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Revisiting your CTAs as a knowledge entrepreneur

Promoting your business is both easier and more challenging to do online. The easy part comes from having all the tools available with one click (and very often for free); the hard part is that it's just as easy for your competitors to promote their courses.

This means that potential customers have inboxes and social media pages filled with ads and invitations. They're all fighting to get attention and raise their brand's visibility. Of course, this can lead to fatigue and people being so overwhelmed they make memes about social media marketing harassment.

As someone who gets about two phone calls a day about my extended car warranty (without actually owning a car myself), I found the one about the call on Mars very amusing and accurate.

How do you still get people to answer your CTAs?

Calls-to-action (CTAs) are invitations for website visitors to take one more step. I have talked before about why coming up with fresh and persuasive ones can ensure the success of a marketing campaign for your online course.

Getting clients from potential to existing is crucial for any business. It is especially important when talking about small enterprises where every sale counts.

The main ingredient of an effective CTA is personalization. That sounds impossible since you can’t have a different one for every user clicking on your page, right? Well, it’s not when you know your target audience.

While people are unique, they also share many common traits and preferences. You need to figure out what they are and base your marketing campaign on them.

Read more: 5 Useful tips on reaching the right audience for your online course

Are traditional CTAs obsolete?

Some of them, yes.

Though some people may still buy the “our operators are waiting for your call” and “hurry, these products are flying out of the warehouse”, most individuals are wary of these techniques due to aggressive overuse.

That being said, consumers also look for familiarity. Consequently, coming up with something entirely different might actually backfire because it lacks credibility. Potential customers might even see it as a potential scam.

Looking at a bunch of “classic” CTAs, I’ve found three essential elements that are definitely keepers:

  1. A clear statement that there is no obligation attached to following through on the CTA. If you are offering a free trial, make it truly free. The same goes for any samples, white papers, e-books, or whatever you think will help convince your prospects to buy or at least keep an eye on your offer. I’ve seen several companies that promote free trials, but when you're subscribing, they ask for a small fee anyway. Even if it is not a large sum, it’s annoying and lowers the seller's credibility.
  2. Detailed instructions on what the prospect is supposed to do. Provide an e-mail, download something, share the information on social media, take a quiz, and so on. Even if it seems obvious, wording enhances the chances of success.
  3. An incentive to respond to the CTA right away. Potential customers need to engage while they are on the page. Otherwise, they have high chances of forgetting about it.

Which changes need to be made to CTAs to match the current times?

The three elements I have mentioned above are still very relevant. However, nowadays, it's more challenging to convince potential buyers for several reasons. First of all, since most retailers and service providers have been forced to move most of their activity online, potential customers receive even more offers than before.

Read more: 10 Types of businesses that thrive through online courses

Moreover, the pandemic has led to major macro and microeconomic issues. People are generally a lot more apprehensive about spending money or committing to a new provider. You need to be mindful of these issues and show your audience that you understand and care.

Here’s what to consider when writing a CTA that goes with the current context:

  • Establish your credibility first. By the time the prospect gets to the CTA, they need to be convinced you are a dedicated professional and your courses are worth it. You can achieve this by listing your credentials and placing a brief but compelling presentation about you and your vision on your main website. It’s important to be genuine and adding customer testimonials is always a good idea.
  • Emphasize the lack of risk in acting on your CTA and clearly communicate that there are no strings attached and no small print. If your CTA is free, tell them. If they need to but something, be very specific about the total cost.
  • List the immediate benefits. The great thing about selling stuff (especially online courses) on the web is that you can deliver immediately. In the world of instant gratification, this can be used to the online marketers’ advantage. Make sure people know exactly what they get if they follow through on the CTA and that it will happen immediately. This adds a sense of urgency linked to the learner’s desire to get what you are offering.

Wrapping up

CTAs are as old as marketing. Paperboys from a couple of centuries ago used the “Get your copy now and find out all about…” in the busy streets of growing cities. Things have evolved a lot since then, but the importance of convincing potential customers to act has not dwindled. Therefore, you must constantly brush up on your copywriting game and keep up with trends.

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