A piece of content can only qualify for the purposes of content marketing needs when you add these two components: a conversion goal and a call to action to attain that goal.

But what do appealing and actionable CTAs look like?

Make it SMART

Being specific about your conversion goal will help you to focus your content and call to action in the right way. Applying the SMART principles is always a good idea in marketing. By making both your conversion goal and your call to action Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound, you can maximise your chances of success.

Once you’re clear on your goal, you need to invite your audiences to action it. How many times have you read a blog post and thought “I’d like to know more about that” but not known how to follow up? 

The more different ways you give your audiences to engage with you, the more likely your conversion goal becomes.

Offer an incentive

One of the principles of content marketing is to offer valuable content in exchange for personal information. Over time, this information can be used to refine your marketing offers and messages, optimise your communication strategies and better understand your audiences.

An eBook can be a great way to start this type of transactional exchange. However, there are some obvious pitfalls. The first and most obvious being quality of content: this is an area where you need to invest to be sure that you are adding value for your customers and at a quality they expect – or better.

A fair exchange

Another obvious pitfall is not making it worthwhile. We’ve all been there: you click on a link to download an eBook of interest, and you’re confronted with a form that runs a page long. Chances are you won’t want to complete 20 fields in order to receive it.

Consumers are willing to hand over their data to brands they trust in exchange for certain benefits. For example, we’ll willingly share our phone number in exchange for updates about our delivery. We might hand over our address details in exchange for a coupon for a free cup of coffee. But for an eBook, it’s likely we’ll want to share no more than our name and email address.

Make the right first impression

Downloading that free eBook could very well be the first time an individual interacts with your brand. They are going to come away from the experience with an understanding of how your company thinks and behaves.

If your audience comes away with a good impression, it’s likely they’ll return for more – giving you new opportunities to interact and capture information. The question is, do you want their first impression to be: “We’ll give you an eBook, but first we’re going to extract all we can from you”? Or: “Here’s an eBook. We don’t expect a lot in return. And we’re going to do our best to make it easy for you.”?

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