t find the one you want, there is a great list here:

http://socialmediaworkbook.com/wp-content/uploads/102-headline-formulas.pdf

 

Another style of headline is a ‘sales headline’. These based around questions or situations where you present value in reading that the consumer has to gain from. Sales headlines can be used for most types of marketing with them particularly suited to blog, web content and email marketing. They create an atmosphere of urgency and necessity so that the lead feels they have no choice but to read further.

The personalizing a headline based on the ideas below will give you the most sales with the least amount of effort. They may seem trite and overused, but they really do work. Play with them. Think about what you can write or create with one, then build from there. Some themes work better than others, so move it arouns until you are happy your sales headline speaks to your customer. Take the time to get good at them and your marketing fails will be limited.

 

Use a Testimonial Headline (XXX Company uses YYY Product and gets Fabulous Results)

Offer the Reader a Test (Can Your Kitchen Pass the Guest Test?)

Offer Information in Value (7 Marketing Ideas you Cannot Live Without)

Tell a Story (How This Young Man Made a Difference)

Warn the Reader to Delay Buying (Don’t buy XXX Until you Have Read This Article)

Let the Advertiser Speak Directly to the Reader (Write the entire ad in the first person and speak directly to the reader)

Address Your Headline to Specific Person or Group (I suggest you address your target market – If You Are Buying a New Car, Read This First)

Have Your Headline Ask a Question (How do Everyday People Succeed?)

Offer Benefits Through Facts and Figures (Why164,678 People Chose XXX)

 

Headline builders

Headline builders are tools that stimulate ideas with a ‘Fill in the blank’ model. If you’re really wondering how you are going to grab your audience’s attention then they are a good idea. They can also help with writers block. As you fill in the blanks and play with them the creative juices will flow and you may just find a great subject to write about.

Here are a few easy to use ones:

http://www.impactbnd.com/blog-title-generator/blogabout

http://cubiclebot.com/funny/your-guide-to-the-modern-headline-builder/

 

In titles and headlines you write for yourself need to make sure they contain words that stimulate action or anticipation. These are the types of word that make the reader stop scrolling, or make them click open, because they are dynamic. With a bit of practise you will easily include these words in the headlines naturally and create an atmosphere of anticipation.

Use dynamic, atmospheric words in your headline like those listed below. To make it easier to see how effective they are we have included samples:

Announcing:

Now announcing the secrets to acne treatment

Announcement: Going out of business sale!

Secrets of:

How to Discover the Secrets to Better Budgeting

Discover the Secrets of Business Success!

New:

Now Announcing This New Secret That Everybody Is Talking About!

Discover New Secrets to Weight Loss!

Now:

The Time To Buy Is Right Now.

There Has Never Been a Time Like Right Now to Learn a New Language!

Amazing:

Order Now for Your Amazing New Kit

Now Introducing the Most Amazing New Vacuum Cleaner

Facts (You Should Know):

Facts You Should Know About Healthcare

Facts You Should Know About Weight Loss

Breakthrough:

Click Here For Your Breakthrough New Report

Now Announcing a Medical Breakthrough 

At Last:

At Last, an Easy Way to Make Money Online!

At Last, the Answers You Deserve! 

Advice to:

Advice to Lower Your Mortgage Payments by Half!

Advice on How to Stop Acne Before It Happens!

Truth of:

Do You Want to Know the Truth of How to Lose Weight?

At Last, Learn the Truth of How to Live a Better Lifestyle

Protect:

How to Protect Your Family Even When You Are Away From Home

At Last, a Secure Way to Protect Your Investments 

Life:

Here’s How to Live the Life You’ve Always Dreamed About

Discover the Secrets to a Happy Love Life 

Here:

Here, You Will Find What You Have Been Looking For

If You Want to Get Rich Online, Start Here 

Discover:

Discover the Secret New Way to Protect Your Investment

Here is Where You Will Discover Secrets That Will Change Your Life 

Yes:

Yes, At Last, Your Search Is Over!

Yes, You Have Found a Free Report!” 

Bargain(s):

Looking For a Bargain? Look No Further!

Now Introducing the Best Bargain You’ll Ever Find Online 

Do You:

Do You Want to Discover Your True Potential?

Do You Want to Buy a Bargain? 

Love:

Here Is How to Protect The Family You Love While You Are Away From Home

Looking For a Bargain? You’ll Love This! 

Hate

Do You Hate Spam As Much As We Do? Read On!

How Much Do You Hate Your Sky-High Interest Rate?

How Much:

You Have No Idea How Much This Will Change Your Life

How Much Is Too Much to Change Your Life?

How Would:

How Would You Like to Lower Your Mortgage Payment?

How Would You Like to Win a Free Vacation to the Bahamas?

This:

This Idea Can Change Your Life!

This Is Your Chance to Change Your Life

Only:

Previously Only Shared to 200 People

Only You Can Decide

Sale:

Buy Now – This Is a One Time Sale!

Don’t Walk Away From the Greatest Bargain Sale! 

Free:

Download Your Free Report!

570 Free Sales Letters and Business Forms! 

You:

You Are the Only Person Who Can Change Your Life

You Must Act Now 

How to:

How to Make Money Online Fast

How to Design Your Own Golf Course

To create urgency or desirability, use words other dynamic words like efficient, attractive, necessary, fabulous, surprising, gorgeous, shocking, amazing, exciting, effective or any other description that induces the reader to action.

Just remember:

  • Never summarize when you can be SPECIFIC. A generic headline or title will be passed over as it does not ‘speak’ to the reader. You want to catch your audience on a hook, so be as specific as you can to the material.
  • Wherever possible, let the numbers tell the headline story – we’re talking “Join 46,700 Others” and “Save $3500 in 16 Weeks”, Numbers pique interest and draw in many more people – though no one knows why.
  • If you make a claim, immediately support it with some sort of proof or evidence. Nothing will destroy the credibility of the article than a hollow promise in the title.
  • Use social proof, like testimonials, to make your points for you.

 

Calls to action are another important element of sales ‘copy’. If you do not require your audience to perform some action you will never have them engaged. Successful copy has three important elements:

  • Killer Headline
  • Engaging Content
  • Galvanizing Call to Action

The pattern is you grab them, draw them in, and then make them act – all by using words. If you leave out any one of these stages your marketing will not be effective because you demand nothing of your leads. The more you engage them, the more they bond to your ‘brand’ and more loyal they becomes.

Calls to action are a lot of work and organization. You need a web site or marketing platform that can add them, and administer the action behind them. Simple CTA’s are a download of cheat sheet or paper, sign up for a newsletter or to read another article/blog/landing page. This sounds complicated, but it worth the effort as you can capture all kinds of information that is important. You can build up email databases for email marketing campaigns, know what your customer is interested in and offer free trials that are a valuable source of sales.

In an ideal world all your content will have a CTA and a purpose.

 

Writing Effective Calls to Action

Effective CTA’s need some thought as they need to attract the user and convert them into a lead. Styles go in cycles, like fashion does, and the current style is to be less formal and friendlier. You will see many that say, ‘We want you to be part of the team, join us – click here’, or ‘Can’t wait to hear from you, click here’, type of sentiments.

Start it with action-oriented verbs

One of the rules of effective copywriting is to use verbs to encourage your words to take action. But don’t just include any verb; use action-oriented ones like:

  • Click here for details
  • Download now!
  • Get a free x
  • Limited offer
  • Start your free trial

Remember that without an action-oriented verb in your CTA, your audience won’t be encouraged to do anything.

Here are some examples to consider and adjust to your circumstance:

  • Download Now, Free (Download Our Free eBook Now!).People like free downloads and respond to immediacy. These deliver on both.
  • Save 20%.You’ve enticed your subscriber with a discount.
  • Join Now.Great for membership and social network sites.
  • Talk to an Expert.This is a great CTA, if you have any kind of authority site on a subject in which people would want to talk to an “expert.” Also provides more credibility.
  • Call for a Free Quote.This is great for anyone that provides pricing quotes. Combine it with useful information about your services.
  • Start Your Trial. Let users experience what they’re buying before they buy it. Trial periods are a great way to lure prospects. It’s not too committal and people can form their own opinions by trying your product or service.
  • Sign Up Today.This can move the reader to subscribe immediately rather than waiting.
  • Get a Free Quote. It’s straightforward and open ended. Offering a free quote is non-committal and one of the best ways to motivate your audience to take action.
  • Get It Now!An exclamation point grabs their attention and provides immediacy.
  • Get Started Today.If they can get started immediately, you’re catching them when their interest is at an all-time high.
  • Act Quickly. Combine this with a time sensitive call to action (offer ends…).
  • Reply Today.This can move the reader to take action rather than sitting on it.
  • Buy Now.This works great on a big colorful button and you can vary the size, color, font, etc. to really make it stand out.
  • Offer Expires.By providing a date in which your offer expires, people are incentivized to act now and ASAP.
  • Add to Cart.”Add to Cart” encourages shopping on your site.
  • Tell Us What You Think.People like it when companies value their opinions and want to hear from them.
  • Tell Us How We’re Doing.You can catch a lot of people’s attention by asking your customers what they think about you.
  • Reserve Now.Whenever someone sees the word “reserve,” it implies that there’s a chance there are limited tickets, or there is limited seating, etc.
  • Watch This Video Now.A free informational video is on-demand and ready for viewing right now.
  • Reserve a Spot Now, Limited Number of Spaces Available.This works very well for GoToMeeting type webinars which have limited virtual seating.

When you have your words, design a button that uses color and style to attract people. There are many templates available in the internet so you are sure to find one that suits your article. When it is designed, think carefully about the placement. Try and introduce it naturally into the text above the fold so it can be seen without scrolling down. Lead the writing into it with a question that the CTA will answer.

By working through the steps listed above to create a great title and CTA you’ll be able to create a headline and CTA that will convert readers into leads, and make it easy to get your online real estate working at full capacity for your brand. What more could you want?

 

Resources:

http://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/~rcollins/313editing/onlineclass/lecturetwelve.htm

http://blog.influenceandco.com/are-your-headlines-making-promises-you-cant-keep

http://arcreactions.com/services/copy-writing/