#Howto: Map your website CTAs to the buyer cycle

When was the last time you audited your website’s CTAs? Are you confident that each and every one is working as effectively as possible?

It’s something that many people overlook, either randomly applying CTAs to pages or, worse still, reusing the same CTA page after page.

However, with a little planning you can ensure your website traffic has the best chance possible of converting and moving into your inbound nurture programs.

Here’s a simple plan to follow. It shouldn’t take more than 60 minutes to complete the steps; after which you can be confident that your content and marketing offers are working as hard as they possibly can for you.

Before you begin you’ll need to download this Call to Action Structure Map

Before you start: Remember the purpose of your content

Whether it’s a simple blog post, a powerful customer case study or a piece of video content, your intention for using great content and offers on your website is to compel visitors to take further action and pull them through your sales cycle.

The success of this is dependent on your “Call To Action”. It might be signing up for a free trial, booking a demo, downloading a whitepaper or simply pushing them to explore your wider proposition (web pages). That’s why getting your Call To Action (CTA) is so important. So, if you’re seeing high bounce rates on your webpages, it could be down to poor CTA execution.

The single most important consideration is accurately mapping your CTAs to the right content and the right webpage. If a visitor has landed on your product page are they more likely to be in the awareness stage of the buying cycle, or closer to evaluation, consideration and purchase?

Likewise, for someone reading an educational blog post; are they ready to commit to a demo now or are they too early in the cycle?

Remember, B2B buyers typically move 60-70% of the way down their buying cycle before they want to interact with you. Your goal is not to fast-track visitors through to the thin end of the funnel before they are ready. Instead the ambition should be to progress them through each stage of their buying process. Move too quickly and you could scare off a prospect. Move too late and you’ll miss the window of opportunity.

Types of CTA

I find it simplest to align your CTAs to just two categories.

Discovery: Typically aligned to prospects in the early stages of the buying cycle. The ambition here is to push visitors through a considered journey with content designed to increase awareness of your product / service value, align it to a need and set your market position. Examples of discovery-orientated CTAs might include:

  • Education e-books
  • Tips and tricks
  • Blog posts
  • Case studies

Transactional: Focused on prospects in the latter stages of the buying cycle who are evaluating and are ready to interact / purchase. The goal here is capture this innate intent and convert the prospect with minimal friction. Examples of transactional CTAs might include:

  • Free trial
  • Book a demo / sales call
  • Price promos
  • Purchase
  • Register / download a gated asset
  • Request an ROI example

So, what goes where?

STEP ONE: CATALOGUE YOUR ASSETS AND OFFERS

Download the Call to Action Structure Map and in the Content Assets tab start logging your key content assets and marketing offers. You need to categorize these against the buying cycle. Every business is unique, but for simplicity let’s use the common “buckets”; Awareness, Consideration, Purchase.

Assets can live in more than one of these categories, but as guidance:

Awareness: This is not the time for the hard sell. The prospect needs educating and his problem validated. Think, how-to guides, blog posts, videos, ebooks etc.

Consideration: The prospect now needs to understand how your offer stacks up in its ability to meet his need. You need to show confidence and credibility and answer any feature / functionality questions that may exist. Think, product sheets, whitepapers, demo videos, and case studies.

Purchase: The prospect is now educated and confident in your offer. He is more likely to commit himself to a trial or booking a live demo with a sales person. Think, free trial offers, purchase, price promotions, booking a meeting.

cta2

Of course, if you have hundreds of content assets (after all, every blog post is technically an asset), you probably want to narrow down your selections and use only the top 20% performing assets and offers. If you’re using a tool such as Marketo, or tracking conversion goals in Google Analytics, you’ll hopefully have access to this data clearly and can quickly dismiss the long-tail of content that’s become stagnant and simply not working for you.

STEP TWO: CATALOGUE WEBPAGES

Move to the CTA Structure tab and start listing your webpages in the appropriate column. If you manage a sprawling website with hundreds of pages, it might be easier to simply bucket these into groups (perhaps aligned to your top line navigation); for example product pages, case study pages, whitepaper pages, about us etc.

In the Buyer Stage column you’ll need to select one of the buyer stages from the pick-list. If you’re using Google Analytics you’ll be able to draw some intelligence from your goals about which pages deliver the best lead / conversion rates. However, you’ll find that good old common sense goes a long way here, so start with that first!  Someone viewing your pricing page is going to be more receptive to a price promotion than someone reading your blog, for example.

Likewise, someone investing time to read a lengthy whitepaper is likely to be further into the consideration phase of the cycle than a visitor to your “about us” page.

STEP THREE: MAP PAGES TO ASSETS & OFFERS

Once the Web Page and Buyer Stage columns are completed, you’ll notice that the pick-list in the Content Asset column has been automatically populated with the content assets and marketing offers you associated with that stage in step-one.

Select an asset / offer from the pick-list and use the final column (CTA Type) to document whether the CTA is discovery or transactional in type.

This makes it a) easier to ensure you are associating a CTA with a relevant content asset, b) simpler to visually assess the breadth of CTAs across your website and balance between discovery / transactional CTAs.

cta

That’s it!

Follow these three simple steps and you’ll have a structure that will allow you to build CTAs that match the right content and offers to the right pages of your site.

What else?

Not every webpage will need a CTA. As a general rule of thumb, a CTA works on any page that doesn’t already include a contact / sign-up form. This is your end-point and you don’t need any distractions from having a prospect submit their details and enter your wider nurture program.

Every business is different, but the spreadsheet should work for the majority of organizations (or at least get you started). You’ll find that some of your pages are a little ambiguous in terms of their association to a particular buyer stage. Your blogs, for example, will attract readers from across the entire spectrum. Likewise, whitepapers. So make sure you test, measure and test again.

You’ll hopefully be producing new content assets at a steady rate, so keep new hero pieces and offers listed on this spreadsheet and update your CTAs accordingly to ensure your website and landing pages stay fresh and relevant.

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