Your hotel blog is shaping up nicely.
It’s loaded with stunning photos and useful articles that help establish your brand as an expert on the neighbourhood. Plus, you have no shortage of great content ideas.
Now the website is finally starting to get some decent organic traffic and all those well-crafted posts are giving you ample fuel for your social media campaigns.
And yet, you’re still not seeing the kind of payoff you were hoping for.
Sure, the blog is great for building awareness. But your sky-high bounce rate tells you that even though folks may be loving your content, they’re not sticking around your website.
So you start to wonder — what am I really getting out of all this blogging?
If you find yourself in this situation, despite following a solid content strategy, you just might have a call to action (CTA) problem.
But don’t worry: it’s a relatively easy fix.
Go ahead, tell them what to do next
I’ve written copy for more hotel websites than I can remember. And one of the biggest problems I see with hotel blog posts is that they don’t include any type of a call to action.
That means when someone reads (or skims) your delicious content, they get to the end and think: “OK, now what do I do?”
But that thought doesn’t linger in their head for very long. Because within a second they’ve hit the back button.
And may never return to your site.
Now you’ve just missed out on a chance to gain a newsletter subscriber, a new Twitter follower or to drive extra traffic deeper into your website.
And all you had to do was ask by including a button, graphic, opt-in box or line of text that says something like…
Check out our attractions page to discover more top-rated restaurants in Manhattan.
Sign up for our newsletter to get more tips on exploring London.
Follow us on Twitter for more quirky facts about Barcelona.
But don’t stop at just one call to action.
Sprinkle them throughout your blog post — in your sidebar and within the text itself — to engage different types of readers. Some people will want to follow you on social media while others may want to click deeper into your website or sign up for your newsletter.
Just make sure that your calls to action feel “right” for the audience.
It really comes down to understanding what your readers are thinking when they arrive on your blog post.
Get inside your reader’s head
Consider where people are in the travel-planning process when they arrive on one of your blog articles.
What keywords were they likely to have typed into Google?
What motivated them to click on your blog article in the first place?
When you understand that, you can join the conversation that’s going on inside their head. Then you can invite them to take another step with a call to action that feels natural to the reader — not pushy or salesy.
Plenty of hotels go for the hard sell in the calls to action at the end of their blog posts — no matter what the article is about.
I once saw a post with a headline that read: The Top 5 Reasons To Hold Your Wedding in Boston. (I changed the city name because I don’t want to “out” the offending hotel).
It was a well-done piece overall. But it ended with a bolded CTA that jumped out of nowhere:
And when you get married in Boston, make sure you stay at the Boston Superior Inn. Contact us now to get a reduced rate for wedding parties.
Really? So soon?
If someone is researching whether to get married in Boston, odds are they’re not even sure what city they want to get hitched in yet. The wedding date might be a year away still, so there’s a very low chance of them ever contacting a hotel about their rates at that stage of the planning process.
So why put so much emphasis on getting the booking?
Instead, close with a CTA that has an engagement-focused goal rather than going for the ultimate conversion.
For example, you might ask the reader to sign up for your newsletter to get access to exclusive group rates as soon as they’re available. Here’s how the folks over at Tablet do it:
Or ask them to simply have a look at your hotel’s ‘wedding’ page to get more ideas.
Focusing a call to action on driving people to related content can move them deeper into your website, helping them form a stronger connection with your brand. Here’s an example from a Best Western blog post about staying in shape while travelling:
Pick a CTA that will motivate your readers
If you’re stumped on what your top calls to action should be, think about why the reader clicked on the article in the first place. What type of information were they looking for?
Google Analytics data and surveys like Qualaroo can help you get to the bottom of this. Once you know why they arrived, you can give them a CTA that matches what they’re looking for while also helping achieve specific online marketing goals.
You might consider asking your readers to…
- Leave a comment about the article
- Share the post on social media
- Sign up for your newsletter
- Click through to a related page on your website
- Send an e-mail with a question they have
- Vote on a poll or take a survey
Now, we haven’t even gotten into how to actually craft a strong call to action for your blog post. That’s an entire article in itself. But here are 3 quick tips to get you started:
- Don’t hold back: tell the reader exactly what they should do next. Be clear and be very specific.
- Ensure they understand what benefits they’ll get out of taking the next step. Will they receive more travel tips? Access to special deals? A free city guide?
- Make your CTA tough to miss. Use bold text, graphics or a subhead to snatch readers’ attention.
But most of all, make sure that the call to action is relevant to what the blog post is about. Readers should want to take the action you’re suggesting.
Otherwise, your CTA could come across as just more marketing white noise — rather than a helpful suggestion from a trusted local expert.