calls to action convert blog readers into trial users

Do you sometimes question the usefulness of content?

Angrily dismiss it as just another hype that ultimately has no potential to attract users to your app?

I mean, you’ve been publishing posts for quite a while, right? You’ve tried time-tested strategies and then, dabbled with the new ones too.

And yet, apart from a spike in site visits every time you post, you haven’t seen any meaningful results from your efforts…

But here’s the catch:

I bet all this time you focused on the wrong aspect of content marketing.

Sure, publishing outstanding content is crucial. And delivering exceptional value helps position you as the authority and builds trust.

But unless you lead every visitor to sign up for your app… you can pretty much throw your strategy out through the window.

Because, you see, relying on visitors to fall in love with your product after reading a blog post AND then, making a decision to test it out is like hoping to win a Formula 1 race on a bike.

It’s technically possible…but SO highly unlikely.

Luckily, in this post, I’ll help you change that. I’ll show you 9 calls to action that convert blog readers into trial users.

Ready? Then let’s begin.

Part I. “Direct to Signup” Calls to Action

These calls to action allow you to direct a visitor straight to a place on your site where they could learn more about your product and sign up to try it.

They are simple to setup and implement and require little or no additional resources.

However, they deliver low conversions.

These calls to action target a visitor’s general curiosity, and as a result, often attract people at very early stages of the buying cycle.

Still, if you don’t have the resources to launch more advanced calls to action (more on them later), then by all means, implement at least some from this group. Given the little effort required to put them up, using these CTAs is a no-brainer.

So, without any further ado… here are the “direct to signup” calls to action you could use:

#1. “Curiosity” Navigation Link

Imagine someone landing on your blog for the first time. They’ve never heard about your product before. They can’t even recall ever hearing your name. But they loved your advice.

And so, the chances are that they MIGHT be eager to find out who you are.

One way to help them do it is by displaying a curiosity-arousing link in the navigation.

Here, let me show you how a couple of companies do it:

CoSchedule stripped the main navigation and replaced it with a simple question-based link.


Kissmetrics left the entire navigation but still targets new visitors with a question-based button, designed to stand out.



And if you’re wondering why these companies use question-based links… The reason is actually quite simple. And rooted in our psychology.

You see:

We’re naturally wired to notice questions.

No matter how focused you might be on a particular task, the moment your brain realizes that someone asks you a question, it starts paying attention.

And so, by formatting the navigation link as a question, you can increase the chances for a visitor actually spotting it.

Now, whether they’ll act on it is another matter. But at least you can be sure that they’ll notice it.

#2. Hello Bar

Hello Bars are small notifications you can place at the top of the browser’s window to communicate offers, incentives, and direct visitors to specific sections of the site.

Most sites use Hello Bars to let their visitors know about new content, suggest a resource, advertise a lead magnet or tell them about your sales offer.



However, you could use them to point users to a signup page.

Why Hello Bars work?

With the ability to customize their colors and appearance, you can make a Hello Bar to truly stand out on a page. Plus, positioning it at the very top of the browser’s window means that most users simply won’t miss it.

#3. Floating Sidebar Banner

If you don’t want to customize the blog’s menu or display any additional elements, then another option is to use a sidebar banner.

Many successful SaaS companies use sidebar banners to attract clicks to their signup pages.

AgencyAnalytics, one of our clients, use a floating banner that remains visible as a visitor scrolls down the page.


AdEspresso, another company I write for, displays a scrolling banner to push more visitors to sign up for their trial.


Beacon, another of our clients, use a simple banner suggesting their users discover more about the product.


Finally, Snappa, an online design tool, uses the floating banner not only to promote their app but also, show its abilities (given the beautiful design of the banner).


Why a scrolling banner?

As my friend and fantastic copywriter, Alex Lee, points in his analysis of how Basecamp uses floating banners:

Well, when there’s a form always waiting on the left, visitors don’t have to scroll up and down looking for it.

Genius, right?

#4. Signup Popup

Popups cause a bit of a stir among the marketing community, don’t they?

Some marketers believe they’re nothing but pure evil, disrupting a visitor’s journey. Others praise their effectiveness in converting visitors.

But leaving that discussion aside, popups offer you the opportunity to display a link to your signup page, along with an explanation why a person should give your app a try.

And what’s important, given their format, you can be sure that a person will notice the popup.

Competeshark uses a popup that directs users to their home page:


#5. Under the Post Banner

Finally, instead of using a sidebar banner, you could display a similar ad underneath a blog post.

This call to action aims to offer people who read the entire content, and most likely liked it, more information about your product (and ideally, an incentive for them to try it).

Part II. Lead to Signup Calls to Action

The second type of Calls to Action relies on signing up a visitor to an email list, and then, nurturing them until they’re ready to try your app.

These calls to action require the development of an in-depth strategy including writing a lead magnet or another offer to entice someone to sign up. And then, developing a lead nurturing drip campaign to get them hyped up about your product.

At the same time, these calls to action convert at a high rate, making them a perfect long-term user base growing strategy. For example, content upgrades often achieve 20% conversion rate. eBooks and courses typically convert at 3% – 4%.

And here are the most effective “lead to signup” calls to action for SaaS companies:

#6. Sidebar Signup Form

This call to action is a variation of the floating sidebar banner we’ve already discussed. However, instead of just advertising your app, it includes a form allowing a person to sign up for a lead magnet.

For example:

Our client, Wisepops, use this call to action to promote their 6-day marketing automation course.

6a, on the other hand, displays a form offering an option to sign up for blog updates.


#7. Exit Popup

The idea behind an exit popup is simple:

To entice anyone leaving the site with a compelling offer or information to sign them up for your list.

And, it works. According to Wisepops, a popup software, exit popups convert at around 4%.

You can use an exit popup in a couple of ways to convert visitors into leads:

Get them to sign up for your blog’s updates (that’s what we’re doing, for example. And our exit popup currently converts at just below 7%).



Offer a lead magnet:


Finally, you can test the effect of positioning the exit popup in different areas of the screen. Most exit popups applications allow you to choose where your popup will display and when giving you an enormous opportunity to find the best option for your audience.


#8. Under the Post Form

This call to action targets people who have read your content loved it, and might be looking for more information on the topic.

Displaying a relevant lead magnet or another offer visitors could grab by providing some basic personal information (typically name and email).

AdEspresso uses this strategy successfully, offering sign up forms for their eBooks under each post:


Baremetrics, a company with one of the best SaaS blogs out there, offers a direct signup for their newsletter:


#9. Inline Content Upgrade

Finally, you can also scatter signup elements within the actual content of a blog post.

The most common way to do it is by displaying a content upgrade signup box or direct link.

Kickofflabs, for example, uses a text link at the bottom of a post.


Quicksprout takes a different approach, placing a full-blown signup box within the copy to make the link more prominent.