Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has a 200% ROI, and yet many businesses do not get the full advantage of this marketing strategy because they fail to use effective calls to action (CTAs). In fact, 70% of small business B2B sites lack CTAs.
If you want a high click-through rate (CTR) on your PPC ads, you’ll need to craft irresistible CTAs. In this article, we’ll go over what PPC calls to action are and give you 12 tips on how to make them stand out.
In marketing, a CTA is any language that invites readers to do something. Whether it’s signing up for a newsletter, viewing a website, or making a purchase. Without CTAs, a landing page leaves a potential buyer hanging, without direction on where to go next. That’s why CTAs are so crucial. They turn casual browsers into potential leads and customers. Any marketing effort involves writing the perfect CTA.
In pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, CTAs are what drive the click-through rate (CTR). They are what get users to click on the ad. CTAs go hand in hand with PPC. So they need to be compelling.
There are 3 broad categories of CTAs in PPC: those that invite user engagement, those that generate leads, and those that encourage a direct response. Which you use will depend on your ad campaign goals:
No matter which type of CTA you’re after, following some basic guidelines can make them more effective. So without further ado, here are 12 tips on writing the most effective PPC calls to action:
CTAs need to be simple and clear. Tell people exactly what clicking the ad will do. In other words, what you want them to do, e.g. “buy now.” Remember PPC ads have a strict character limit, so you need to make every word count. You can’t afford to be vague or unclear.
Always write digits for numbers as this reduces character count and the time it takes to read the ad, e.g. “24” instead of “twenty-four.”
We recommend sticking to just one 1 CTA line per PPC campaign. That way, your CTAs are not competing against each other and your campaign has a clear goal.
Every CTA should get the user to do something. So use strong verbs that convey action. For example, “skyrocket your ROI on SEO marketing” sounds a lot better than “read SEO insights.”
Use words that tap into users’ emotions. After all, people buy with their emotions first, then rationalize their purchase later. This is true even for B2B customers. Try to make them enthusiastic about trying your product by using exclamation points, e.g. “Buy now for 50% off!” If your CTA is enthusiastic, users are more likely to be.
Creating a sense of urgency motivates users to act. If they feel like the offer is limited, they’ll think it’s now or never. So consider advertising a limited-time sale, offer, or promotion to get their attention. This way, you take advantage of their fear of missing out (FOMO), a powerful motivator.
You might even contrast with something negative, like “stop eating junk and transform your life with an easy diet proven to work by thousands.” Appealing to users’ negative sentiments, like their bad eating habits, is risky and may not always work. But it can be a powerful way to incite action.
Show that there is value behind every CTA, e.g. benefits, bonuses, or return on investment (ROI). Otherwise, users don’t know whether clicking on the ad is worth their time.
Draw on a unique selling point (USP). Maybe you can offer a free consultation or a free trial. Such offers communicate value to the user by showing what’s in it for them. If it can’t show value, your CTA won’t generate clicks. Simple as that.
Say what your business does and the results you get, while keeping it at a high level. This will intrigue customers and make them want to learn more. You don’t want to give away too much, but just enough to spark interest.
Leave cliffhangers. TV shows have mastered the art of cliffhangers to get viewers to keep watching. As humans, we need closure. The same goes for CTAs. Make a promising claim without giving all the details and users will want to learn more.
Humans have an urge to belong. We want to do what we see others doing. Call it the bandwagon effect, following the crowd, or peer pressure. Whatever you call it, it’s here to stay, and your CTA can leverage it by citing influencers or celebrities, e.g. “Try Lebron James’s work out routine for $10/month.” You can also cite recommendations, endorsements, reviews, and ratings. Together, these are considered “social proof.”
Social proof is the future of marketing. As the modern world becomes more connected, people place more and more value on the opinions of others. Try including social proof for your product or service in your CTA to make it that much more irresistible.
What keeps many from investing in a new product or service is risk. People don’t want something to turn into a waste of time or money. So your CTA should show that they have nothing to lose. Do this by offering a free trial, a money-back guarantee, or no-obligation quote. Users feel more at ease when they know what they’re getting into.
Offering a low-priced or free product in hopes of gaining a new customer is called the loss leader strategy. By marketing a product below its value, you stimulate interest. Then once the user is hooked, you can increase the price. The user will feel more comfortable paying more once they’ve experienced the product’s real value. It’s a win-win.
The internet makes us impatient. We want instant information and gratification. Your CTA can tap into this by showcasing instant delivery, e.g. “Get a free demo now.” By including the word “now,” the CTA implies that the user won’t have to wait for a benefit. The reward for clicking on the ad will be immediate. This way, you’ll increase your click-through rate (CTR) and generate more leads.
Make your CTA highly relevant to your target audience. It could be masterfully crafted, but it won’t do you any good if it’s targeted at the wrong people. For instance, asking regular consumers to buy B2B software is unlikely to generate much response. You need to match the CTA to the intended customer.
You can also personalize the CTA by drawing on shared interests or using a casual tone. Users want to connect with you before engaging. One way to do this is by writing in the second person. The pronoun “you” implicates the reader, making them feel involved. For example, “buy the hot tub you deserve” is more appealing than “buy a hot tub.”
Consider the words users type into search engines when looking for your product and tailor your CTA accordingly. If their searches include phrases like “free,” “best,” or “near me,” you’ll want your CTA to reflect that. Try writing “free SEO tool” or “best SEO tool,” for instance.
PPC ads display differently depending on the device. Mobile devices have smaller screens, for example, so ads have to be smaller. Keep this in mind when crafting CTAs for a mobile audience. Plus, mobile users are usually searching for a quicker answer. So make mobile CTAs short and to the point and try offering an instant solution. You might also enable call extensions for mobile CTAs. That way, clicking the ad automatically triggers a call to your business phone number. When you do this, make sure to set the PPC campaign preferences to only show ads to mobile users. Otherwise, users on other devices will be left at a dead end when clicking your ad.
As for PCs and tablets, search engines, including Google, consider them the same when it comes to PPC ads. Since tablets have only slightly smaller screens than PCs, you don’t need to worry about altering your CTA much between tablet and PC users. Both devices, and PCs especially, allow users to research more easily, so you might leave CTAs that require more time to this audience.
Success with PPC advertising is a matter of trial and error. Perform A/B tests to see what CTAs work best. For example, you can test different button placements and colors. Generally, the button color should contrast with the web page’s background color. Test different CTA wordings, word orders, and lengths. The amount of variation is endless.
Though A/B testing different CTAs can be time-consuming, it’s worth nailing down the best one because it could make a huge difference in clicks, conversions, and revenue.
Of course, there are some pitfalls to avoid when crafting the perfect CTA. If you can avoid them, you’re guaranteed to improve your click-through rate (CTR). Here they are:
Having a sensational call to action can make the difference between a failed PPC campaign and a successful one. If you implement the tips above, you can dramatically increase your click-through rate, conversions, and sales.
Need help managing your next PPC campaign? Our experts at ppc.co have over a decade’s worth of experience in everything from Google and Facebook Ads to landing page optimization. We specialize in optimizing your return on ad spend. You name it, we can help. Get in touch to start scaling your business today.