Creating calls-to-action (CTA) that deliver successful B2B lead generation results is an art and a science. You'll need all of your (or your agency's) creative flair to produce CTAs that attract people with compelling copy and eye-catching design; but you will also need good data on page views and clicks, so that you can tweak those CTAs until the conversion rates really soar.
We'd argue that the perfect call-to-action doesn't exist. Creating CTAs should be an ongoing, iterative process. Don't spend days crafting an elaborate CTA for your latest free download - create an initial draft and then A/B test different versions of it. Change one element at a time (colour, location on the page, button text, etc.) and measure the results.
Start by learning the basics of a good CTA. You need concise copy that entices the viewer, but doesn't over-sell the offer (including on the CTA button), a simple and effective design that stands out and the best possible location (it could be above or below the fold).
The problem is that such broad parameters leave a lot of room for variation and this can be confusing, particularly if you're a newcomer to digital B2B lead generation. When we look at HubSpot's 17 call-to-action examples you can't help but click, it's obvious that the style and content of the Evernote CTA is very different to the Pinterest CTA, for example. Is it possible to be more specific about the qualities shared by the best-performing calls to action?
We analysed the 17 outstanding examples highlighted by HubSpot in greater depth to identify four things that (more or less) all of them do to drive clicks. Follow this lead and you'll soon have your B2B lead generation engine firing on all cylinders.
1. Make sure people can't miss it
It seems obvious, but it's surprising how many CTAs just don't grab the visitor's attention. Of course, people will see one when they know what they're looking for, but you need to create something that will engage the most casual web visitor.
Making a CTA unmissable doesn't necessarily mean bright colours and large buttons. You can also command attention with simple copy and clean, incisive messaging - Evernote's 'Remember Everything' CTA is proof.
2. Make them think they'll be missing out
Making people feel that they will be mising out if they don't download your offer, also known as the bandwagon effect, is an easy and incredibly effective way to make your offer seem valuable - and encourage people to click.
If you can make people feel like they'll miss out on something by not clicking, you'll find your conversion rates go through the roof. This is what the Apps Templates CTA selected by HubSpot does with its invitation to 'join the club now', and this CTA for our client Kahootz works on a similar premise:
3. Make it feel easy
Very few people arrive on a website with the intention of clicking a CTA and share their contact details. They're much more likely to complete this process if they think it will be quick and easy. A lot still depends on your landing page and form, but your CTA can set the tone. Think carefully about the words on the button - will they create an expectation of speed and simplicity in the visitor's mind, or suggest a convoluted process they don't really have time for?
The OKCupid CTA is a perfect example. With sections of the form already filled in and the word 'continue' on the button, it skilfully creates the impression of a quick and hassle-free sign-up process.
4. Give them options (if possible)
It might seem counter-intuitive to provide two options on a CTA. After all, aren't you trying to encourage people to take a specific action? However, offering a choice can pay off - particularly when placing prominent CTAs on your homepage. Not everyone is at the same stage of the buying journey when they reach your site, so it could make sense to offer a free trial and a chance to learn more side by side. See the Treehouse CTA selected by HubSpot for an example of this theory in action.
Effective calls-to-action are only a small part of a successful lead generation strategy. Find out how you can bring all the elements together and turn your website into a lead generation machine with our free to download 'B2B lead generation website checklist'.
This blog was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated where possible for accuracy and comprehensiveness in June 2017.