Is your blog as flat as a pancake? You need a call to action!

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I have around 5 mentoring calls a week with people looking to get more business from their Social Media Marketing and Blogging efforts (you can book yours here!) and time and time again I get the same comments:

No-one visits my blog

People read but don’t comment

No-one signs up for my blog

I get nothing from my blog

Invariably, when I look at the blog(s) in question, the same thing crops up – no call to action.

What’s a call to action?

Put simply, a call to action is something at the end of a blog that tells the person reading it what you want them to do.

See, we all have short attention spans in this day and age, and often once we’ve read a blog we think “That was nice, what next?” and click a link, or press the back button and disappear off somewhere else, never to return.

A call to action gives us something to think about at the end of reading a post, and without it, sometimes we can’t figure out what we should be doing.

OK, but what’s a call to action?

Well, it could be a number of things. Think about it, what do you want someone to do when they’ve read your post?

Do you want them to:

  • subscribe to your newsletter?
  • pick up the phone?
  • subscribe to your blog by email or RSS?
  • comment on the post?
  • send you an email?
  • download a document or file?
  • read another blog?
  • Like or Tweet your blog?

Oh, I have calls to actions all over my blog

You probably do: your phone number in the header or footer, a newsletter signup top right, other posts linked to top left, email address somewhere in the template or on the contact page. Probably a Twitter and Facebook button at the top somewhere? And that’s great.

But when I’ve finished reading your blog post, I’m not top left or right, I’m at the bottom, probably not quite at the footer. And that’s where I need to see the call to action.

Are you sure?

Yep.

When I started putting ‘Please subscribe to this blog’ with a Feedburner subscribe box at the bottom of the odd blog post here and there instead of hoping people would look top right, I more than doubled my subscribers in 2 blog posts.

If I put ‘drop me an email for more info’ at the end of a post I get more emails than if I don’t.

I wrote this post about a  ‘Free Social Media Marketing Checklist‘ in 2009, and in the first week the link to the download was at the top of the blog not the bottom. In one week I received over 50 emails saying ‘so where’s the checklist then?’. Eventually I got fed up and added a link to the checklist at the end too, and I’ve not had one email since, despite the list being downloaded 50+ times a week.

I looked at my stats a couple of years ago and noticed that people were reading one blog, but then leaving my site. So I added a ‘related posts’ plugin that give other posts you may be interested in at the end of each blog, and my page views went through the roof, as did my enquiries.

And I get far more comments on a blog post if I say ‘I’d love to hear your thoughts / comments in the comments below’ than if I don’t.

I’m not the only one seeing these results – the people on my mentoring calls report the same.

So what’s the call to action on this blog post then Nikki?

That’s simple – I want you to make a list of the calls to action you could use, and use a different one in each of your blog posts over then next few weeks, then report back on the results, either in the comments on this blog, or to me directly at nikkipilk@gmail.com

And of course, if you’d like to have more hints, tips and ways forward with your Social Media Marketing, book a mentoring call now while they’re still going cheap 😉

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About Nikki

Author of many 30 Day Blogging Challenges, Nikki spends her time helping small businesses with Internet Marketing and Social Media Marketing. With 17 years of experience, she hasn't yet found someone she couldn't help to get more business from their website.

Comments

  1. Hi Nikki,
    Some great reminders about calls to action and a great idea about testing and measuring different calls to action to see what works best. I know that is something that I need to work harder on. Thanks for the reminder.

    Adrian

  2. I use a variety of calls to action depending on what the post is. On Zero to Blogger on Warren’s blog we focused one week on tweets and the next on “likes”. On Birds certain types of posts get a certain type of call to action as that is what we have tried and tested to see what works.

  3. That’s a great idea Sarah – how did it go?

  4. Thanks Adrian, let me know how you get on 🙂

  5. Am I allowed to say all will be revealed in my book? 😉

  6. Thanks Nikki for the reminder. I simply asked readers to like (or not) a post to get some feedback and check if it was of interest. 1 visitor out of 3 clicked on the Facebook like button after reading the post. It was a much better conversion rate than before. I am also experimenting with other calls for action, especially to generate more comments and subscribers.

  7. Hi
    This is really useful and I’ve just gone back and added a call to action on a post I wrote this evening.
    Can you let me know where to find a related post plug-in as I’ve wondered about adding one in the past, but couldn’t work out how to.
    Thanks
    Ann

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