How To Use Calls-To-Action In Business Blog Posts

September 22, 2014By
Blogging Calls To Action

If you ask a person to marry you on a first date you’re probably getting shot down. Don’t expect a good result by doing that on a blog post.

At Ghost Blog Writers we work with a lot of different blogs. But there are definitely some commonalities amongst all the blog readers and their activity on blogs. Yes, the target reader often changes, but blog readers are all connected in that they find value in reading blog posts whether it’s for finding the answer to a question, being entertained or for getting commentary on an industry hot topic.

One thing I see on many blogs, especially business sponsored blogs, are posts with very aggressive calls-to-action. There are plenty of flashy images and imposing sentences that make it seem like the reader should take the next step of buying a product or contacting the business about a service.

We find that those type of calls-to-action not only don’t often work, they can turn readers off. I saw somewhere, and I wish I could remember who said it, the comparison of blogging and dating. When someone reads a blog post it’s usually their first time on your website. It’s like going on a first date. Now, I don’t know how aggressive you are with your dating, but for most people it’s not common to say hello and then ask the other person if they’re interested in getting busy.

The same is true with your blog. People aren’t ready to get busy after they’ve read one post. Instead, you have to get to know them by offering the comfortable and logical next step. You’re moving them through your sales cycle. You’re allowing them to get to know you. You’re earning their trust by providing answers to their questions. Later down the line they are likely to be ready to purchase from you.

Here are a few calls-to-action that are appropriate for your business blog.

1. Newsletter Signup

This is one I really like. Email is a great way to engage with people. An email list is more powerful than a following on social media. With email, you control the channel and the message. When someone signs up for your email list they’re giving you permission to contact them directly. It’s not easy to get, but nothing worth having is easy.

A person finds your blog post probably through a search or maybe a link on social media or something like that. They read you content and like what you offered. They’re looking for something to do next. They think you’re a worthwhile source of information so far. They’re likely interested in getting more from you along similar lines of what they just read.

By maintaining an email newsletter you provide more content to the new reader. You can continue earning their trust and you can sneak in a few sales messages once in a while to earn their business.

2. Ask For Comment

Some readers might want to add perspective to the topic, which is great too. See if they’ll do this on your comments or by leaving you a note on social media. This is especially true if you took a stance on a topic that your readers care a lot about. It doesn’t always have to be controversial, but it may be.

3. Ask If They Have More Questions

Someone just read your post. You hopefully answered their question, but it’s hard to answer everybody’s question. At the end of your post, ask the person to leave a question for you in the comments. Or if you don’t have comments, ask them to ask you on social media. It’s a great way to get to know your customer more and to provide them with more value.

4. Offer More Content (Blog Posts, Guides, etc.)

It’s good to leave links to more posts within your posts. Those are calls-to-action. You could also end a post by offering similar posts for the reader to read. That keeps them on your site. Or maybe you have a guide or white paper on your site. That is great information that a new reader would probably be interested in reading.

Offer it to them and keep earning their trust.

5. Soft Sales-Type CTAs

Finally, a note on soft sales-type CTAs. There are prominent CTAs on a website and there are others that are secondary. Usually the primary ones stand out more and the others are kind of there if the reader looks a little harder, but not too hard.

I think it’s alright if you decide to put a sales call for your homepage or your services page. Those are pages where readers can learn more about you. But make these a little softer on the blog post. Don’t over-push it. Let them get to know you, but when they’re ready make it easy enough for them to find your homepage or your services page.

Conclusion

There are a lot of aggressive calls-to-action out there on business blogs. But I have also seen some really good ones. And for our clients we find that keeping them on the site by linking to other content on the site is good. We find that getting newsletter signups are good. And we find that offering soft CTAs for services-type pages are good too. Try this approach and you’ll get more traction from new blog readers as they work down your sales funnel. Don’t jump the gun and ask for more than you’re likely ever going to get on the first date.

Image: Robert Neff