3 Call to Action Mistakes to Avoid in Your Marketing Content

  • Categories:

    Content Marketing

  • Date:

    February 12, 2019

3 Call to Action Mistakes to Avoid in Your Marketing Content

Content Marketing

In marketing, a compelling yet simple call to action makes it easier for your customer to take the next step with your brand. It sounds easy enough: once the user has consumed some piece of helpful information, they should have a ready-made way to remain engaged with the company providing the information. But a poorly designed or unclear call to action can backfire, alienating your audience with sales jargon or confusing them to the point of abandoning your site.

At its worst, the call to action distracts from the core message, blurring the line between a helpful article and a sales pitch. Often, this happens because the marketer misunderstands or ignores the customer journey.

While a bad call to action may oversell or confuse your audience, a good call to action maximizes the experience so that you and your customer walk away with a win. A win for the customer leads them to take a deeper dive into the subject matter, move to the next step of the buying process or simply feel satisfied with an answer to their question and positive about the interaction. Meanwhile, you can feel confident you’ve laid the groundwork for their loyalty or started the conversion process.

The call to action can be a powerful tool, but whether that power acts positively or negatively for your brand is another story. To ensure a positive interaction, avoid these three mistakes:

1. Using a Bait and Switch

This first mistake is easily avoidable, yet it happens all too often. When creating content, it’s important to ask: are you offering the answer to a question or a promotion for your business? This separates traditional advertising from content marketing. If your headline advertises, “What to consider when choosing a tub for your bathroom,” and the body content only restates the problem alongside the tubs you sell and ways to purchase them, your users are likely to leave the site quickly. Rather, your content should meet the expectations set by the headline and offer the design and technical advice for making that big home improvement. If possible, you should still add a call to action, such as a prompt for “live advice from an expert” or to “click here for more good design tips.” Just tailor it to the larger piece. That way, it not only follows through on its promise by providing good information, but it also builds goodwill for later.

2. Misunderstanding User Needs

Finding the right takeaway for your client demographic is an art. When considering the audience for your content, define where they are in their journey and what they need to do next. Depending on where the customer is in their purchase journey, your customer may arrive at a piece of content ready to make a purchase and looking for an easy way to do so. Alternatively, they may just be interested in gathering research. At this stage, the customer may be more inclined to respond to a prompt that directs them to visit a library of more relevant content or sign up for a newsletter versus completing a contact form or clicking a buy button. Rather than making content in a vacuum, identify your target demographic and how your content can help them through their customer journey.

3. Doing Too Much

Marketers can be tempted to provide users with as many potential actions as possible. However, given too many options, potential customers may never take that next step. There is psychology behind this: Columbia Business School professor Sheena Iyengar, an expert on choice, found that when people have too many choices, they’re more likely to delay decision-making, make a worse decision or opt out altogether. It’s easy to apply this to planning a big purchase: if there are 10 potential options fighting for your attention, it may be more appealing to come back to the task tomorrow than to complete it immediately, if at all. For your customers, if you know what they should be looking for at this point on their journey, you can and should be able to direct them rationally and quickly to the next best step. A simple call to action makes that next step crystal clear for the client and increases the chance your users will follow through.

In content marketing, it’s important not to let these common mistakes put your credibility at risk. By avoiding them, you can ensure your call to action functions as a tool in that it helps your customer take the right next step and results in a win for your business.

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