Creative, soulful entrepreneurs aren’t interested in bonking people over the head with hypey offers or architecting big stressful launches for the sake of ego prestige and a quick six figures! God only knows the true cost or profit margins of those endeavors. No thanks. I’ll bootstrap my way to financial and creative fulfillment, one whole-hearted connection at a time.
I believe soulful entrepreneurs want to build fulfilling and profitable businesses that integrate meaningfully into our whole lives. Businesses that are nourished by mutually beneficial relationships between ourselves and the people who are relieved and delighted by what we offer and how much we truly care.
We want the process of moving toward our dreams to feel just as wonderful as achieving them. We don’t want to be devastated by our low times or defined by our high times. We want our growth to be organic and strong instead of falsely rapid and spindly.
The challenge for soulful entrepreneurs is navigating through our skepticism of mainstream marketing advice to find techniques that don't just work, but actually feel good for everyone involved.
In today’s Content Marketing 101 lesson (# 7 in our series) we’re covering a powerful marketing ingredient that needs to be included in every piece of content we create. It's the foundation for meaningful connections, which is the soul of any creative business.
The Call to Action (aka CTA)
Quite simply: A CTA is a prompt. An invitation to do something.
Yes, it’s part of a marketing funnel or sales cycle. But don’t start hyperventilating because of the lingo.
Remember, we’re defining marketing as:
making connections and building honest, whole-hearted relationships.
Think in terms of real life.
You know when you meet someone and think, “Gosh...she seems cool. I’m curious about growing a friendship with her.”
Someone has to make the first move.
I remember when I was new to the community I lived in when my kids were young. I didn’t know any of the moms at the elementary school, but there was one woman I ended up speaking with in the hallway one morning. I thought she was friendly and interesting so I decided to invite her to my house for coffee a few mornings later. She said yes.
During our time together it was clear our personalities meshed and we had enough similar interests to continue nurturing our budding friendship. Before leaving my house that morning she dug into her purse and handed me a little box of tea. She said, “I saw this and thought you might like it.”
We’ve been friends ever since.
But do you see? I had to invite her to take action.
Our relationship grew from mutually beneficial exchanges (time, energy, coffee, laugher, and a box of tea).
Building a list of client and customer leads can feel just as natural.
A CTA can be the start of a budding relationship that grows stronger with time and energy.
The ultimate purpose of your CTA is to invite people to take another step with you.
You can ask them to do things like:
- Join your email list (because your email marketing is how you can serve them and grow an organic connection over time).
- Interact with you on your social platform of choice (where you can converse, share, and bounce ideas spur of the moment).
- Download an ebook, checklist, or white paper (so they can refer to it often, and equate your brand with useful value).
- Receive a coupon that brings them into your salon or store (for an enjoyable experience they’ll tell their friends about).
- Get more information about a class you’re teaching (which is a non-threatening, dip-your-toes-in way of trying out your services. P.S. It's also a great way to generate testimonials when your business is in its infancy!).
- Follow your blog’s RSS (where you share useful resources and personality-filled, behind-the-scenes glimpses of your business).
- Answer a question or offer a comment after an article (to engage in interesting conversation. See below:).
- Fill out a quick survey (that helps you better understand the unique needs of your audience).
- Share your post, recipe, or video (to leverage your marketing reach).
- Hop on the phone for a free consultation (because hearing your voice and feeling personally understood might be just what they’re craving).
- Tweet a pearl of your wisdom to their connections (which elevates your voice).
According to Hubspot (an awesome company that specializes in inbound marketing), there are some definite CTA do’s and don’ts. Enjoy their slide deck below:
A few final notes about CTA’s:
Don’t get freaked out if you try a CTA and it doesn’t work. This (like everything in life) takes practice. It takes experimenting, tweaking, and trying again.
When someone clicks on a CTA, this is called a conversion. You’ve converted the person from an anonymous passerby into someone who’s agreed to take another step with you.
With time and experimentation you’ll be able to see what types of CTA’s generate greater conversion rates. Tools such as Google Analytics and Lead Pages can gather useful data about your conversions to help guide your CTA experiments in the future.
Now over to you!
We're a fairly introverted bunch, but I’d love to hear your perspective in the comments below. How do you feel about CTA’s? Do you get icked out by the smarmy ones (like I do) and then hesitate to implement them on your own website (like I sometimes do)? Are you struggling to come up with a CTA idea? Or are you having smashing success with them? Do share. Let's navigate this together...
In case you missed a lesson in our Content Marketing 101 series, here's where it starts. We've also covered:
2. Who You Should Be Marketing To
3. What to Write About On Your Blog
4. Why You Need Categories + How To Create Them
5. How To Create An Editorial Calendar (and a peek at mine)
6. Ten Tips For Using Images + Where To Get FREE Ones