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SMART IDEAS #5: CTAs to drive staffing sales

Weekly inspiration for the staffing industry

ISSUE #5  |  November 11, 2023

New this Week:

• The art of the CTA

• Got feedback?

• Level Up your staffings sales

SMART IDEA #5: The Art of the CTA

I have a confession.

I love CTAs.

What is a CTA?

CTA stands for Call to Action. Simply put, it's the words you use to drive response.

Last week, I wrote to you about promotions and the power of special offers. The CTA is the trigger mechanism that gets people to act on your offer.

These are the words. Links. Buttons. And graphics you use to convey your offer.

Did you miss last week's issue?

Shame on you! 😉 But you can read it here: Smart Ideas #4: Using Promos to Sell Faster.

Unfortunately, in staffing, most CTAs (and offers) stink…if they exist at all.

Two kinds of offers: MQL and SQL*

Okay, I owe you an apology. I'm 112 words into this tip, and I've already used three marketing-speak acronyms. I'll stop after this, I promise!

MQL = Marketing Qualified Lead. These are when you offer things that aren't directly tied to a sale, like a free salary guide, a webinar, an eBook, or a checklist.

With MQLs, you're offering something of value as a conversation starter. Or as a way to initiate a relationship that will hopefully lead to a job order or job application.

SQL = Sales Qualified Lead. These are when you offer something directly related to your services, like skill marketing talent, promoting a job opening, or offering a hiring consultation.

In an ideal world, your CTAs would be 100% SQL-focused.

But the practical reality is that it's far easier to get people to respond to MQL offers—so a good marketer will create MQL offers to pull people into the sales funnel, and then incorporate SQL offers as they build trust and deepen relationships.

Now, let's get back to CTAs

Once you have your offers, then it's time to write compelling calls to action.

The key to an effective CTA is a combination of desirability + scarcity.

Desirability = Your offer has relevancy, utility, and immediate value.

Scarcity = limited time or quantity (a reason to act now!).

CTA examples:

Offer: salary guide

Good CTA: Free Salary Guide!

Better CTA: Free 2024 Salary Guide…for the first 50 people to reply!

Offer: top candidate's resume

Good CTA: Want to know more about this candidate? Request a Resume!

Better CTA: Click here to see the full resume of this candidate!

Offer: Speak with a recruiter

Good CTA: Need help hiring? Speak with an ABC Staffing Recruiter Today!

Better CTA: Jobs taking too long to fill? Get a 1-hour no-cost/no-obligation consultation with an ABC Recruiter. See how you can cut your time to hire by 50% or more!

That last one might be a bit long, but with SQL CTAs, you want to create a sense of urgency…and reduce risk for the buyer (in this case, the risk of being sold to by the recruiter).

How to convey CTAs

Plain text. CTAs can be written into the copy of your emails, website, sales letters, social posts, etc. When writing CTAs in the body of your copy, it's best to put the CTA on a line of its own (so it stands out).

Button. The most common CTA on the web and in email is a graphical button with the action step of the CTA written on the button.  

Sadly, the buttons on most forms and CTAs have words like "Submit." Who wants to submit? 

To increase response, put the action on the button:

[Download Your Salary Guide]

[See the Full Resume Now]

[Talk with a Recruiter]

Sidebar or banner graphic. Your CTA is essentially a small advertisement with your offer, call to action, and possibly a related image to capture attention.

Banner ads work best when they disrupt reading and stand out from the rest of the content. However, on most websites, they tend to blend into the background…and seldom get clicked.

What works best?

A combination of all of the above.

Different people consume content in different ways. Whether your offer is on your website, in an email, or on social media, it's best to convey the same offer using different formats.

You never know what will be the most effective way to capture each person's attention.

To drive more staffing sales, create more offers…and incorporate more (and better) CTAs!

*Want more ideas for creating promos and IRRESISTIBLE OFFERS?

Download our Marketing Best Practices Guide.

We outline more than 70 offer ideas (but warning—some are a bit off the wall!)


What do you think of the new format? Like it? Hate it? Either way, we’d love to hear. Just click reply and tell us your thoughts.

Have a topic (or challenge) you want us to address? Tell us that too! We’d be happy to provide specific tips for you in future issues of our SMART IDEAS Weekly


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Haley Marketing | PO Box 410 | Williamsville, NY 14231-0410 | 716-631-8981

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