This post originally appeared on the Marketing section of Inbound Hub.
We often talk a lot about calls-to-action (CTAs) and how they help us in marketing. They're a critical component of your website's lead generation process -- especially on your blog. Without CTAs, people visiting your blog will have a hard time converting on your landing pages unless they happen to stumble upon them at a later date.
So if you're trying to get more conversions from your blog, you'd think the more CTAs the better, right? Not always. To increase conversions on your blog, don't just go for volume. Make sure you have several different types of CTAs, in different formats, addressing different parts of your marketing funnel.
Before you hit the "Publish" button on your next blog post, think about how your readers can take the next step to learn more about your company. Which CTAs will help get them to take the next step in their buying journey? Below are eight ideas to get you started. You may not use all of the types of CTAs in every post you publish, but they should definitely be considered.
1) Bottom-of-the-Post Smart CTAs
Once someone has read your blog post, they're ready for action. At the end of your post, iAt the end of your blog post, it is important to have a CTA leading your readers to take an action after they finish reading your blog post. But all sorts of people visit your blog -- and you don't want to give them all the same content.
If you have a HubSpot professional or enterprise account, you can create smart CTAs that adapt to give the most relevant call-to-action to different viewers. Smart CTAs are a set of rules that you can make based off of a contact's lifecycle stage in your database or a list membership.
After you setup these rules, visitors are only seeing content that'll convert them to leads, leads are seeing content that'll convert them into MQLs, and customers are seeing content that'll convert them into promoters.
You can see this in action below -- you can see there are three different CTAs based on their lifecycle stage. A random website visitor (someone who hasn't filled out a form yet) is shown a call-to-action that leads to a lead gen offer on SEO. A lead is shown a call-to-action that leads to starting a free trial. A customer is shown a call-to-action that leads to a worksheet on doing SEO within the HubSpot product. By serving up tailored content to each audience, you can increase conversions throughout the entire funnel -- not just one part of it.
What Visitors See:
What Leads See:
What Customers See:
2) Connect on Social CTAs
Another useful call-to-action provides links to connect with your company on social media. If someone is reading your content, there is a good chance that they will be interested in future content that you post. Your company is most likely going to post content to different social media platforms when it comes out which your readers will be interested in.
Make it as easy as possible for your readers to follow you on social media by creating a call-to-action for each of your social media channels. If all they have to do is click a button to follow you on social media, they will be more likely to do it. Note that this is slightly different than having calls-to-action that allow readers to post your content to their personal social media accounts (even though that is a great tactic as well to promote your blog content).
3) Tweet This CTAs
Speaking of social media, there is another type of an in-line call-to-action involving social media. We call them "Tweet This" links. When a reader clicks this type of link, a pre-written tweet will appear promoting the content. You can create links like this yourself using a tool calls ClickToTweet. In the example below, when you click "Tweet about Apple," the pre-written tweet pops up saying, "Apple's website has changed a lot in 14 years. See what it looked like in 2000: http://hub.am/1sAYBy3 #tbt via @HubSpot."
This type of CTA can be great for posts including data, infographics, or any post with tidbits of knowledge that are easy to share. These links make it easy and quick for your readers to post interesting facts from your blog posts on Twitter -- and could end up getting you more traffic to your blog.
4) Blog Subscription CTAs
If your readers are interested in your content, they may also want to subscribe to your blog posts by email so they can be alerted when you post new content.
If you want to increase your blog subscriber base, make the CTA to subscribe to your blog as clear and easy to fill out as possible. Don't make them fill out a long form to subscribe to your blog -- just ask for the information you need. If you just need an email address, only ask for the email address. Making this process almost painless for your blog visitors increases the chances that they'll actually fill out the form.
5) Comment CTAs
There are lots of ways you can end your blog posts. Many blogs end their posts by encouraging readers to comment and share their thoughts on your article. There are different ways you can frame this CTA -- you can be straightforward and say something like, "Comment below to share your thoughts on this blog post," or you can ask them a question based on the topic of your blog post. Regardless of what you end up writing, the goal of this CTA is to get more people engaging with your blog post in the comments.
6) Slide-In CTAs
As you scroll down some HubSpot blog posts, you may notice that a CTA slides in the bottom right corner when you are almost at the bottom of the page.
This is another way to help your blog post readers convert on your blog posts that's not as intrusive as a "stop-everything-and-click-here-pop-up-CTA." The latter types of pop-up CTAs will often not allow you to read a blog post before you either fill out the form or click cancel. We aren't talking about that type of CTA -- that's not a very loveable experience. The slide-in CTA is a great way to offer additional information to your readers while still allowing them to read the blog post.
If you want to add slide-in CTAs to your blog, check out this tutorial. You can also see how they work in the GIF below:
7) In-Line CTAs
When you think of a call-to-action, you probably think about a big, exciting image that stands out at the end of your blog post. But that is not the only way to use CTAs on your blog. A call-to-action can simply be a link within your blog post that provides more information on a given topic. It does the same thing as a button call-to-action -- it directs people to take an action -- but it's just a written link, not a hyperlinked button.
In the example below, the in-line CTA leads to another blog post that can give additional information on a topic that is mentioned. There is no need to make any fancy button for this, but just including text that says "read this blog post" and links to the blog post works.
To do this in HubSpot, simply highlight the phrase you want to hyperlink, click on the the keychain icon in your toolbar, paste the URL link in the area shown below, and finally click the "Add Link" button.
8) Sidebar CTAs
There are CTAs you want to make prominent at the end of your blog post for potential conversions, there are CTAs you want to include in the text of your blog post that are important to understand the content of your post, and then there are CTAs that may be relevant for your company but aren't key to the content of your blog post. The sidebar of your blog is a great place for CTAs like the latter because they are important to help drive company goals, but many not be perfectly aligned with the content of the blog post.
In the example below, you can see a CTA for HubSpot's INBOUND 2014. Though it is an important CTA to include for your company, it is not vital to the blog post. The sidebar makes a perfect home for it, where it can be shown to anyone viewing the blog.
How else do you use calls-to-action on your blog?