Crafting CTAs that Convert in the B2B Landscape

Anabeth McConnell Anabeth McConnell
September 11, 2023   |   7 min read time

You've seen it before — potential clients landing on your page, engaging with your content, but then... they vanish. The culprit? Often, it's lackluster calls to action that fail to captivate or compel.

These seemingly small elements bear the weighty responsibility of guiding your audience from interest to action. Yet, many CTAs get lost in the noise, becoming mere placeholders rather than powerful prompts.

But what if there was a way to transform these calls to action into magnetic touchpoints, drawing your audience in and guiding them seamlessly through their journey? Let’s walk through and explore the art and science behind crafting B2B CTAs that not only capture attention but also catalyze conversions in the B2B landscape.

The Role of Placement and Positioning

Should CTA’s be placed above the fold or strategically within the content?

The term "above the fold" originates from the newspaper industry, referring to the content visible before unfolding the paper. In digital terms, it's the content visible without scrolling.

Research suggests that content above the fold grabs 80% of user attention. However, with the rise of mobile browsing and varied screen sizes, the fold's exact position can vary.

While it's essential to have key CTAs in this prime real estate, it's equally crucial to sprinkle CTAs throughout your content, especially at the end of significant sections or compelling arguments.

The balancing act: visibility without distraction

A CTA should be a beacon, not a barrier. Use design principles like the rule of thirds, which involves splitting your page into three horizontal and vertical sections and placing your CTA where these lines intersect. This naturally draws the eye.

Consider color psychology when selecting your button colors. For example, a green CTA might convey growth or positivity, while a red one might suggest urgency.

Keeping your primary call to action a prominent color separate from your other calls to action also helps a reader understand which CTA is more important.

Adapting CTAs for Different B2B Content Types

Understanding the goals of each B2B content type helps to craft the right type of CTA that resonates with the audience, driving engagement and conversions.

Whitepapers and case studies: Soft CTAs that matter

Whitepapers and case studies are in-depth, providing a comprehensive look into a topic or a solution. Soft CTAs like "Explore the full study" or "Dive deeper into our findings" can be more effective, guiding the reader to more content without feeling intrusive.

Webinars and events: Directing the excitement

Webinars and events are about engagement. CTAs should channel this energy. "Book your seat," "Engage with our panel," or "Save the date" can be effective in ensuring participation.

Blog posts and articles: Nurturing curiosity

Blogs are often a mix of education and thought leadership. CTAs within these can be geared towards further reading or exploring related topics. "Read more on this topic," "See related articles," or "Subscribe for updates" can keep the reader engaged.

Product pages: Highlighting benefits

For B2B businesses, product pages are where the rubber meets the road. CTAs here should be direct and benefit-driven. "See product features," "Request a demo," or "Compare with competitors" can guide potential clients closer to a decision.

Newsletters: Encouraging continuity

Newsletters aim to keep subscribers informed and engaged. CTAs within should encourage continued interaction. "Stay tuned for our next update," "Share with a colleague," or "Give us feedback" can foster a sense of community and anticipation.

Video content: Engaging visually

B2B video content, whether it's a product demo, a testimonial, or an explainer video, offers a dynamic way to convey information. CTAs here should be visually compelling and contextually relevant. "Watch more testimonials," "See the product in action," or "Learn from our experts" can be effective in guiding the viewer to the next step.

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Understanding the Journey: CTAs for Each Funnel Stage

When developing a CTA, consider the stage of the buyer journey your reader may be in for better engagement.

Top of the funnel: Awareness-driven CTAs

At this exploratory stage, your audience is looking for information. Your CTAs should be educational and non-committal. For instance, "Discover the latest industry trends" or "Explore our knowledge hub." It's about offering value without asking for much in return.

Middle of the funnel: Consideration-driven CTAs

Here, your audience is actively considering solutions. Your CTAs should help them visualize the benefits of choosing you. "See how we compare," "Discover client success stories," or "Experience a demo" can be effective.

Bottom of the funnel: Decision-ready prompts

This is the commitment stage. Your CTAs should be confident and clear. "Let's get started," "Join our community," or "Unlock premium features" are direct and suggest a tangible benefit.

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Avoid Common CTA Pitfalls

Steer clear of these common mistakes even seasoned marketers make when creating calls to action. 

Overloading with CTAs: It's tempting to include multiple CTAs on a single page, hoping to cater to every possible user intent. However, this can lead to decision paralysis. Instead of guiding the user, it confuses them.

Vague Language: Using generic phrases like "Click here" or "Learn more" without context can leave users guessing. A CTA should clearly convey the value or outcome of taking action.

Design Clashes: A CTA color that conflicts with the overall website design or is too small can either be jarring or easily overlooked. It's essential to ensure that CTAs blend with the design yet stand out.

Not Mobile-Optimized: With a significant chunk of users accessing content via mobile devices, a CTA that doesn't display well on smaller screens can lead to missed opportunities.

Ignoring A/B Testing: Assuming that a CTA will work without testing can be a costly mistake. Even minor tweaks in the words or the color you use can significantly impact conversion rates.

Quick fixes for CTA blunders

Prioritize and Streamline: Instead of bombarding users with multiple CTAs, prioritize based on the page's primary goal. If necessary, use secondary CTAs sparingly and ensure they don't compete with the main action.

Be Specific: Replace vague language with specific, action-oriented phrases. For instance, instead of "Learn more," use "Discover our solutions" or "Explore the benefits."

Harmonize Design: Use complementary colors that contrast with the background, ensuring the CTA stands out. Also, consider size and positioning, ensuring it's easily clickable, especially on touch devices.

Responsive Design: Ensure your CTAs are optimized for all devices. This might mean adjusting button sizes, text, or even the CTA's wording to suit mobile users.

Embrace Testing: Regularly A/B test different CTA versions. This includes variations in wording, design, and placement. Analyze the results to understand what resonates best with your audience.

B2B Brands Nailing the CTA Game

Crafting an effective CTA isn't just about a catchy phrase; it's about understanding your audience's needs, preferences, and pain points, and addressing them head-on.

Inspiration from the best in business

Slack: Their CTA "Try for free" is straightforward and offers a no-risk proposition. It's a clear invitation to experience the product without any commitment, reducing barriers to entry.

Mailchimp: With "Get Started" paired with "No credit card required," they address a common concern head-on. By assuring users that there's no financial commitment, they increase the likelihood of sign-ups.

Dropbox Business: Their CTA "Try free for 30 days" gives a specific timeframe, setting clear expectations. This creates a sense of urgency while also offering a taste of the full product.

LinkedIn: For their premium services, they use "See premium benefits." Instead of pushing for a sale, they're inviting users to explore the value they'll get, emphasizing the benefits.

Adobe Creative Cloud for Teams: Their CTA "Buy now" is paired with "or get started with a free trial." This dual-CTA approach caters to different audience segments: those ready to purchase and those still on the fence.

Analyzing what they did right

Clarity: Each of these brands uses clear, concise language. There's no ambiguity about what will happen when the CTA is clicked.

Addressing Pain Points: By offering trials, no credit card requirements, or showcasing benefits, these CTAs directly address common user hesitations.

Visual Appeal: These CTAs stand out but don't clash with the overall design. They're positioned prominently, often with contrasting colors, making them easy to spot.

Relevance: The CTAs are contextually relevant. They align with the content they accompany, ensuring that they resonate with the user's current stage in the buying journey.

A/B Testing: Successful brands understand the importance of continuous optimization. By testing different CTA versions, they identify what resonates most with their audience, leading to higher conversion rates.

Key Takeaways

Your calls to action serve as pivotal moments, guiding potential clients toward taking meaningful action. As we've explored, the effectiveness of a CTA isn't just about its wording but a combination of placement, design, context, and a deep understanding of the audience's journey.

  1. Placement Matters: Whether it's the prime real estate 'above the fold' or strategically positioned within compelling content, where you place your CTA can significantly impact its visibility and effectiveness.
  2. Content-Specific CTAs: Different B2B content types serve varied purposes. Tailoring your CTAs to resonate with the specific intent of each content piece—from whitepapers to webinars—can drive better engagement and conversions.
  3. Journey-Centric Approach: Recognizing where your audience is in their buying journey allows for CTAs that resonate with their current mindset, whether they're just discovering your brand or ready to make a decision.
  4. Avoiding Pitfalls: Even seasoned marketers can stumble with CTAs. Being aware of common mistakes, from design dissonance to vague language, and actively addressing them can elevate the effectiveness of your CTAs.
  5. Learning from the Best: Brands like Slack, Mailchimp, and Adobe offer valuable lessons in CTA optimization. Their success lies in clarity, addressing user concerns, visual appeal, and continuous testing.

Crafting the perfect CTA is a blend of art and science. It's about understanding your audience's needs, preferences, and pain points, and guiding them towards a desired action seamlessly. As B2B marketers, our goal is not just to get a click but to foster a meaningful connection, and a well-crafted CTA is a significant step in that direction.

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