Encouraging Your Audience to take the Next Step: Call-to-Actions

Every set of marketing goals involves one core idea: Encouraging your target audiences to do what you ask. After all, to reach your goals and show results, visitors must come into your library, people have to register for workshops and events, and sponsors must support major initiatives. 

That’s why the most critical link between your marketing campaign and your marketing goals is the call to action, or CTA. 

CTAs invite the reader or viewer to take the next step. This might be signing up for your newsletter or downloading a resource guide. Without a call to action, there’s a strong likelihood your target audience will not move further into the “sales funnel,” as business marketers say.  

There’s plenty of proof that CTAs have a substantial impact on results. For example, one 2015 study showed that emails with a single CTA increased clicks by 371%.  Another found that adding CTAs to your Facebook page increased click-through rate by 285%.  Over the past three years, I would imagine that these numbers have increased.

Omitting CTAs from your marketing efforts is an obvious missed opportunity. But if you’re incorporating them into your marketing and not seeing these kinds of results, here are eight tips for increasing their effectiveness. 

1. Make them stand out.

Good design is vital for CTAs, which should “pop on the page.” Brightly colored buttons that stand in contrast to the page background are hard for readers to overlook. 

2. Keep it simple and clear.

Help readers understand exactly what they should do next, but keep it short and to the point. 

3. Use action-oriented words.

Some of the best for libraries include: Join, Register, Build, Start, Learn, Discover, and Find. You can find more examples here 

4. Be personal.

Using pronouns such as “you” or “my” is more conversational and less formal. This change in tone is highly effective. SproutSocial points out that when the reader feels you’re speaking directly to him, the conversion rate increases by 42% over generic wording. 

5. Create urgency.

We’ve all experienced this when interacting with marketing. When we think a deal or special is about to end soon, we act immediately to take advantage. This works with library marketing as well. For example, if you’re promoting an event, phrases such as: “Register Now! This event sold out quickly last year!” can increase registrations.  

6. Add to every communication.

CTAs belong on every piece of marketing, including your website, emails and flyers. Marketers often overlook offline opportunities, such as presentations and webinars. For example,  you can add a CTA asking attendees to sign up for the library newsletter into your slide presentation. 

7. Embed into social posts.

Marketers regularly include CTAs on social media advertising to drive readers to landing pages. But CTAs are also effective on organic posts. For example, we recently promoted one of our special events on Facebook and we included the CTA, “Learn more here,” which linked to details on our website. 


8. Don’t forget video.

According to YouTube, the service reaches more 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the US. In fact, the average person spends 140 minutes a day watching video on the internet, Business Insider reports. Thus, video is a highly attractive medium for any marketing program. But to make it truly effective, you must be sure to add CTAs to any video you create. 


These tips should help you create more effective CTAs that help you reach your marketing goals.  

I’m going to end on a call to action of my own: Sign up today for our NJSL Direct newsletter to get more marketing tips – direct to your inbox! 

About Tiffany McClary

Tiffany McClary is the Director of Communications, Marketing & Outreach for the New Jersey State Library. She coordinates marketing and public relations initiatives in order to enhance the reputation of the State Library, and promote the value of NJ libraries and the services and programs that they provide to residents.