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Marketing Strategy
min read
April 5, 2024

A Marketer's Guide: Creating Funnel-Specific CTAs that Convert

Keelyn Hart
Content Writer at Letterdrop


  • Different CTAs are needed for different stages of the buyer journey and conversion funnel.
  • Examples of different types of CTAs include in-line, landing page, side nav, pop-up, social media ad, and email newsletter CTAs.
  • Creating a funnel-specific CTA strategy involves segmenting your CTAs according to your target ICP, funnel stage, and feature.

Any marketer knows that the recipe for a good CTA is good design, a great offer, and actionable copy that drives conversions.

But there's often something missing: considering where the prospect might be in the conversion funnel.

No matter how tempting you think your value proposition is or how prominent your CTA is, you'll lose prospects if it's irrelevant to them in the moment.

What Are CTAs?

A Call to Action (CTA) is a prompt to convince a prospect to take a desired action. Some examples of CTAs:

  • signing up for a newsletter or webinar
  • downloading a gated asset, like a PDF or eBook
  • reading a related article
  • signing up for a product demo
  • and (most obviously) buying a product

And slapping a "Buy now" button next to your content isn't the best way to go about it. You're supposed to demonstrate the value a prospect can get from taking that action, and you want your copy to reflect that. For example, "Get Your Free Report" or "Add to Cart and Save 15%" are more likely to drive clicks.

Here's an example of a CTA from Knapsack.

An example of a CTA from Knapsack
An example of a CTA from Knapsack

Why Are CTAs Important?

The purpose of a CTA is to drive deliberate action and turn prospects into customers by guiding them through the buyer journey.

They encourage people to take action instead of bouncing, and getting their contact information through sign-ups can help you add qualified prospects to your marketing lists.

On the other hand, a lack of CTAs can mean that qualified leads and high-intent buyers simply drop off your pages because you haven't helped nurture them through your sales funnel.

Examples of the Different Kinds of CTAs

CTAs can be used in all manner of ways, from in-line to the navigation bar. Here are real-world examples of each type to help you make use of the best format for your business.

1. In-Line CTA

An in-line CTA is added within a blog post or landing page that serves to grab the prospect while they're busy learning about a topic. Here's an example from New Breed:

An example of an in-line CTA from New Breed
An example of an in-line CTA from New Breed

2. ‎Landing Page CTA

All of your landing pages should have a CTA ready for prospects, whether they get there through an ad, referral, or link. It should match the user's intent and demonstrate a very clear next step.

NerdWallet does just that when you land on their credit card page.

A landing page CTA by NerdWallet
A landing page CTA by NerdWallet

3. Side Nav of a Blog CTA

These CTAs are in the side navigation bar or "side nav" next to a blog post. They should prompt an action that's relevant to the content topic.

For example, Ironclad invites prospects to subscribe to their newsletter following this informative article.

A side nav CTA by Ironclad
A side nav CTA by Ironclad

‎4. Pop-Up for a Blog CTA

You can initiate these pop-up CTAs for prospects once they've browsed your page for a while.

Here's a great example from Heyday: they offer a discount for first purchase using a pop-up.

A pop-up CTA from Heyday
A pop-up CTA from Heyday

5. Social Media Ad CTA

Ads are a great way to get your value proposition out there in front of a major audience.

Here's an example of a Facebook ad by Hootsuite, where users can opt to "Learn More" regarding their 30-day free trial.

A social media ad CTA by Hootsuite on Facebook
A social media ad CTA by Hootsuite on Facebook

6. Email Newsletter CTA

Newsletters are a great way to earn back lost leads and nurture existing ones, which is why CTAs shine here.

Here's some advice about email newsletter CTAs from Andrew Chen, Chief Product Officer at CommentFold:

"Consider foreshadowing your call to action at the very beginning of your emails. This approach gives structure to your emails and gets your audience thinking about how they might accomplish the task you set for them before you officially encourage your audience to perform a specific task." - Andrew Chen, CPO

WTF is SEO? always have CTAs in their newsletters, including this one that will prompt users to refer their friends and colleagues to an upcoming webinar.

An email newsletter CTA by WTF Is SEO?
An email newsletter CTA by WTF Is SEO?

Best Practices for CTAs

There are a couple of things these examples do really well when it comes to CTAs. Here's how to follow suit:

1. They Need to Be Visible and Grab Attention

This may seem obvious, but you need to strike a balance: you don't want to overload your readers with CTAs, but you don't want your CTAs to be invisible, either.

For example, having a light-colored button on a white background won'xample.

Here are some tips:

  • Using brand colors and simple design can go a long way when it comes to drawing the eye
  • Put a primary CTA at the top and bottom of the webpage, with other CTAs used sparingly and as needed in between
  • Consider shaking up the design from time to time so that your readers have something new to take in

Using brand colors in CTA design
Using brand colors in CTA design

2. Less is More — Don't Have Competing CTAs

There's nothing wrong with one or two CTAs per page, as long as they're not on top of one another or competing for the user's action.

Overwhelming your reader with the "paradox of choice" can lead to them taking no action at all.

3. Use Power Words for Your CTAs

You want to drive action with CTAs, so the CTA text itself needs to be a power word.

Base your CTAs on action words like "Save", "Start", and "Get" to compel users to do something on your page.

4. Create a Sense of Urgency in CTAs

While power words should compel users to take action quickly, there are other unconventional ways of doing it.

For example, while untraditional, you can include some negative words in your CTAs demonstrating the consequences of not taking action.

5. Keep CTAs Short and Clear

Once again, your primary goal is for your CTAs to drive action. They have to be short and punchy, communicating the value of the action without rambling.

6. Add Supporting Text Before the CTA

You want your CTAs to fit as naturally as possible into your content so your user feels that it's a logical next step to take action.

A great way to do this is to transition your way to the CTA with supporting text to give it that more natural feel.

For example, suppose my CTA is "Subscribe to Our Newsletter." My supporting text might be one or two lines talking about the benefits of signing up or mentioning the thousands of other subscribed marketers.

7. Make CTAs Personal

I've already touched on this, but I can't emphasize the importance of personalized CTAs enough.

In fact, targeted CTAs convert 202% better than generic ones. So, consider changing your "Subscribe Now" CTA to "Read it Today."

8. Use Social Proof in Your CTAs

What could be more compelling to prospects than proof that others benefitted from what your company could do for them?

Try to use social proof wherever you can. Here's an example:

Save 12 hours/week on Webflow publishing.

Census saves 12 hours/week on marketing ops for Webflow. You can too.

8. Measure CTA Performance with A/B Testing

Don't be afraid to experiment. Test out the effect of different CTA placement, text, design, wording, and more to figure out which designs are most likely to drive conversions.

Why Do You Need Different CTAs for Different Funnel Stages?

Whether your prospect is aware of your product or not has a huge influence on which CTAs will actually drive any action from them. And that's where the marketing funnel and the four corresponding buyer journey stages come in. These four stages are:

  • unaware
  • problem-aware
  • solution-aware
  • product-aware

It's extremely important to keep CTAs relevant to where your prospect is at, or you risk losing them completely.

For example, it would be completely useless to slap a "Book a Letterdrop Demo" CTA (solution-aware) on an article called "What is Content Marketing" (unaware.) That person is just learning about content marketing and has no idea who we are, let alone how our product relates back to content marketing.

The more relevant and personalized your CTAs are, the better.

Top of Funnel Buyer Awareness

At this stage of the funnel, your aim is to educate potential buyers on the industry and how your offering fits in. The two buyer awareness stages in this segment of the funnel are:

  • Unaware, or when prospects aren't aware of your product yet and are looking to educate themselves on the space.
  • Problem-Aware, when prospects are aware of a problem that your product could solve.

Some examples of possible CTAs you can include here are:

  • Subscribing to the newsletter
  • Reading other related articles

As our growth marketer, James Zayner, says, sending readers to related articles is a much softer way to nurture leads in the beginning stages of their journey. You're giving them value in that exact moment instead of making an ask of them.

Middle of Funnel Buyer Awareness

At this point, the goal of your content and your CTAs is to teach prospects how to choose a solution. The MOFU buyer awareness stage is:

  • Solution-Aware, or when prospects are aware of solutions and are weighing up their options.

At this stage, it's safe to introduce CTAs like "Schedule a Demo."

Bottom of Funnel Buyer Awareness

Your goal at this stage of the funnel should be to convince prospects that your solution is the absolute best on the market. At this point, prospects are:

  • Product-Aware, at a place where they're choosing their solutions and actually becoming paying customers.

Once again, you can start dropping CTAs relating to booking a demo or even making a buy.

Buyer Awareness phases in the marketing funnel by Letterdrop
Buyer Awareness phases in the marketing funnel

📢 Tip: Letterdrop's SEO tooling has a feature that tells you what stage of awareness your article falls under.

How to Create Your Funnel-Specific CTA Strategy

Now it's time to create specific CTAs for every stage of the funnel and their corresponding buyer journey stages. Here's the process:

  1. Create a spreadsheet to track your CTAs.
  2. Segment your CTAs according to your target ICP, funnel stage, and feature. Make corresponding columns for this.
  3. Create corresponding CTA titles for each segment. Each title should be outcome-specific.
  4. Write the body text for your CTAs. This should emphasize your prospect's pain point and show some social proof if possible.
  5. Design your CTA. It needs to draw attention without being obnoxious.

Here are some funnel-specific CTAs that we've created at Letterdrop.

An example of a funnel-specific CTA strategy Letterdrop
An example of a funnel-specific CTA strategy

Optimize Conversion by Knowing Your Buyer Stages

We can't overstate the importance of aligning CTAs to specific stages in the buyer journey and conversion funnel in actually getting conversions. A poorly placed CTA may as well be no CTA if it doesn't catch your prospects at the right moment.

We're always thinking of how we can put the user first at Letterdrop. Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about how we help streamline your content ops from top to bottom.

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