When you should and shouldn't use CTAs

A compelling CTA is key to earning revenue but maybe you're overdoing it. We spoke to Brendan Yell from Twilio to learn the correct CTA methodology
3 minute read
Edward Kost @EdwardKost
Technical Co-pilot
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Call to Action best practices

Newsletters, landing pages, social media posts and exit pop ups, the possibilities for CTA implementation is almost endless. And since a call to action button click equals more money in your pocket, it makes sense to include one as often as possible right? According to Brendadn Yell, Director of Twilio, No.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Brendan at Startcon 2019 to discuss his insights on CTA best practises

Minimise your CTAs

If something is scarce, it's considered to be of higher value. That's why we can't help but notice the thunderous crescendo of Ferrari's in the streets and the accolades of startup unicorns in the news. These things are rare, so they are worthy of our attention.

In the world of marketing this is known as the Scarcity Principle. Too much of anything loses its impact, this includes CTAs. Brendan suggests a more conservative approach to marketing, by using as little CTAs as possible.

"I think you should minimise your call to actions" he says, "I think people overemphasis how important they are in a customer's world, sometimes they're not as important as what you think they are."

The scarcity principle should not only be applied to how frequently you implement CTAs, but also to the value you offer visitors when they click through. Most businesses offer little to no incentive for clicking a CTA button which grealtly affects click through rates, when was the last time you clicked a CTA when there was nothing in it for you?

So by offering your visitors something of value AND limit the number of CTA buttons in your campaigns, you will leverage the maximum potential from the Scarcity Principle.

Brendan says "Make sure you're offering your customers something valuable, it could be a discounted price, or if your ecommerce company, something as simple as free shipping. As long as you're offering something to the customer and not just serving yourself"

Brendan makes a very powerful point, focus on giving and your visitors will reciprocate the action. The more you WOW your customers, the more likely they are to buy from you and not your competitors. There are many things you can offer your customers to incentify CTA conversions, these could include free shipping, discounts, free consultations and even free courses.

If you want to really impress your customers with your attention to detail, send an email campaign asking them to respond with their top 3 needs and then offer one of them as a CTA incentive in your next campaign.

When to include a CTA

If you follow Brendan's advice and offer something valuable in exchange for a CTA click, the question changes from  "when do I insert a CTA?" to "how do I make my CTA worth clicking on?" This changes your marketing mindset from being frequency driven to value driven.

This will also help you keep your incentives relevant to each campaign and audience segment, not every offer is applicable to everyone. Brendan says, "every product is different, some people will buy straight away, and sometimes the sales cycle is very long."

The key is to know your customers as personally as possible. Brendan says, "not all of your customers are the same. You need customer data. You need data on the ones that are buying from you every day, once a month and even occasionally"

One way of getting to know your customers is by simply talking to them. Regularly send them surveys to find out whether they are happy and how you can improve your service, they will greatly appreciate your willingness to listen. With all the data you receive you can then segment your customer base by different requirements, interests etc.

Brendan suggests even creating customer profiles for each audience segment to help you keep your marketing campaigns as laser targeted as possible. "Attach personas to those people" he says "so that it is much easier to communicate with them, you can visualise who you are talking to" 

Bredan also suggests A/B split testing all of your campaigns to identify which CTA incentives convert better and how they should be designed.

"I recommend doing a lot of A/B testing" he says "It's very easy, for example, take 100 people, send them 2 different communications and see which one gets the better response. It could be the text, the color of the buttons, the imagery or the offer itself. I believe by doing A/B testing you get to know your customers in a much better way"

When it comes to CTA buttons, take it easy on the gas pedal, quality always trumps quantity. If you focus on providing value with every link click, your conversion metrics will remain nice and plump.

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