B2B CTAs are the unsung heroes of the marketing world.
Because they directly influence how your prospect will react to what you're offering them.
However, here's the problem.
Not all call-to-action elements were created equal. Some work great, while many don't do enough work to be worth the effort to be on your web properties.
B2B CTAs are even more critical because they have to appeal to a different kind of prospect.
In this guide, let's dive into the wonderful world of CTAs and we'll show you how you can attract, engage, and, of course, convert.
CTAs or call-to-actions are literally a call for your prospect to take action.
They come in different shapes or forms, they can be in plain text, an image, but they're more commonly used as buttons in most pages.
Now a lot of people might think that all CTAs have to have links embedded in them, but that's not always the case.
Take for example the work we do with the LinkedIn posts that we put out. If you'll notice, the CTAs we use on a post don't have any links embedded into them, but rather they invite the user to take a specific action such as leave a comment or engage with the post.
The reason that they have become so critical to any marketing campaign online is their power to get prospects to do something with the information that is presented to them.
They are responsible for a prospect's first move into your funnel.
At BAMF, we study our CTAs closely, and we test them extensively. A little optimization here and there can result in more efficient campaigns, and that equals more growth for our clients.
Let's dive in for a closer look at marketing CTAs.
Although a lot of people will argue that the process of creating a B2B and B2C CTA is almost the same, they're entirely on different categories of their own.
This is largely due to the fact that they're audiences are different from each other.
B2C prospects are more emotion-driven with the emphasis on converting them as fast possible.
On the other hand, B2B prospects have longer buying cycles, this means that they need time to not only familiarize themselves with your brand, but also to get a feel about how it will them in their organization.
Take for example, any ecommerce store online.
You'll find that most of their CTAs involve a lot of FOMO and wording such as "Buy Now" or "Get My Discount Today". This is because people who land on their pages have to be converted be quickly before they go somewhere else.
In the case of B2B, DMUs – decision-making units – need a lot of time to evaluate what they're buying into because it involves both a massive commitment in adoption and, of course, financially.
The CTAs that you throw over your B2B prospects have to be designed in a way to guide prospects from the top of the funnel to the bottom, one step at a time.
This means that there is a focus on getting them read your white papers, check out case studies, or read about how other customers have benefitted from the products or services that you offer.
If ever they do have a "Buy Now"-looking CTA, it will usually be in the form of a CTA that says, for example, "Let Me Test It Out For Free".
More often than not, all marketing CTAs are confused as elements that have to convert a prospect immediately, but B2B CTAs are different.
Yes, the word "convert" still holds true, but you don't have to do it "immediately".
Sometimes you just want to convert them to click on a particular testimonial so that they can go down a level in the funnel that you've set up.
Have you ever thought about the colors that go into a simple CTA button?
Notice that some people use red, orange, and colors that are not even aligned with the branding of the organization?
Growth hackers spend hours tweaking and testing the and color of B2B CTAs because they have to stand out and capture a prospect's attention.
What usually works are colors that are different from the main color scheme of a landing page. For example, over at BAMF, we use red because it's almost the opposite of blue.
Think of it as color blocking. These rules apply to both B2C and B2B CTAs.
Of course it has to be big, but you don't want it to be "in your face" big.
Go for a size that stands out when you quickly look at the screen, but not so much that distracts you.
A CTA has to attract, not distract!
If it's in the middle of the page, it doesn't have to be enormous.
Make sure that you also have a lot of free space around the CTA button, this is especially important if you have a lot of colors on the landing page itself. It will help highlight the presence of your CTA.
The location of your CTA is critical to its success.
As we mentioned earlier, the worst thing that could happen is for a prospect who's already convinced to spend time looking for a button to be onboarded in your funnel.
Great locations include above the fold, nested in your navigation bar, or you can even use a floating B2B CTA that will stay on the screen no matter how much your user scrolls.
Some UX designers even add a different variation of their CTA at the website footer to make sure that no potential lead is ever lost.
Don't be scared to put it in the middle of your page, a lot of B2B companies do it as a way to highlight what a prospect should do next.
Due to the buying cycle, what you say in your CTA has to be meaningful.
As much as possible you want to avoid generic wording because it will get you nowhere in your quest for people to convert.
If it's to guide a prospect to your case studies, don't just say "click here" consider something such as "I want to see how it's done".
By adjusting your messaging, you get to connect with your prospects on a more personal level.
Grabbing someone's attention is already hard enough, but maintaining that attention is even more difficult.
CTAs have to be short and sweet.
You don't want to grab someone's attention and then put them off by using a 15-word CTA.
Suggest that they do something using about 5 words or less.
It makes it easier to read and even saves up on valuable screen real estate.
This is the problem with B2B CTAs, sometimes we have this urge to stick in extra facts into our CTAs to make them even more convincing, e.g. "Find Out How We 200% More Subscribers Last Year!"
Remember, if they're already reading your CTA, they're interested in what you have to offer, they just want to know what's the next step.
If you have to put in extra facts in your CTA, then your primary body of content isn't working.
Do you like people forcing you to do something?
Neither do your prospects.
Nothing puts people off than telling them what to do.
Instead of telling them to "click" on something, suggest that they "start" their journey with you.
Simple tweaks like this can make even the most intimidating landing pages look tame.
Want to make them move faster?
Put in a limit.
The "fear of missing out" approach is very effective because that's how most of our brains have been hardwired.
However, you don't want to use this too often.
People can smell fake FOMO from a mile away. You don't want to be one of those organizations that's perpetually on sale. It removes the intrinsic value of the services that you offer and cheapens your value.
Don't be that organization.
This usually works well with B2C customers, but sometimes it's nice for B2B organizations to go along this route. It gives them a breath of fresh air and allows you to be more human with your approach.
Instead of "subscribe now" use more personal phrases like "I'm in" or "I want this".
This little tweak can help you stand out from the rest of the competition.
There's a common misconception that B2B has to be professional, but from our experience with B2B, a little personalization and the human touch wins every single time.
A CTA should be short and sweet.
(As we mentioned earlier.)
And, you can't make something short and sweet, if you ask them to do a bunch of different things at once.
Make sure that your CTAs are only focused on getting your prospects to do one thing.
CTAs that are longer don't only convert less, they are also a little sketchy.
If you're trying to convince someone to do something, you can't request a bunch of other things at the same time. You build trust, one request at a time.
We've said this time and time again.
You can't growth hack if you don't track.
And, yes, you should be testing and tracking the success of your CTAs.
Just changing the color, size and wording of one CTA can affect how many people get onboarded so you should constantly be A/B testing what works and what doesn't.
It doesn't have to be all too complicated.
You can simply just assign a UTM to each of the B2B CTAs that you want to test.
Some growth hackers take it a step further and track the different CTAs that they have on their website.
Tracking and testing allows you to create more efficient campaigns.
One thing that a lot of people don't do with their B2B CTA is be subtle.
You don't have to sound like you're shouting at your prospect to do something all the time.
Sometimes all you have to do is give them a nudge to do something they were supposed to do anyway.
Remember, CTAs also serve as navigation, especially on B2B websites. You want to use them properly.
"Show me my Heatmap" is such a great way to craft a CTA because it tells you exactly what their application does and it follows the first-person CTA tip.
It immediately gets you interested in what they have to offer, it's instant gratification, and it's personalized for you.
As for placement, having it at the middle next to the white space makes it stand out. (Plus, the graphics are pointing at it.)
Ahrefs is one of the most popular SEO tools out there because of the sheer leverage that it gives to marketing agencies.
If you've been into digital marketing for some time, you'll also know that it's also pretty expensive.
Their CTA on their homepage stands out with their use of orange contrasting against the all-blue background (also their official colors.)
The wording also draws you in, "Start a 7-day trial for $7".
They have so much faith in how effective their tool is that you have to pay to try it out. This immediately screams value at a prospect.
Now, although you don't have to commit to the tool, the value proposition will get you wondering at how great it is. (And if you're wondering, yes, it's pretty bada**.)
Full Bundle is a web development agency that helps clients create websites, and their homepage is enough to lure people in.
Now, they don't attempt a hard sell because they know they're appealing to clients who need a long term engagement, so they draw you in with their appropriate use of lead nurturing.
Their CTA simply says "Our Work" which is pretty much an invitation for you to learn more about their projects and get you hooked on their branding.
This is further highlighted by their animation and the positioning of their B2B CTA.
Lead generation tools are considered B2B products because they help B2B customers get B2B leads.
Zopto understands this.
When you hit up their website, they won't tell you to sign up or anything of that sort, instead they'll give you a demo.
You see, they understand that their potential users want a demonstration. Lead generation specialists are picky when it comes to the tools that they use.
We also like the follow up on the side for you to be able to "Play video", this appeals to appeal who are just shopping around.
We like what Miro did because they branded the CTA that they're using by including its usage in the CTA itself.
Just in the example of crazyegg, they immediately put in the whiteboard aspect of their app by including it in the CTA, "Start a whiteboard".
This simple style combined with lots of white space, CTA placement in the middle and great wording make for a good call-to-action.
Xerox has been one of the best branding examples of century, but amidst their other choices, they are still an industry leader when it comes to B2B.
This is apparent for the various types of CTA that they use on their homepage.
What caught our attention is the way they've positioned this particular section of their homepage regarding IT upgrades. Not only is the graphic pretty great, but the CTA is subtly encouraging.
"See how" along with a picture of a car being crushed, in reference to crushing sales goals all works together to get your attention.
Plus, the color red is always a go-to color for these types of buttons because they are intense and they represent passion.
A good B2B CTA is one that understands who your customers are.
It understands that there is a longer buying cycle, that prospects need time to evaluate and immerse themselves in your brand, and it subtle enough to push a conversion.
Although most CTA rules apply to B2B CTAs, there is a particular style that you are looking for.
Your job is to guide people through your funnel with your CTAs, not convince them immediately.
So, how have your B2B CTAs been doing lately?
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