Increase Engagement with Better Calls-to-Action
Here are six
tips on how to get members to say "yes" to the opportunities you present for
them to get involved.
You know your association's community better than anyone, so
from your perspective your calls-to-action are probably as clear as can be.
However, your members are often busy and distracted when they visit your online
community, making them less likely to notice an opportunity to engage. They
might not understand what you want them to do and how they can get the most out
of their participation in the community.
To catch their attention, you need to make deliberate and
purposeful calls-to-action (CTAs) that make the conversion process as clear as
possible. This is certainly easier said than done.
What does it
Mean to "Convert?"
A call-to-action is simply any deliberate action you want
your members to take, usually designated by a button, graphic, or link that
brings them to a landing page. CTAs can be text or graphical, but their goal is
always to get the viewer to convert on an action. In this case, converting
simply means saying, "yes" to the offer and completing the desired action.
There are two common types of CTAs in online member
- Engagement opportunities. These
offers encourage members to take some level of engagement action, whether
it’s responding to a discussion, checking out a new forum, reading a blog
post, or signing up for a webinar series. The purpose of engagement CTAs
is to get members more involved in the community so you can later leverage
that engagement to achieve certain goals, such as increasing customer
satisfaction, higher attendance at events, or establishing more customer
conversions. This refers to any CTA that is linked to your
revenue-generating products, programs, or services. You might want members
to sign up for a training class, attend a conference, download information
about a new product or service (think upsell lead generation), or renew
Six Tips for
Increasing Engagement by Creating More Effective CTAs
As with any designated marketing in your online
community, you want to find what tactics deliver the best results.
While this might involve some trial and error, here are six tips to get you
Tip #1 — Select
the right location. For some engagement opportunities,
the call-to-action should be above the fold (i.e. visible without any
scrolling), while others require readers to have more context to build
motivation to click and convert (e.g. the CTA at the bottom of a blog post, scroll
down on this post).
The rule of thumb in private online communities is not to
bury the CTA below the fold or in the middle of a cluttered page. However,
there is good research to support placing CTAs in several locations. For CTAs, location does matter.
However, you won’t know where you will get the best results until you test a variety
of CTA placements and analyze the data.
Tip #2 —
Make CTAs visually contrasting. One of the most common reasons
members aren’t responding to your CTA is that they haven’t even noticed it.
Particularly if your community space is busy, a small graphic is easy to gloss
To avoid this problem, make your
CTAs visually contrasting. Use varying colors to make them stand out from the
rest of your web page. If you’re worried they’re still going unnoticed, try
adding more white space around the call-to-action and make it a little bigger.
Tip #3 — Use
actionable language. If you want your members to do
something, you need to use language that makes the action clear. Include what
your members need to do and the timeline of when they need to do it.
Tip #4 — Highlight the value. When
you’re asking members to do something, you shouldn’t be surprised if their
first reaction is but what’s in it for me? Your calls-to-action will be
more successful if they can highlight the value proposition that your members
will receive once they complete the action.
For instance, if you want them to download your online
community’s latest guide or ebook, include the title so they’ll know what type
of information they’ll be receiving. Make it as specific as possible without
using too much explanatory text. You’ll be able to go into more detail on your
landing page to complete the conversion; the CTA just needs to get them there.
Tip #5 — Make
buttons that look like buttons. It might sound silly, but your
members might not be clicking on your CTAs because they didn’t recognize them
as buttons or links. To clear up this confusion, make your online
calls-to-action physically look like buttons so your members will know they are
clickable. Use graphics that have a two-dimensional element, like shadows, so
they appear to pop off the page.
Tip #6 — Track and test. As
you experiment with the types of CTAs that work best for your community, make
sure you keep track of your data to establish your online community's best
practices. Test a few different strategies and see how they play out with your
target audiences. Other factors like page placement and size can be big
determinants, so use data to inform your decisions.
Member Engagement Takeaway
Not only do CTAs help guide your members to value
opportunities within your community, but also the conversions on those offers
help your association leverage the value in your community to achieve specific
outcomes. However, none of this is possible without clear and recognizable
calls-to-action that help your members know what action to take.
If you’re seeing low numbers for your CTA click-throughs,
consider how you can help your members better understand the value behind each
offer. But remember, if the data you collect suggests a different approach gets
better results, test those CTA ideas to identify the language, design, and
placement that work best for your community.
senior director of marketing and strategy at Socious.