Everything Marketers Should Know About Secondary CTAs

People love to have options. It’s common knowledge that people love having options, so why not transfer this over to your marketing and give your visitors and prospects some choices too?

There are a few ways you can add variety to your marketing, and today we’re focusing on one method in particular: secondary calls-to-action (CTAs).

Let’s talk about what secondary CTAs are and how using them in your marketing can help your business.

What Is a Secondary CTA?

A secondary call-to-action is a call-to-action that provides an alternative conversion opportunity or action to the primary action you ideally want visitors, prospects, or leads to take. Your secondary call-to-action is generally featured less prominently than your primary call-to-action, and it can be a great way to further engage and capture people who may not find the offer in your primary call-to-action appealing.

For example, your primary call-to-action might be for visitors to download one of your educational ebooks, which they have to complete a full lead-capture form to redeem. A secondary call-to-action might ask visitors to subscribe to your blog by email, which requires just their email address.

This means that having a secondary CTA can help you recapture some of the opportunities for conversion that you would otherwise miss.

Why Are Secondary CTAs Beneficial?

Other benefits of secondary CTAs include:

Generating Reconversions

Typically, the primary CTA should be aligned with where the person is in the sales funnel. For example, if someone has already converted on a bunch of your top-of-the-funnel offers, like educational ebooks, your primary CTA might be for a more middle-of-the-funnel offer, such as a product demo. But maybe someone isn’t ready to take that next step to see a demo, and they’re content in their current stage—still craving that purely educational ebook you’re promoting in your secondary CTA. No problem! Even if that reconversion isn’t elevating the status of your lead, it doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.

Progressing Leads to the Next Stage

You’re emailing a segment of newly converted leads. It’s early in their customer journey for them to buy your product, so you offer an intermediate-level offer related to their first purchase. As a secondary offer, you provide a landing page for your product demo. Even though this was a secondary offer, some people clicked on it and converted.

It is beneficial for both you and the lead if you offer the option to move further in the sales cycle, even if you do not think the person is ready.

Support Additional Business Goals

Your CTAs don’t always have to be about conversion on a landing page. A CTA is just an action you want someone to take. For example, you might want to grow your social reach, so you use a secondary CTA to encourage people to follow you on social media. Or, because you know how social sharing affects things like SEO, you use your secondary CTA to encourage people to share a blog post they just read. Or, if your company’s annual event is coming up, you might use your secondary CTA to promote that event.The key is to use both a primary and secondary CTA to prioritize and balance your goals, whether they’re related to generating leads or something else.

Best Practices to Consider When Choosing Secondary CTAs

A secondary call to action can promote the same things as a primary call to action, such as an ebook download, webinar signup, social media follow or share, event registration, blog subscription, consultation request, trial, or coupon. The important thing to remember about secondary call to actions is that the offer you choose for your secondary call to action should depend heavily on the context. Here are some contextual considerations to make when you’re either choosing the offer for your secondary call to action or deciding on its appearance, feel, or positioning.

Determine Your Goals

Your decision about what to use for your secondary CTA depends on your goals. This may vary based on the goals of your primary CTA, where your secondary CTA is placed, and what the goals of that channel are.

Use Appropriate Action Words 

A CTA should use action words to invite someone to act. However, not all action words will give the intended results.

Action words, like “submit” or “enter,” make your subscribers feel like they are giving something up instead of receiving something. Words like “get” and “try” change the narrative. They make your audience feel as if they are going to gain something by clicking on the CTA button.

Write from the First-person Viewpoint 

If you want your audience to convert, give them personalized experiences. For example, if you segment your audience and greet them with their first name, you can also personalize CTA buttons.

If you want to increase clicks on your call to action, try writing it from the first-person point of view. Research has shown that this can increase clicks by up to 90%.

The first-person viewpoint ensures that the reader is in control and can visualize the outcome to be realized.

Keep it Short and Sweet 

Your subscribers are already taking time out of their day to read your newsletter; why test them more by making them scroll to the bottom to find the unsubscribe button?

The recommended length for a call-to-action (CTA) is between 2 and 4 words. Longer CTAs will get lost in email clutter, while shorter ones will appear abrupt and rude.

What’s In It for Me?

It is selves focused out in the world; why should anybody anticipate your audience to listen to you? If you want them to do what you desire, you need to make clear what the payoff is for them.

We can use the example of an ebook on reducing debt to see which CTA sounds better. Would you rather have a CTA that says “Subscribe to our mailing list to get the ebook” or “Subscribe to our mailing list and get the ebook on reducing debt”? The latter CTA is more effective because it tells the reader what they will get by subscribing.

‘Download Now


‘Give Me Financial Freedom’

The second thing to do is to focus on the value you’re providing instead of what you’re getting. This will result in more clicks on your CTA buttons. The stats support this argument too. CTA copy that focuses on the benefits can boost click-through rates by up to 10%.

Use Numbers Wherever Possible 

The career counsellor advised to add numbers in the CV to make the achievements seem more concrete and weighty. This logic can also be applied to email calls to action.

If possible, include numbers in your CTA. For example, instead of writing “Shop Our Sale Now,” write “Avail 50% Off Now!” Numbers are more eye-catching and can encourage people to make an impulsive purchase.

You can use numbers in CTAs for things like showing the remaining days in a limited-time offer or discussing product features.

If your call to action isn’t attractive, it’s not going to be effective. This chapter will teach you how to create CTAs that are appealing and successful in getting your audience to take action.

Focus on the Color 

Color is an important aspect of design. It can grab attention and trigger emotional reactions.

What are the best colors to use for CTA buttons?

Buttons > Links

“Find out how to avoid costly mistakes when hiring a virtual assistant?” If you received an email that included a call to action to “Find out how to avoid costly mistakes when hiring a virtual assistant,” how would you react?

Download now! Limited Time Offer!

We’re not sure about you, but we’re getting a malware warning from our mind. The truth is that hidden links look suspicious and can easily be missed in an email.

The solution is to use buttons that say “call to action” on them. These buttons are more likely to get noticed by readers and increase the likelihood that they will take the desired action.

Use Graphic Elements 

Who says CTAs only have to be plain text?

One way to make your CTAs more effective is to add simple graphic elements like lines, arrows, or emojis. Just be careful not to make the CTA too busy or cluttered.

So there you have it, if you’re wondering if adding a visual element to your CTA button will increase clicks, know that it does. For example, the famous jewelry brand Helzberg Diamonds saw a 26% increase in clicks after adding an arrow to their CTA button.

Negative Space is Your Friend

If you use CTA buttons instead of links, they will be more noticeable. However, if you surround the email CTA buttons with text and images, it will be harder for them to stand out. For a CTA button to be effective, it should be easy to see – there should be no confusion about where the invitation to act is.

One way to make CTA buttons stand out more is by using negative space. White space helps refresh readers’ eyes and makes it easier to see where the CTA button is located.


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