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The Podcraft™ Podcast

Creating Compelling Calls to Action on Your Podcasting Website

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The PodCraft Podcast: Series 3, Episode 11

In the 11th episode of series 3 we’re talking calls to action. A call to action is an element of any page on the web that tries to convince a user to do a certain thing. This might be to buy a product, or to sign up to a mailing list. It might be to leave a comment, or to leave an iTunes review. Whatever you choose, every bit of content you create should have one call to action, and today I’m looking at how to create them quickly and easily. All of this will lead to more effective content, more value for your listeners, and more success for you. Let’s do it!

Resources Mentioned on This Episode

calls to action

Calls to Action plugin

This plugin creates calls to action for your WordPress site. It gives site owners the ability to monitor and track conversion rates, run a/b or multivariate split tests on calls to action, and, most importantly, increase lead flow! Also, one of the basic points of this plugin is it lets you create these calls to action buttons really easily.  It has a lot of extra great features such as providing great templates, giving you a whole lot of control over where your calls to action buttons will appear and what they’ll look like, allowing control over making the calls to action button appear automatically, dynamically or manually entering them via the short code.

Again, go to Website Course for a full guide to installing plugins and working with WordPress in general.

Today’s Tasks

  1. Go to your website and download the Calls to Action plugin
  2. Create 1 Call to Action for your website. Think of one thing you want users to do when they come to your website. Put on a decent header, a bit of a description, and a button.

Let Me Know What You Think

Let me know what you think of Calls to Action plugin. What are the plugins you use to implement your calls to action? I’d love to know!

Finally, if you’re enjoying the series, I’d really appreciate it if you’d give me a review on iTunes. It really helps to get the show out to more people and grow the PodCraft community. Just pop over to PodCraft on the iTunes website to do that.

Thanks for listening and see you on the next episode where we’re talking about Mailing List.

Transcription on This Show

Hey folks! I’m Colin Gray and this is PodCraft.

Hey folks and welcome to another episode of Series 3 of PodCraft, the series where we’re looking at creating a great home for your podcast on the web. We’re now on to week 3, so this is into the third five episodes, so we’re doing twenty episodes in total on this series and now on to episode eleven. If you want to have a look back at the previous episodes, by all means, head over to podcraft.net for the main website and if you want to look at the series in particular, it’s podcraft.net/series3. You can look at all the stuff that’s come before and all the stuff that comes afterwards.

Now, I left it with a bit of a cliff-hanger at the end of the last episode, not talking exactly what we’re going to do on this set of episodes, this third five. Not, what we’re going to be doing is growth and monetisation, so this is moving on to actually looking at how to really grow our podcast. And how to start to make a little bit money out of it as well, if that’s what you choose, obviously not everyone wants to try and make a lot of money out of the podcast, maybe some people want to try and keep it just a hobby, just want to give a lot to their customers, just give a lot, sorry, not customers, I suppose if you’re not selling anything it won’t be customers, it’ll be listeners. So, if that’s your, if that’s your bag, if you just want to keep it as a hobby just create a community around your podcast then by all means that’s great. But if you want to even create just a wee side income, just to be able to pay for your hosting, pay for that kind of thing then some of these monetising techniques in the next five episodes might be useful to you. But whatever you do, the growth aspect is always going to be important, so no matter whether it’s hobby, business, education, why ever your podcast, you always want to grow your audience, you always want it to make more and more successful, get more people listening to your stuff, basically get more, more audience out there, more value for the minutes you spend recording. So, we’re going to be talking about that, we’re going to be talking about how to grow and how to monetise.

Now, in this episode I want to look at calls to action. So, calls to action are essentially anything that causes a user to take an action that you want them to, so something that achieves the aim you have for your podcast. So, if you’re a hobby podcast and really the main thing you want people to do is to join your community, for example, then the call to action would be to  sign up  for the community or to maybe post something in the community or maybe post something in the comments and start a conversation there. If you’re a business podcast, it might well be buying a product or maybe signing up to your mailing list. These are all calls to action. Call to action refers to something that you put on your website or in your podcast itself that calls that person to take that action, so it’s something, even if it’s a simple as you saying “Go over to my website, click on the subscribe button and sign up for my mailing list”. But in this series, we’re looking particularly at the website aspect. So, a call to action on a WordPress website, simplest form, simply a button, so you have a button sitting on your website somewhere either in a post or in a sidebar that says “Click here to do this” and whatever it says to do is basically what your aim is for that episode.

Now, you’re going to have overall aims for you podcast, so maybe your podcast is, say, to promote your consultancy and what your call to action is that you want people to call you. So, you want them to get in touch with you so that you can actually chat to them, you can try and turn them into a prospect, so the call to action could be “Call me on…”, so they click the button and it would take you to the contact page, maybe with the phone number. So, that’s what we’re looking to implement on this episode, we’re looking to implement really easy ways to implement those calls to action on your website.

Now, this is quite an interesting one for me actually because I tend to code my calls to action in, manually. So, I’ll use the Text widget on WordPress and I’ll actually code in, I’ll put in some images, I’ll put in some texts, I’ll put in the buttons themselves and that’ll be manually coded. So, actually I hadn’t really looked into plugins that can do this and automate things in the past but because of this episode, I wanted to have a look to see what the easiest ways to do that in an automated fashion where and I came across a couple of really useful tools. One of which I’m going to talk about on this episode and it’s called Calls to Action plugin, so not a very original name given the design just to create calls to action but massively handy thing and actually I’ll be using this from now on because of a few of the extra features that it offers. So, the whole point is, that this plugin, Calls to Action plugin, you can find it at podcraft.net/cta, just the word, the letters C T A, so, that’ll take you to the install page so that you can find it. The point of this plugin is that, well, the basic point is that it lets you create these calls to action buttons really easily. So, it will create a box, either in your sidebar, well, actually sorry, it let you create a box in the first place so it doesn’t matter where it’s going to appear yet. Simply, you can create a box that has a headline, a bit of text and a button at the bottom. That’s the most basic form of the call to action. You can set the background colour, you can set the foreground colour, you can set the button colour, all that kind of stuff, you can set the width, the height, that type of things. So, you can set a number of different layouts for the call to action and you can say where that button is going to take the user once they clicked it as well. So, when they click that button, where are they going to end up, where’s it going to link to. So, that’s the most basic form of the call to action and that’s what essentially I’ve been doing up until now. So, I will code these things and I’ll put in a bit of text, a bit of header, that kind of thing, the button, it directs somebody somewhere, maybe even an image, you can add them into the call to action plugin as well and that would direct someone somewhere, so, that would be the most handy basic version of the call to action.

Now, where this plugin comes into its own are the extra features that it gives you beyond that. So, the first one is A/B Testing, now this is really handy, this is something that is vital, I think, for things like call to action and I doubt it should be in program in this a little bit manually sometimes as well just doing a bit PHP but can do it so much easier with this plugin. So, you can setup your call to action, you can have a header, a description and a button, as I said, and you can create two versions of it. So, you can have two different calls to action boxes with, say, different colours of buttons, so you can test whether a green button or a blue button converts more. And it sounds stupid but actually colours do have quite a big effect on people’s actions and therefore, your audience might prefer red over blue, they might be more likely to click a button that is red as opposed to blue. Sometimes with the text, headlines, we all know that headlines have a huge effect on people’s actions. Really good headlines can have a massive effect on the click through of anything, from adverts to calls to action to blog articles. So, you can try different headlines, you can test different wording, you can test different wording on headlines as well as buttons, you can test a whole different load of things on your A/B Testing. The way you do this in the call to action plugin, is that you create these different variations and they’re linked as variation A, variation B, variation C and then it will show you the stats, so it show you how many times each of this has been viewed, and it’ll show you how many times it’s been clicked. So, you can actually see the full stats for the click through rate, you can see variation A has had a click through rate of 1.5%, variation B has had a click through rate of 2.5%, so then you take variation B, you make a couple of different changes to that  and you start testing again. And you basically keep refining this until you end up with really well-designed calls to action that really speak to your audience and really ring the best possible value out of all the traffic that you get. So, that’s a great benefit to using this plugin in particular.

Next of all, it’s got some great nice templates and actually it’s just good looking. So there’s a range of templates, I think I saw about eight standard but it looks like they’ve also got a template’s framework, so you can actually build your own templates if you can do a bit of a design yourself or you could have somebody else create templates and I’ve no doubt if it’s a framework that out there, you can probably download loads of other templates as well, possibly paids, possibly premium ones but could be that they could fit in, in the future. So, it’s nice that they do have a few different options for creating this so that those of us that aren’t designers, you can get your calls to action looking really good from the start.

Next of all is where they appear, so this is something that I think is a really big strength of this plugin as well. Now, there’s a couple of different ways you can do it, so first of all, you’ve got a shortcode, so every single call to action box can, has its own shortcodes, you can take that shortcode from the edit page and you can place that shortcode anywhere you like. So, you can put that shortcode straight into a post, you can put it into a widget, you can put it into anything basically that appears on your website, on your WordPress website. So, that gives you some great refined control over where these elements appear, you can really place them anywhere you like around your website.

The next thing is that you can do it automatically as well. So, on any page you can add a widget, so if you go to your widgets, you can add a call to action widget which is either static or dynamic. So, you drag that into your sidebar, either static or dynamic, and essentially you can just choose which call to action appears. You can choose a test, so you can choose an A/B Test to show a couple of your variations to test them out and this can appear on every single page, so wherever pages that that sidebar appears on, that call to action will then appear in that sidebar there. Now, that’s the static one, so, that means that that call to action always appears whenever that static widget is present on the website. You can also have a dynamic one, so, that means that you put a widget over in the sidebar and it says “Show whatever call to action I have defined on this page”, not the way that that works is that when you’re creating a post or a page, you get a call to action plugin block at the bottom of that page or post edit page. It’s always a bit confusing when you’re talking about pages in WordPress because they have an actual item called a page. But when you’re editing a post or a page, you have a screen basically where you can put the title, the description, the content, all that kind of stuff and there’s a block on there that now has the call to action options in them. Now, you can go then to the bottom and you can say “On this page or this post, please show this call to action”. Now, I think this is really powerful because it means that for every page or post, if you have a particular lead magnet for example, so if you have a report that is related to the content, so for example on my podcasting website, I talk about  a lot of equipment, so, let’s say the best podcasting mixers, I could put together a report saying “These are the five top mixers that you can buy and here’s the links to buy them straight away if you want. Click this button to get that report downloaded straight to your computer”, so I can actually say that “On this page, show this call to action” which is related directly to that content. So, you can have some really tight control over what calls to action appear on every single page and you can make them appear automatically via that content block at the very bottom of your page edit.

Now, I hope that all made sense, it’s kind of hard to describe exactly how it works over the audio but suffice to say that this plugin gives you a whole lot of control over where your calls to action are going to appear, what they’ll look like, making them appear automatically, dynamically when you choose them to or actually just manually entering them via the shortcode. So, I hope that gives you enough information that you can choose whether it’ll be useful to you or not, but we’ll see. If you’re not putting calls to action on your website already, if you’re not making it really clear to your user what you want them to do and letting them actually take that action when they get to the point of finishing your post or finishing listening to your podcast or whatever then I think it’s really important to think about this.

So, again, just to reiterate, you can go and have a look at this plugin at podcraft.net/cta and if you want those videos that I’ve promoted a few times already, course videos that show you how to use WordPress, how to install plugins, how to mess with widgets, all those things that I’ve been talking about for the last ten minutes then just go to podcraft.net/websitecourse and you can sign up there or access the courses directly if you’re already signed up.

Now, this one in particular does tie in to the next couple of days where we’re talking mailing lists. I’m going to talk through why you should be using mailing lists, how you can use mailing lists with your WordPress website. And this call to action plugin is going to come in really handy in getting people on to your mailing lists, so worth keeping in touch, keeping listening over the next couple of days.

So, that just leaves us to set the action for today. So, what is it we’re going to do today? What are your tasks for today’s episode? I would say, just go to your website, download the call to action plugin and create one call to action for your website. Think of one thing that you want users to do when they come to your website. What is your most wanted action that really would give you the most value from the next person that comes to visit you on your podcasting website? So, once you find a thought of that, create the call to action, put in a decent header, put in a bit of a description and a button, maybe even do a variation if you want to try an A/B Test, if you want to go that far just now but as minimal as possible just get that call to action up there and start tracking how often people are taking it. Start editing it, start changing it so that people actually take that action and you get something out of each and every listener that comes to your website. And of course, that’s just now one way because you’re going to be directing them to resources, you’re going to be directing them to reports, all that stuff that you’re going to give them as a huge value, you’re going to really help these people that are coming to your website to really create those fanatical fans that we’re looking for. So, obviously it’s a two-way process, you’re giving them as much as they’re hopefully giving to you.

That ties us up for the first episode in week 3 of Series 3. So, that’s episode three eleven. You can find the show notes for this at podcraft.net/311 and for tomorrow we’re on to mailing list. So, I’m looking forward to that, one of the most vital parts of any website. And thanks for joining me again and I’ll talk to you then!

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