How to Add CTAs to Your Blog for Higher Conversions

by 9 04/08/2015

You already know that you’re supposed to put call to actions on your landing pages. But what about putting calls to action on your blog? Is that even a thing? Is it important?

I think that it is very important to put CTAs in your blog posts.

Why? Because a blog without CTAs does not convert users. Think about it. Your blog is one of the primary methods for gaining organic long-tail SEO traffic. When users input informational search queries, they find your blog.

And when they find that information, what should they do next? What do you want them to do?

That’s where the power of the CTA comes into play. Without the CTA, your blog is simply a place for free information. With CTAs in place, your blog becomes a place where you turn traffic into leads.

Here’s how to add the power of the CTA to your blog.

1. Use a popup CTA.

Popups annoy some people, but I’ve found them to be very effective. Although you may hear some outspoken critics of popups, I think it’s important to use them strategically.

In the course of researching this article, I encountered several popups. Here’s one of them.

popup call to action

This popup appeared when I read a blog post on Social Triggers.

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James Scherer from Wishpond was a skeptic of popups. When he finally decided to test it, he was blown away by the results. The popup began converting 1.7% of their visitors.

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Scherer crunched the numbers and discovered that the popup generates at least $91,000 in revenue each year.

Obviously, you’ll annoy a few people. But that’s okay. Your goal isn’t to please everyone who comes to your site. Your goal is to please the right audience and to gain users. Popups allow you to do just that.

Not all popups are created equal. Popups have triggers. Here are the most common:

  • Entry trigger — Some popups appear right when you land in the page. This is by far the most annoying of the popup triggers.
  • Timed triggers — A few popups appear after a predetermined amount of time. The idea is to get the user interested in the content, and then to show the popup.
  • Scroll triggers — The scroll trigger occurs when you start to scroll down or when you reach a certain scroll point on the page.
  • Exit trigger — Based on your behavior, the popup can tell if you’re about to leave. For example, if it looks like your cursor is headed towards the back button, it might trigger the popup to appear.

When I visited Hubspot, this popup appeared just as I was about to click the “back” button.

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If you are still opposed to using them, you can still get popup power without popup annoyance. Slide-ins can grab a user’s attention without preventing them from accessing or reading the content.

Here’s a slide-in from the blog JeremySaid.com.

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Whether or not you choose to use them, keep in mind that popups are a potentially powerful source for lead generation.

2. Use a lot of different CTAs.

I recently read an article that asked, “Which Works Better for Blog Conversion: A Standard CTA or a Full Form?

I would ask another question:  “Why not use both?”

One CTA in a blog post is too few. I recommend sprinkling a variety of CTAs throughout the post. I’ll give you a few options below, but for now it’s important to keep in mind that more is better.

When you have multiple CTAs, you’re able to engage with different types of users. A user who wants an ebook, for example, may be more likely to convert on a free ebook offer than someone who wants to stay up to date with your blog post publication. For each of these CTAs, the action is the same — the user inputs their email address.

On HubSpot’s blog, you can see the two CTAs on top of one another in a blog article:

multiple CTAs on one page

 

Social Triggers has a few CTAs. In the single screenshot below, there are at least five (if you don’t count the social plugins).

examples of blog CTAs

If you use multiple CTAs, you need to be careful not to make your blog look tacky. Obviously, there are ways to use CTAs appropriately. If you get too greedy, you’ll ruin the user experience and your reputation.

3. Use Hello Bar.

The Hello Bar provides a way to gain leads that few other methods provide.

The idea of the Hello Bar is simple:  Gain more leads.

How does it work?

The bar is positioned at the top of the website page. It spreads the full length of the website. You can customize the bar with your preferred style and CTA. The Hello Bar goes to a landing page or form where users can convert.

One of the great features about the Hello Bar is that you can make it persistent. In other words, the bar doesn’t disappear even if the user scrolls down. It’s always there. This technique allows the CTA to always be in front of the user without being obnoxious

Most people prefer to use Hello Bar for lead generation, although some users have used it to promote product downloads.

Here’s an image of the Hello Bar in action

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Buffer uses the Hello Bar on their blog. They gain an extra 350 email signups per week from Hello Bar alone.

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The Hello Bar has a proven track record of success. In the first thirty days of using it, DIYThemes earned 1,180 new email subscribers.

You can check out HelloBar here.

4. Feed their need for information.

Don’t forget about the whole reason users came to your blog in the first place. They came to get information. Blog readers are inherently curious people. They want to learn.

If they read your article, the chance is pretty high that they’ll want more. This is the reason that I use information-focused CTAs in my blog, and recommend that others do the same.

Here are a few types of CTAs that will work.

  • Email updates. This is by far the most common blog CTA.
  • Subscribing to a newsletter is similar to the email updates, but has some differences in the way that you can pitch it in a CTA. Many businesses have a newsletter that is significantly different from their email updates.
  • Read more articles. I’ll discuss this one in the next section.
  • Download a resource. This popular give-and-take CTA exchanges an email address for a digital resource usually in ebook form. It’s very effective.
  • Attend a webinar. Webinars are more time-consuming to pull off than a blog post, but they can also be a helpful form of generating leads.

One of my favorite CTAs is the “Free Course” offer that I have on my blog. Users can gain access to an online course valued at $300.

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Whatever method you use, don’t forget that users came to your blog to get information. They want information. CTAs that promise information are likely to be very effective.

5. Encourage them to “read more.”

Much of my experience is in the field of SaaS. I’ve learned that one of the main methods of reducing churn is to improve how quickly customers start using the product. If you get can customers to rely on the SaaS quickly, then you’ll be less likely to lose those customers.

The same thing is true with blog readers. If you can attract them with a compelling headline, and useful content, then you’ve gained them as a “user.”

People who visit your blog want information. If you satisfy their desire, they might want more information. You should be using a CTA that encourages them to read more.

I use the following list in my Quick Sprout blog. Visitors can choose whether to look at my Guides, Current Hits, or All Time favorites.

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Many blogs use “read more” CTAs to post the blog’s most popular posts. Here’s Unbounce:

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Here are a few tips for getting people to read more.

  • Make all your content relevant. The people who visit your blog did so because they were interested in your topic. For that reason, encourage them to interact by posting more of that kind of content. A blog about SEO probably shouldn’t have articles about yoga. Keep your content relevant.
  • Make your headlines appealing. You don’t have much room to grab user’s attention. The only reason a user will click to read more is if the headline is interesting.
  • Make your “read more” CTAs prominent. Don’t stuff your “read more” CTAs in some unseen section of the blog. I recommend a sidebar placement where users are sure to see it. You can also use a method to feature more content at the end of the blog.

I think that the “read more” CTA is important, but only when you use it with other CTAs. Remember, the goal of your blog is not just to get people to read your free articles. Your goal is to get leads, gain email addresses, etc.

If you get the user more engaged in your content, good. But that’s only a secondary to your larger and more important goal of gaining more leads for your email list (or whatever it is that your main goal is).

Conclusion

Here’s the bottom line:  Your blog is a place for potential leads, customers, conversions, and revenue.

But it’s only going to work if you put it into action. The way you do that is by creating calls to action.

I would argue that blog CTAs are more effective for leads and conversions than landing pages. You already have an engaged and curious user. All you need to do is convert them.

What are your tips for gaining more conversions through blog CTAs?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

 

About 

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, Stride, KISSmetrics. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

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9 COMMENTS

Jose Maria Lissen

Amazing Post. Right to the point. Very comprehensive and useful.

April 9, 2015 Reply

James Scherer

Hi Neil,

Thanks for including my experience with popups in your article – they’re such a powerful tool, and are becoming more and more ubiquitous (I’m seeing them everywhere!). Wishpond’s results have continued with the exit popup on blog and it remains one of our most effective strategies for subscriber (and eventually customer) acquisition.

Kudos on a kickass article. Keep it up and I’ll keep reading.
Best, James

April 10, 2015 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    We love what you’re doing at Wishpond, James! Any thoughts of writing another article for us?

    April 11, 2015 Reply

Vamsi Krishna

Hi Neil,
Thank you for the insightful post.
But is it a general practice to add CTA buttons for signing up to your website in your website’s blog?
Thanks.

April 13, 2015 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    Hi Vamsi. Neil’s advice here is spot on. If someone likes your content, your best bet is to put a subscription offer where they can respond right away.

    April 13, 2015 Reply

Michael Cordova

Love it, especially the Guides, Current Hits, All Time section. I need to find that plugin. I am redoing my site now and will use many of these ideas. Thanks for the post.

April 16, 2015 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    Agreed, Michael. Neil’s blogs are a great resource for what’s working.

    April 16, 2015 Reply


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