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What are the best calls to action for B2B businesses?

June 25, 2024 | B2B Marketing, Business, Website Design and Redesign

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What are the best calls to action for B2B businesses?

What is the best call-to-action (CTA) you can use? Calls-to-action, like “buy now” or “request a demo” are often treated as an afterthought. After all, you just wrote a whole landing page to convince someone to request a demo, so does the exact wording of the request matter? The answer is yes, it does matter. It matters a lot.

Read on to learn about what factors go into choosing the right call-to-action.

What is a call to action?

A call-to-action (CTA) is a short, active phrase that asks a prospect to take an action that shows their interest in your business. CTAs aren’t just for purchasing. A CTA can also ask the prospect to learn more, subscribe to your newsletter, or download a white paper.

A call-to-action invites active participation from the prospect, which is critical for further brand engagement and ultimately conversion. Spending time and money creating social media posts, for example, won’t generate nearly as much ROI unless those posts involve a CTA to visit your website, read more about a topic, or join your newsletter. Similarly, without a formal and clear CTA on your website, prospects may not be sure how to buy from you. And that confusion may lead them to leave your website and consider a competitor.

What is the best call-to-action for your business sales cycle?

The kinds of calls-to-action you need changes based on how long your sales cycle is.

Call-To-Action and Length of Sales Cycle
  • Short Sales Cycle. An example of a business with a short sales cycle is office supplies. While you may do some price comparison, it’s unlikely you’re going to do a ton of research before buying. Calls to action in this case need to be direct such as a discount coupon or featured product.
  • Medium Sales Cycle. Many professional services companies have medium sales cycles. This might be anywhere from 30 days to three years. They need to stay in touch with prospects and prove themselves as respected experts.
  • Long (and Offline) Sales Cycle. A highly technical medical device or the architectural services necessary to design a large office building is never going to be purchased based on the whim of a discount code. Sales cycles in these businesses are long and more importantly, the final sales process takes place offline. However, these businesses would still benefit from a call to “stay in touch”.

Most B2B businesses have medium to long sales cycles. In addition to CTAs that convert prospects into a client, they need CTAs that show expertise, convince, and invite prospects to stay in touch.

Choose your CTA based on where you are in the marketing funnel

A marketing funnel describes how people first find out about your business, through to the decision to buy from you. The marketing funnel usually has four stages: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. Calls-to-action are needed in every step of the funnel.

  • Awareness: Marketing activities in the awareness stage of the funnel can include writing blog posts about a topic that is relevant to your business, or creating social media posts and using hashtags to attract people to your post. The purpose of these activities is to make people aware of your brand and the problem that you can solve. The next step you want them to take is to learn more about your business. Calls-to-action can be “learn more” or “visit our website” or “subscribe to our channel”.
  • Interest: Marketing activities in the interest stage of the funnel are aimed at getting prospects to stay engaged with your brand. Calls-to-action are similar to the awareness stage, with a specific focus of getting them to opt-in to further contact with your brand. This can include “download the eBook” or “subscribe to our newsletter”.
  • Desire: Once a prospect has engaged with your brand and understands what problem you can solve, it’s time to get them to consider what you offer. You should focus your CTAs on getting them to find out more about your product. This may include “learn more”, or “schedule a demo”.
  • Action: In this final stage of the marketing funnel, you want to convert an engaged prospect into a potential customer. Calls-to-action in this stage could be “contact us for a quote”, or “start your free trial.”

Identifying what stage of the marketing funnel a marketing activity is in helps you narrow down what call-to-action is best. Another factor to consider when choosing a CTA is your branding.

Choosing a call-to-action that’s right for your brand

Consistent branding is important, and calls-to-action are a great place to reinforce your branding. If you use a CTA that doesn’t fit with your brand voice, prospects may be confused or discouraged from taking that next step.

Let’s say you’re creating a social media post in the awareness stage with the goal of having someone click on the link to read a blog post. Here are how two different brands may write that call to action:

Brand #1 has a target audience of young entrepreneurs and small businesses that are looking for easy ways to grow their business. This brand may write “Get the hacks!” as a CTA leading to a blog post describing “hacks” for quick growth.

Brand #2 is a cybersecurity business with a target audience of risk-averse technology businesses that are looking for useful information on cybersecurity. This brand may write a CTA of “Read the blog post” or “Get more information”.

Integrating your call-to-action into your design

People have a short attention span, and it’s important that you make it clear exactly what action you want them to take, and make it as easy as possible for them to take that action.

Never assume that someone know what to do. For example, if you’re posting on LinkedIn, you might assume that if you put a link to a blog post at the bottom of your post, people will click on it to learn more about the topic your post is about. They will not. If you write “click the link below to learn more about this topic!”, then people will know exactly where to click.

The call-to-action you use on your website may be one of the most important calls-to-action you use, because it likely leads to the first stage of sales. Therefore, you should make it easy for people to take that next step, by putting your CTA in multiple places on your website. Following website navigation best practices, your CTA should be at the top of the page.

CTAs are important, but they’re just one piece of the marketing puzzle

Calls-to-action are a critical part of your marketing efforts, because they help move prospects along the marketing funnel, with the end goal of conversion to a client. Well written CTAs are just one part of the marketing, puzzle. Without a clear, compelling offer, prospects won’t feel inspired to take the action you want them to take.

Clearly communicating the benefits of your products and services, along with highlighting the specific problems you solve, help people get excited about becoming a customer.

If you’re a B2B business that has a complex or highly technical product or service, communicating clearly is critical to attracting and engaging prospects. But it isn’t always easy.

If you want to learn more about how to communicate complexity so you can increase sales and attract investors, download our newest eBook here.

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