Call To Actions Need To Result in Action

The call to action (CTA) is one of the hardest things to master when it comes to e-commerce. It’s relatively easy to design an attractive page, and you can write great content that gets people pumped. At the same time, it doesn’t matter how good everything else is if your CTA falls flat. If you are having a hard time getting people to buy your product, then use these tips for a better CTA.

call to actions

photo credit: hiddedevries via photopin cc

Make it Distinguishable

Your CTA needs to be distinguishable. Most websites are using CTA buttons so that users know exactly where to click to buy, sign up or do anything else that you need them to do. If you want people to perform an action, then make the CTA button easy to see.

For example, if you have a red website, then make the CTA button blue or yellow. It needs to contrast so that users know exactly what to click.

Use a Consistent Design

You also need to keep the design consistent throughout your website. If the CTA button looks different on each page, then users might get confused about what they need to click. Keeping the design consistent in terms of color and shape will improve the number of users that click the button. It will also keep users from getting confused.

Active Phrases

The CTA button needs to have an active phrase so that users know what to do. Many novice Webmasters write “Click Here,” but this can kill your click-through rate. You need to be more descriptive than this. It lets people know what to expect when they click the button, and an active phrase will persuade more people to buy from you.

For example, you can use “Download Now,” “Get Started,” “Sign Up Here” or “Show Me More.”

Multiple CTA Buttons

You might feel a little pushy if you put multiple CTA buttons on one page, but this can actually help you under certain conditions. If your Web page is long, then some users won’t want to scroll all the way down to find the CTA button. Some users want to buy now, but they don’t know how to go forward.

You should have at least one CTA button above the fold, and then another under a long page of text. This makes your CTA button more visible and accessible, and it should improve your click-through rate.

Use Every Page

Most users will skim through all of your pages before deciding to buy your product. The key to improving your sales online is to make the sales process easy for customers. If you add the CTA button to just one page, then some users may forget where it is. These users will just leave to find another seller.


Many website owners don’t know how to properly make and position their CTA, but you need to learn this quickly if you want to improve your conversion. Just use a good design that contrasts your website, make it easy to find and use active phrases. These few tips on a proper CTA should help you sell more products or services.

How do you use call to actions on your website? Please leave a comment below!

5 Touch Points of Engagement: Not in ‘Likeness’ But in Diversity

VISIBILITY: Part 2 – Engagement

Audience ‘engagement’ … what is the first image that comes to your mind? Is it communication, a connection, or a conversation? The actual definition is “The act of engaging or the state of being engaged.” where the word ‘engaged’ means, 1. Employed, occupied, or busy.  2. Committed, as to a cause.

Often our actual definition of a word is rather different than our perception of a word. Let’s call this a great likeness but with vast diversity in actual meaning. I find engagement in our marketing spheres very similar. We see that it is more of an interchange either by content, visual or another communication vehicle that not only connects another with the message and story but propels that individual to respond. This is the engagement I am referring to!

In my last SteamFeed post, I presented the first step [Part 1] in visibility which is developing your Web Presence [Web Presence and Visibility:  Duende “Having Soul”]. Step two of building visibility is to consider your engagement within your marketing sphere and how to effectively interact.

photo: <a href="">Engage Marketing Design</a>

Engagement – The 5 Touch Points:

1. Website –  Engagement on your site is creating a correspondence with your audience. Create opportunities for them by offering a two-way experience. Perhaps provide a customizing process with a product or service and allow engagement via commenting to posts or by initiating ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes’ to an idea or option. The connection with ‘likeness’ is important but contemplate drawing out the diversity in your audience. We are more unique then we are similar and while your community has similar interests that lead them to this virtual location it is really important to allow some guided self-expression in this space or better yet encourage it!

a.       Add Widgets
b.      Add Functionality for “Real Time” Engagement
c.       Games
d.      Online Product Customization

2. Social Media Networks  –  Social Media is all about engagement but often we pursue the quick fix in our connections rather than working on the long haul in building valued relationships. It is an investment in others and taking time to learn about them in all aspects of their complex lives. It is more exploratory then reactionary and if you are successful in social media you know exactly what I am referring to. The time spent behind the scenes really understanding their target audience is far greater than their time in actual conversation with them. We need to understand more about the targeted individual and the diversities which they are made up of. Focus on the criteria to help you narrow down that audience and relate with more resonance.

a.       Who is Your Audience
b.      Purpose for Engaging
c.       Tone & Perspective
d.      Offering Consistent Valuable Content

3. Mobile –  Connecting with people in ‘real time’ or while on-the-go, where you happen to be at a certain moment, is effective in your engagement marketing. Instagram and other powerful visual apps downloaded to your smartphone can share your particular activity while also adding impressionable visual data for your audience. This builds a sense of personal connection with your relationships. You can include multiple texting solutions by attaching valued quick video clips (use Android’s Movie Studio App to even apply still images with your content stream) or adding a YouTube channel link as possible solutions with your texting options. The engagement is not a list of numbers (how often and how many) but purposeful understanding of building visibility and relationships within your space while consistently and frequently providing a clear branded message surrounded by fresh content.

a.       Location based ‘check-ins’
b.      Image Sharing
c.       Audio and Video Sharing
d.      Social Media and Mobile Apps

4. Email  –  Email allows you to become even more personal in your engagement and the better you are at delivering this personal message the more desirable. Gone are the days of spam and no one ever wanted it to begin with but it was so new it was somewhat tolerated. Nothing with that hint of flavor is tolerated today. Segment your lists wisely and provide valuable and acceptable content to your recipient. Consider what might be a great follow up to a product already purchased and categorize the audience within those segments. Or discover why they have not ordered in a while by giving them an opportunity with simplistic effort to reply. Gather the info and send a follow up offer with a preferred personalized message. We are always allowing for opting in and not force sales. This can also become a great way to introduce your social networks via some very individualized and compelling email campaigns.

a.       Make it personal
b.      Segment Lists to Define Response
c.       Survey & Assess
d.      Socialize Your Email

5. Print  –  Now how did this get in here? No, it belongs here and this is why. Print is a sensory piece and we need to touch things physically to completely connect with it. Virtual is all well and good but you need a bit of the tangible to complete the circle of engagement. So be specific in your selection of print. It could be that VIP card sent after being selected as a customer hero of the month or it can be a tear card with a premium promotional offer that brings that customer into your physical retail establishment. Create stories on your print pieces and add instruction on how to download custom apps that will drive your customers further down this amazing product/service journey. Print being the conduit to their smartphones. You’re only limited by your creativity here. But keep it connected to your audience with use of color, size, shape, style and even the material it is printed on. Each one of those communicates conceptual information to the mind of your audience separately.

a.       Quick Response Codes (QR code)
b.      Invitation to Download Apps
c.       Call-To-Action Incentives (bring to store to redeem)
d.      Keep Very Sensory Oriented (fuzzy, scratch, scented, etc.)

By far this is just the tip of the iceberg in engagement and I could probably just continue to contribute posts just on this subject alone for quite some time before it became exhausted.  In effect it is a very critical one in how we market today and how people have now become accustomed to purchase.

We should be wary of this one tendency to focus on our ‘likeness’ in this engagement and I find that an obstacle in this powerful tool. Since the very nature of us is our diversities and uniqueness that make those engagements so meaningful. I would focus on building your communities with their similarities so that there are unified interests but encouraging that community to express their diversities in their response and reaction since this brings us closer to what we are truly searching for. The answers outside of ourselves, the answer that more often than not someone else can offer!

… Which then directs us to VISIBILITY: Part 3 – Search

#SMrebelsHelp – New Twitter Chat And Community Aims To Help Startups And More

I get a lot of startups, charities and individuals that reach out to me for help. Most of the help they ask is centered on questions about effective social media practices, but some also ask for help promoting something. Clearly, the later of these two requests can be extremely problematic, especially if they have not done social media relationship building FIRST. But it got me thinking…

Over the weekend I had an idea I am calling #SMRebelsHelp. The Hashtag, twitter chat, and community is designed to help promote something for others – giving back if you will. The community might help someone that is trying to win a contest, a small business trying to get nominated for something, a person getting bullied online, a venue to help promote something that is new or even a way to help a start-up launch. From businesses, books, to charities and a whole lot in between - the idea here is a giving back and social good scenario, designed to simply help others.

The new community would involve a few specific things:

1) A Hashtag for tagging your content and content of others: #SMRebelsHelp = Social Media Rebels Help, and is a variation of the #SMrebels hashtag used by the SteamFeed community.

2) Weekly Twitter Chats – Chats will be held Weekly on Monday evenings from 6pm to 7pm PDT (US Pacific Time)

3) A weekly promoted cause/business/person/etc. – Submissions will be accepted via the SteamFeed cause submission. You can also find it in the #SMRebelsHelp tab in the navigation menu.
SMRebels Help

4) A way to tag something someone needs help with in real-time. Are you being bullied? Have a new product? Announcing something new? Hashtag it #SMRebelsHelp. Individuals can decide to share it as they wish. (Spamming will not be acceptable)

After discussing the idea with the SteamFeed founders and authors, we have agreed on the following process:

1) Businesses and Individuals can make a submission to be a feature for a weeks promoted “thing”, using the form on the SteamFeed website.

2) SteamFeed authors will vote on the submissions and select the ones that will be corporately promoted via a blog post, shares, and tweet chat.

3) Selected submissions will have a post written about them by one of the SteamFeed authors and be a guest on that weeks twitter chat.

*Note - People will be able to tag other posts at anytime with the #SMRebelsHelp hashtag, allowing people in the community to see it and share the content if it is found to be interesting.

With that said, here is our first #SMRebelsHelp item.



Meet @AmyTippinsModel a transplant survivor and the founder of Rock Scar Love@RockScarLove inspires and heals lives through clothing. They help people celebrate their scars in a sexy way.

Here’s a quick video produced by Rock Scar Love:



Rock Scar Love sends a positive, inspiring, uplifting message of self-acceptance of internal and external scars that changes the “mainstream media’s” message of beauty and sexiness. Their apparel products help people accept their own scars, while helping others heal theirs. When customers buy and wear Rock Scar Love clothing products, they are not just celebrating themselves; they are sending an outward, positive message of self-acceptance and empowerment.

15% of Rock Scar Love’s gross sales are donated to transplant, children’s and cancer charities and their clothing and accessories are in multiple boutique’s with their primary sales coming from the website. They also carry products such as awareness jewelry, plasexy lipgloss, etc., purchased from other small business owners.

Help Needed:

Rock Scar Love is trying to win a $25,000 FedEx grant that will be given to one small business in the US.  The voting ends on Nov 24th. FedEx will announce the top 100 companies in December and will announce the winner in January.

You can only vote via Facebook for this FedEx grant. We need YOU to Click Here to Vote for Rock Scar Love, then share via Facebook and Twitter.

Help Result:

Winning the grant will enable Rock Scar Love to accomplish the following:

1) Expand their product line

2) Build a larger network of distributors in the retail market

Myself and Steamfeed are really excited about this new endeavor to help others. Please go vote for our first promoted business, be sure to use the #SMrebelsHelp hashtag, attend the weekly chats and share the love by helping others!

Is It Time to Declutter Our Technology Habits?

As is my routine at this time of year, I’m reflecting on everything that has transpired business-wise over the past three quarters. This ranges from reviewing our achievements versus goals, the technology that we use, the effectiveness of our processes and so on.

TechnologyThis time just as I was starting this process, Chris Brogan wrote an interesting post about the amount of literature, digital or otherwise, that we consume. He questioned whether we are getting everything we could from this knowledge because the ever increasing volumes could be diluting our learning. With that in mind, he challenged his audience to read just three books from November 2012 until the end of October 2013. I’ve chosen three books to concentrate on; you can check them out if you’re interested.

I have serious doubts over my ability to stick to this challenge; my work simply won’t permit it, but it has certainly gotten me thinking about all the clutter in our business lives — specifically, the technologies that we choose to purchase.

It dawned on me that every client that we’ve worked with this year, all bar one (that we didn’t touch on this subject with), has purchased a piece of software that they have then not gone on to use. It has varied from small to medium recurring payments for a SaaS up to substantial financial outlays.

Is the line really blurring this much between B2C and B2B, that small to medium sized businesses really are behaving like consumers rather than businesses? This trend has been emerging over the last few years but this is the first that I have seen this effect become so widespread.

My thoughts are that this is part of a wider problem. We are gathering inputs and resources from far and wide, well past what we’re actually going to use, well past what is actually necessary, and we’re failing to properly use all this information. I think it fosters a sense of confusion amongst those who need to learn the most. Too much information is overwhelming; if you don’t focus, you’ll start to stagnate under the pressure of an implied need to know more.

In life, less is almost always more, and it seems this principle is just as relevant to businesses. What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment below!

Is Your Small Business Spamming Other Business Brands on Facebook?

What – Small Business Owners Would Spam Other Business Brands??

In my role as an online community manager I see many ways of doing things on Facebook.  Occasionally I’ll see something that teaches me.  That’s a bonus – And one of the reasons I love what I do!


image: Virtual Pizza

Social Media Etiquette

More often I see concerning online behaviors.  These acts are usually made by small business owners or entrepreneurs that fit into these categories:

  • Self-marketing.
  • New to social media.
  • Not educated on social media etiquette.
  • Employing old-school techniques, expecting new media results.

Rarely do I meet a small business owner that purposely wants to engage in concerning behavior.  They usually do not know they have blurred the lines of social media etiquette, but once they are made aware, they are happy to take actions that makes other social networkers smile.

Lets look at some examples of online behavior that blur the lines of Facebook etiquette.

Otherwise known as…


1. Posting self-promotional content on another page without invitation.

Social Media is about building a relationship.  Not broadcasting, or the “hit and run.”  If you reverse the roles, how would you feel if another Page Admin came out of nowhere and posted their self-promotional content on your page?

The Reality:

The only people who see these messages are the Page Admins and anyone that might catch your post in their ticker because you are connected as friends.  Here, your audience is limited.  You are just offending the Page Admins, and they will probably delete it quickly.  So, it’s a high-energy move with little visibility, anyway.

Actionable Advice:

Visit Facebook Pages with the intention of building some friendships and relationships with hopeful collaborators.  Take part in conversation by liking and commenting on post threads.  Visit as yourself, your person, and occasionally as your brand (your page).  Be someone people want to know, like, and trust as an ambassador of your business.  Be the life of the party, prompting people to ask you questions.  Avoid the promotional message and posting your page link in the comment thread unless invited to do so.

2. Sending “Like My Page” or “Purchase My Service” direct messages to the brand on their page.

This is very similar to item #1, but in a more private mode.  The Page Admin has to actually go into the Inbox and respond or perform extra action.

Some social media leaders compare this move to trying to get to third base on a first date.  Reverse the roles again – How do you feel if someone sends “Like My Page” or “Click My Junk” messages to your Facebook Page’s inbox?

The Reality:

Again, very similar to #1, yet sometimes more annoying.

Actionable Advice:

Woah – Date a Page Admin a bit!  Take your hands off the like button, and talk to them a little bit!!  Same goes here: Create a relationship that will lead to collaboration, and you can share all the messages you want.  Provide links & promotional details when asked.  If you network well, you will be asked.

3. Posting frequently on a page only as your brand (your page).

The opportunity to interact on Facebook as your brand (your page) is a terrific feature!  It allows you to create recall of your business name.  At the same time, the purpose of engaging on social media is to create relationships.  A small business owner’s goal should be to create and instill the “know/like/trust factor.”

The Reality:

If a Page Admin sees only your brand name, they don’t know WHO to like and trust.  Further, if you are there very frequently in this mode, you could appear spammy and even out of line.  Some would take this as an attempt to “cherry-pick” fans.

Actionable Advice:

By allowing fans and Page Admins to learn about your brand, and get to know you – the ambassador of your business – your chances of creating long-lasting, productive relationships are greater.  You then actually get TWO chances to make a good impression.  People know where to find your business, and they know who should receive their questions.  Perhaps to the Facebook Page inbox – as a well-earned business lead!  :)

4. Frequent tagging of the same page or pages.

Have you posted a picture of a sale flyer, and tagged all of your favorite pages?  Have you found a really groovy photo and tagged many pages when the image or subject matter really has nothing to do with that page?


If so, you’re guilty of spamming a page with a tag!  The Page Admin sees this tag, and is probably confused at first.  A friendly sort would hop over and leave a nice comment or a like.  But if you keep doing this, it is annoying and bothersome, and even self-serving.  This will result in less people paying attention to your messages – The reverse of your ultimate goal.

Actionable Advice:

Use tags to give tribute, or recognize someone or a brand that is in an image.  It is a gesture to show honor.  From time to time it is okay to gather some good business friends together to comment on a fun image.  Every once in awhile.  Many times per week is excessive.  Once per month…maybe.  Make it a periodic celebration instead!

So, is your small business spamming other business brands on Facebook?

No Playing Games

My analogy of the social actions above: “online knock-knock split.”  The equivalent of reaching out with no one there to follow-up.

This is broadcasting – A one-way communication.  Social media is all about a two-way dialogue.  Facebook is no exception.

Hopefully the actionable advice has been helpful in identifying appropriate social media etiquette.

If you are newer to social media, do you have questions?

If you are more seasoned, did you ever unknowingly do any of what is described above?

Please share your thoughts in the comments box below! :D

Social Media Tips For Small Business Owners

We asked some of the SteamFeed authors to answer the following question: If you could give one or two pieces of advice to a small business owner who just signed up for their first social media account today, what would it be?

Here’s what they answered:


Carrie Keenan (@carrieatthill):

1. Learn a bit about the “rules and norms” of the social channel you are joining. (No hashtags or #FF on Facebook etc). Once you have an idea – jump in!

2. Take the time to grow & nurture relationships with people. Don’t use social media as a billboard, it is about the people. Find and build your community.


Mallie Hart (@themediabarista):

Begin as you hope to continue. It’s easy to go gangbusters as you’re starting out, but it can be hard to maintain the momentum. Social marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Pacing yourself is key to success, as it’s easy to get burnt out. Successful social presence and sharing requires research, reading and response. Only have time to research and read the content that will become one or two good posts per day, as well as carve out the time to respond to any questions or comments those posts might create? That’s fine, as long as you can maintain that going forward.


“Engage but don’t overdo it! Be genuine!”


Albert Qian (@albertqian):

1. Figure out what your goals are. Nothing is worse than being on social media without a goal.

2. Make time to engage with your audience. Audience is not just your customers through the door, but also those whom talk to you online! You can miss valuable opportunities by not speaking to your online audience.


Keri Jaehnig (@connectyou):

1.  Many people hop onto social media and feel like, “Okay, now, what do I do with this digital thing?”  If you boil it down, social media is just the opportunity to put “old time” business and customer service tactics back into place via modern technology.  We’re no longer just websites online.  You can put a face to your brand, and offer more personal attention than we have been used to doing for a number of years.  We can just reach more people with the power of the social platforms and the way they work.

REMEMBER: It’s not about you — It’s about them.  If you want people to react to your social media efforts, find a way to put your fans and followers in the spotlight; find a way to feature your customer.  If all of your messaging is broadcasting sales & marketing about your brand, those you are trying to attract will tune you out.

2. Resist the temptation to click those buttons and connect your Facebook and Twitter.  While you’ll think you would be saving time by posting to both at the same time, each network is different.  Facebook users don’t typically take to “Twitter-ese.”  And Twitter users don’t typically click on Facebook links in their tweet stream.  Find other ways of creating efficiency and appreciate each network for it’s unique ability to forward your brand.


David Schwartz (@brand_education):

The first thing that I would do is congratulate the small business owner on jumping into the exciting world of social media. I would encourage them to take time to learn the format, depending upon the social network, the communication can feel like learning a foreign language. Don’t get discouraged, social media success does not come over night, remember it is a marathon not a sprint.
Once they familiarize themselves with the medium, strategize a plan of attack. How do they want to use the social network?
  • Customer Service
  • Relationship Building
  • Education
  • Marketing
  • Build Awareness

Once they create a plan; set goals, track growth and activity. Analyze the results and re-set goals and adjust the strategy. Be flexible, have fun and engage with the most wonderful vehicle created for company and customer interaction.


Daniel Hebert (@danielghebert):

1. Make sure that your profile is 100 percent complete. Update your descriptions/bio, add links to your website, update your profile pictures, etc. Make sure that your audience knows exactly who you are, and what you do. This will make it a lot easier for your fans to engage with you.

2. Protect your brand identity throughout all platforms. Reserve your brand name on different social networks (even if you’re not necessarily using it). Use a tool like KnowEm to quickly check if your brand name is available on all of the popular networks.


What advice would you give to a small business owner that is just getting started in social media? Please leave a comment below!