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5 Unusual Tricks to Improve Your CTRs


This is a guest post by Sam Warren – the Director of Marketing at Rank Pay.

Let’s be frank, building traffic is often brutal enough on its own. Search engine optimization (SEO) is time-consuming, intimidating, and expensive all by itself. But let’s say that you already have that part down pat. Because if you don’t, that’s where your efforts should go first and foremost. Here’s why.

Anyways, let’s say your an expert and your hard work is already paying off! You’re showing up at the top of the SERPs on a handful of high-value keywords. Once you’re done celebrating, you take a look at your Google Search Console only to find your clicks haven’t changed one bit! “I’m ranking really well on all of my target keywords… so where the hell are the clicks?”

Where the hell are they indeed.

To be fair, there could be a number of culprits. Maybe you’ve misunderstood searcher intent, or maybe you’ve forgotten to write a compelling title and meta description. Maybe you’re outgunned by some killer ads. Regardless of the reason, the answer is clear. You’ve got to get to work on your click-through rates.

Why Click-Through-Rates Matter

If the above didn’t make it immediately clear, CTR improvements can make a huge difference when it comes to leveraging that hard-earned SERP real estate. A side benefit is that it’ll help you build good habits. Particularly, you’ll be laser-focused on writing good copy and creating a good user experienceThese habits will hopefully start to show benefits across the board, including website design, content writing, and more. So, even though it’s pretty straight-forward, it bears repeating… without spending time on improving your click-through-rates, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to get more clicks. But it’s all well and good to know you need to do something. The next step is to take action.

I’m going to assume you know the basics, so let’s cover some unusual methods you might not have tried yet.

Get Weird with Your A/B Testing

When you’re setting up your next A/B test, take a moment to consider how creative your test is going to be. Are you just swapping one word in a CTA? Or changing its color? Don’t get me wrong, those can be effective tests to run, and you absolutely should be doing that. But I’d challenge you to ask yourself “how creative can I be here without going off the deep end?” And remember, while you may be used to doing “split-testing”, you don’t actually have to split the audience down the middle. If you want to try something bold but are too nervous it might have a negative impact, only show it to 10% of users to get a quick feel for the reaction.

The trick when it comes to doing this is to keep a close eye on the results as they come in. Oh, and it goes without saying, but do make sure that your tracking methodology is fool-proof. Whether you’re using an internal system, or a 3rd-party tool like Optimizely, double-check that your data collection is up to snuff. Otherwise, your efforts will be wasted!

Leverage Symbols and Emojis

I can hear your complaints already. My response?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So maybe you hate emojis. Maybe I do too. But as marketers, we need to let the data do the talking. Check out this experiment that LeadsBridge ran. No joke, they found that they could improve their Facebook ad engagement by 2000% with emojis. Yeah, that’s a ludicrous number.  And to be fair, their test was quite limited in scope. But it’s still pretty impressive and provides compelling insights into the powerful sway emojis can have over the average internet user.

So unless you’re trying to grow traffic for industrial steel manufacturing (or insert any boring business here), it might be worth a shot! You can definitely at least give it a try without shooting yourself in the foot. Truthfully, the internet is over-saturated with ads, brand exposures, and companies trying to earn your business. Standing out is an admittedly tall-order.  If you follow conventional wisdom, you could be fighting a losing battle. Think creatively, and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Nobody ever got a 500lb deadlift from doing what felt comfortable right?

Try layering in symbols and emojis, and see what happens. For instance, I could change the display title of this article to something like “??on SEO? Improve your CTR and Start Making ?”. It’s kinda lame. And being honest, that example is honestly pretty bad. Hopefully, you can do a better job than I did.

Take Advantage of The “Psychology of Persuasion”

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. I could write entire articles about the psychology of persuasion. But let’s be honest, I can’t write guides as well Kissmetrics, and they’ve already put together an expansive guide on the subject that you can read here.

But let’s laser focus in on a few tactics for this article today. In particular, I want you to start thinking about how you can use imagery to guide and influence users to “click.” Sometimes it’ll be about showcasing customers that “look like” your target audience. That’ll give leads someone to identify with. Other times, you might want to use celebrity endorsements, building immediate authority and trust with featured photos of notable celebrities and their satisfaction with the product or service you’re selling. All of these methods can be used to great effect to improve your CTRs. So don’t be shy.

Personalize Your CTAs

Ever notice how some sites have “Do X For Me” type page elements on their CTAs? While it may not lead to a material improvement in every situation, it’s definitely worth trying out if you haven’t already. In fact, we found that when we tested this on our own site, that we could improve click-through-rates on our main CTA by over 9% by simply changing “See Pricing” to “Show Me Pricing.” So simple it hurts! There’s something about being bossy that gets customers revved up I guess.  Either way, I’d definitely encourage you to have a look at your own CTAs and ads.

Are there any ways that you can think of try incorporating something similar?

Get Emotional

We’re often taught to subdue our emotions when it comes to business. Sound advice. But tapping into a lead’s emotions can be a great way to improve your click-through-rates. After all, clickbait is legitimately a word in the Merriam-Webster dictionaryNow, depending on what market you’re in, and how much dignity you want to have at the end of the day, clickbait may not be the way to go. But you can still tap into emotions in a variety of ways that don’t involve you needing to drag your reputation through the mud. 

Start by trying to write your headlines from the perspective of a “character” with a very clearly defined role. Think, hero, villain, comedian, etc. For instance, take the following boring headline… “Best Keyword Research Tips”. Let’s try to reimagine them from the characters we mentioned above.

  • “Confound the Competition with Keyword Kung-Fu”
  • “Saving Your Brand, One Keyword at a Time”
  • “Yes… ‘Poodle Bear’ Is a Keyword You Might Want to Rank For”

I know, I got a little carried away. And those of you that are SEO geeks will realize that I’ve failed to include a decent long-tail keyword in these examples. But I hope they prove a point regardless. Those headlines are meant to elicit an emotional response from viewers. That can in-turn dramatically improve your click-through-rates.

Anything Else?

Well, yes of course! But there’s only so much time in a day, and I’m only going to write so many words in this article. Plus, hopefully, the above suggestions and tactics have enough creativity baked into them that they’ll keep you busy for at least a few weeks trying them all out. Just remember, experiment, experiment, and then experiment some more. Document your findings, and double-down where your efforts have the most impact. Easy!