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3 Reasons Why Your CTA Isn’t Working.

A man wondering why his CTA doesn't work.

Why Is Nobody Responding to My CTA?

You’ve just created a beautiful piece of content, distributed it through your social media accounts, and the view count is starting to pile up. As you watch the viral factor of your posts grow and get a good number of impressions, you notice that your conversion rates are still sitting in the single-digit range.

Despite reaching your target audience and getting seen by hundreds or thousands of people, no one seems to take the bait. What could possibly be going wrong?

Chances are, your CTA is to blame.  

Whenever you create content or write a piece of copy, your true intention isn’t just to entertain your target audience but to increase conversions. After all, that’s the main difference between advertisement and entertainment. Careful attention and thought must be put into your CTA to ensure that the time and effort you’ve already spent creating content will actually create a Return on Investment.

Below, we detail some specific reasons why your CTA may be failing to create conversions.

#1: Your CTA doesn’t guide the prospect.

If you’re going to ask someone to do something for you, it’s necessary to provide them with both the information and the means to follow through with their decision.

Let’s say that your CTA is asking the audience to schedule a meeting with you. In addition to asking them to book an appointment, you need to provide them with a platform to see your schedule, pick an opening, and receive an update to their Google Calendar. Otherwise, a prospect may just get confused trying to figure it out and will give up in frustration.

If you want them to follow you on social media, make sure to add easy-to-click links on your content which takes the user straight to the subscribe button. Many effective YouTubers integrate the subscribe button into the video itself so that the viewer can subscribe to the channel without scrolling downward.

Whatever you may ask of your audience, make sure to give them the path of least resistance.

#2: You’re asking for too much, too early.

When you send a cold email, or just a regular sales email to a prospect, you need to make sure that you’re not asking for too much at the beginning. By this, we mean asking for sensitive information or for favors that one would only do for a friend.

First, put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and ask yourself, “would I take this action if a stranger asked me to do it?” If the answer is no, ask for something reasonable and gradually work your way up to what you want the prospect to do.

A great historical example of this is called the “Ben Franklin effect.

Benjamin Franklin observed this behavior and recorded it in his autobiography when he discovered that he could turn his enemies into friends by asking them to do small favors for him.

Here’s how the founding father turned a political rival into a good friend:

“Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return’d it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.”

-Benjamin Franklin

Pretty cool, right?

Modern psychology’s explanation for this behavior is cognitive dissonance theory, which states that people often change their attitudes to be consistent with their behavior, not the other way around. When Ol’ Ben’s rival realized that he had done a friendly favor for his enemy, his subconscious mind had to make changes to how he felt about him.

If this strategy works with political rivals, it will probably work with prospects who already have a neutral or positive opinion towards your brand. Start out by asking something simple, such as a like or share on social media, a visit to a page, or a name and an email address.

Once you get your target audience to do you a small favor, a follow-up CTA will be even more effective.

#3: You have too many CTAs.

Keep your Call to Action focused and don’t ask too many favors from a stranger. If you ask someone to do too many things at once, they’ll most likely become exasperated and do none of them. If you need your target audience to take multiple actions, spread those actions out over time and create a funnel.

For example, your CTA shouldn’t ask a prospect to follow you on social media, provide you with their email address, read an article, sign up for a 2-hour meeting, and fill out a large form in one sitting. This just appears unreasonably demanding.

In general, most of us don’t respond well to demanding people, as they come across as pushy, desperate, or needy. Just ask your audience for a small favor and work on building a relationship from that point onwards.

Bonus Round: You Don’t Have a CTA at All

The experienced marketers reading this article are probably rolling their eyes or scoffing at this section, but it’s a problem that’s more common than you may realize.

A good portion of sales letters, advertisements, and content fail to ask their audience to take action at the end. This is, of course, a huge mistake. If your content doesn’t even have a CTA, you’re wasting your time and money—period.

This is because people don’t know what to do with your message until you tell them what to do about it. Ever see those weird, French perfume commercials on TV? The ones that always star some famous actress with avant-garde visuals and catchy music playing in the background?

If you didn’t recognize the brand name, you would have absolutely no idea what to do with that advertisement. Since you’re not Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, or Dolce & Gabanna, however, you have to make it pretty clear what you offer and what you want your target audience to do with that information.


Your CTA doesn’t have to be a masterpiece to be effective, it just needs to be simple. Think of the CTAs that the world’s most successful companies use, such as “Drink Coke” or “Just Do It”.

Yes, marketing geeks, I know that technically these are slogans, but they also happen to tick the boxes of a great CTA. They’re short, simple, and actionable tasks. Try to use these tips when you write your next CTA and let us know how it goes. We’d love to hear about your experience.

If you’re tired of constantly prospecting and struggling to get leads to no avail, why not just schedule a quick chat with Corey? He’ll show you how quality content, your own custom MarTech stack, and access to our B2B content networks can generate more hot leads for your business.

While you let us do all the hard work, you can sit back, watch the leads pour into your CRM/Inbox, and forward them on to your sales team to close.

P.S. Did we mention that it also comes with a guarantee?

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About the Author Michael Edgar

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