Ethan Denney

CTA Marketing 2.0: How to Compel Your Visitors to Take Action with Targeted CTAs

Ever noticed that some websites seem to just compel you to take action? No matter what you do, you can’t help but subscribe, sign up, or do whatever the next step is.

This is what happens when CTA marketing is done right.

But pro marketers know there’s way more to a call-to-action than just text on a button. To be truly compelling, you need a targeted approach that puts the right offer in front of the right person at the right time.

In other words:

You need CTA marketing 2.0.

And this post shows you exactly how it’s done. We cover what call-to-action marketing is, why it’s so effective, and how you can get started with it right now to begin converting more of your website visitors.

SEE MORE: Targeted Messages: How to Convert More Visitors By Being Less Boring

What is CTA marketing?

CTA marketing is the process of using targeted calls-to-action on your website in order to meet visitors where they are, and guide them to take the next step. More than just having a generic “Sign Up” button for every visitor, it’s about understanding their buyer needs and where they are in your funnel so you can put a relevant, compelling offer in front of them.

So why should you care?

Simply put:

Almost every marketing activity (from writing SEO content to setting up paid traffic campaigns) takes a lot of work to move the needle and get your business results. Sending this traffic to a website with sub-optimal CTAs is like putting water into a bucket with holes in.

If you want to start seeing results now…

Launching the right CTA targeted at the right visitors on your website is the fastest way to boost your conversion rates today.

It takes just minutes to set up and drives results with your existing traffic.

How do you do it? Let’s start by getting the CTA basics right.

Crafting a strong call-to-action

Before you even think about the targeting side of your CTA marketing, we need to consider what’s behind a strong call-to-action in general.

There’s simply no point in fancy targeting if the CTA itself just isn’t compelling.

Here’s what you need to think about:

  1. The offer. Every call-to-action is offering something you have in exchange for something the visitor has—money, an email, time, etc. You need to think about the value proposition of each CTA offer, and whether it’s something that person genuinely wants or needs.
  2. Funnel stage. What you offer to someone can (and should) vary depending on what stage of the funnel they’re at. First time blog post readers, engaged email subscribers, and loyal customers are all going to respond differently to different calls-to-action.
  3. The messaging. It’s not just what the offer is, it’s how you communicate its value to the person considering it. Clear conversion copywriting that focuses on value and benefits, as opposed to listing out features, is critical.
  4. Capturing attention. Even if your website has perfect message/customer fit, most visitors arrive in a “browsing trance” without any intention of taking action. Movement, quality headlines, and showing the right message at the right time is key to breaking this pattern.

We could go into much (much) more detail on each of these conversion marketing points. But for now, just keep the list above in mind at all times throughout your CTA marketing activities.

What does targeted 
CTA marketing look like?

Well, it’s definitely not boring forms or annoying popups that show the same message to everyone, and turn people away from your website and brand.

Targeted CTA marketing diagram

We’re finally past these days, and with tools like ConvertFlow, there are better ways to convert people on your website.

A targeted CTA is a call-to-action that's engaging, relevant, compelling, personalized and guides visitors to take the next step.

Like this from the team at call-to-action example

To give you a few more examples, a targeted CTA might also be an on-site message that:

  1. Segments visitors on a homepage; and
  2. drives them to the right content based on their interest.

Take a look at how does exactly this:

Examine CTA marketing example

Alternatively, it might be an exit intent popup on your product page offering abandoning visitors a special discount:

Exit-intent popup example

A targeted CTA could also be an embedded form in your blog post that offers a relevant, gated piece of content (typically called a content upgrade nowadays):

Embedded form CTA in blog post

As you can see, targeted CTAs come in all shapes and sizes.

So what would work for your business?

If you’re wondering what opportunities exist on your website right now to launch a targeted CTA that could start converting more of your visitors into leads and customers… keep reading, because we’ve got you covered.

Ways to target your CTAs

There are multiple different ways you can target your CTAs to different visitors. Sometimes it makes sense to only use one at a time, but some websites and businesses might benefit from a mixed approach.

1. Target and convert by visitor segment

Let’s face it, every person coming to your website is different. You might have new visitors, returning customers, different buyer personas, potential partners, or even journalists wanting to do some media coverage.

So why would your website stay the same for every visitor?

Just imagine if you could show CTAs to people based on:

  • Who they are
  • What they’re interested in
  • The content they’re consuming
  • The data you’ve gathered about them

How much more effective do you think your calls-to-action would be if you could personalize each one for these different segments?

Example of showing CTAs to different segment types

This means you could target:

  • New website visitors coming from a specific site with a CTA guiding them to the right page
  • Returning website visitors that you've already segmented by industry or interest with the right offer
  • Existing leads in a marketing campaign with a CTA to talk with a sales rep
  • Existing customers with an upsell CTA to grow their account value

If you’re already thinking about how you can move potential customers through each step of your funnel, then you can surely recognize the opportunities targeting CTAs toward each visitor type provides for boosting results.

Story: How Grew Conversions From 0.7% to Over 4% with 1 Million Monthly Visitors

2. Target and convert by visitor intent

Targeting people on your website by intent and behavior is also known as on-site retargeting.

Intent targeting is one of the most effective ways to engage visitors with a relevant CTA because it takes into account a few factors:

  • Who they are
  • The content of the page a visitor is on
  • Where are they coming from
  • What intent is indicated by their behavior on your website

For example:

If a person has read a significant portion of your blog post and they’re not already an email subscriber, then you could engage them with a relevant content upgrade/premium content to give them an opportunity to become a subscriber.

Content upgrade on-site retargeting CTA

But, if an existing lead is checking out a specific case study page on your site, you could show them some content on what they can expect when working with you. Then give them a way to take the next step.

Like Savvy Apps is doing here:

Savvy Apps CTA example

For SaaS companies, the pricing page is likely one of the highest buying-intent pages on the entire site.

So, if a potential customer is on your pricing page for more than a few seconds and hasn’t taken action, then engage them with a call-to-action to chat with your team:

Live chat CTA on SaaS pricing page

This way, you can answer their questions, and help them get started.

3. Target and convert by funnel stage

Beyond intent targeting, you can also target people on your website based on what stage of your CTA marketing funnel they’re in.

With ConvertFlow, it’s easy for you to identify anonymous visitors as contacts by connecting your email marketing tools. You can then target the right people, with the right calls-to-action, using email subscriber data.

This means you can engage, guide and convert people at every stage of your marketing funnel with the right CTAs:

Funnel stage to CTA map

So, if visitors are already email subscribers, you no longer have to show the same newsletter subscribe form when they come back to your website. Instead, you can replace it with a CTA to promote the next step in your funnel.

That could be to watch a video, register for a webinar, learn more about a product, schedule a consultation, or whatever the next action is that you want your visitors to take.

Think of this the same way your email marketing campaigns nurture and help your leads move down your funnel. Except now, you can greet your visitors with targeted CTAs on your website that do the same, and guide leads to becoming paying customers.

Here are a few ways you could use different CTAs at each stage of your funnel:

  • To engage and educating leads about your products
  • To guide returning leads to content and offers, and converting them into customers
  • To upsell existing customers and driving repeat purchase

As visitors move through your funnel, and you nurture them, you can also personalize what videos, content, and widgets they see on your website and in your CTAs.

This could mean anything from Wistia videos, to Shopify embeddable buy buttons for your products, to embedding your Calendly calender for scheduling more meetings, and much more.


If you've got leads and customers segmented in your CRM, you can target individual ConvertFlow CTAs based on these segments on the launch screen:

CTA launch screen customer segmnent example in ConvertFlow

Learn more about targeting conditions with this help guide

Let’s take a look at a few examples of how marketers are doing this in real-life. has both a free and paid membership program. If you're subscribed to their email list and return to their website, you'll see a CTA pushing you towards the free membership: free plan CTA

Then, once you're on the free plan, they'll promote the paid version to all its members: paid plan CTA

At ConvertFlow, we promote our free plan to new visitors, then a trial of our paid Pro Plan to visitors already on our free plan:

ConvertFlow free to paid plan CTAs

Note: this was correct at the time we published this post. We may test or change strategies on the real-time site. promotes different offers to new visitors and existing subscribers via embedded forms in its blog posts:

SeanWes embedded forms CTAs

Want to start converting visitors in your funnel based on their email subscriber data? Create a free ConvertFlow account and launch your first CTA today.

4. Target and convert by specific campaign

Targeted CTAs are not only used for engaging visitors with the right call-to-action based on their intent or where they are in your funnel.

They can be used to engage people on your site with relevant campaigns based on their behavior and interests:

JJ Virgin campaign targeting CTA

When your marketing team develops new campaigns, products, and promotions, think about increasing the effectiveness of your campaign by engaging the right website visitors with the right CTAs.


You can roll out CTAs based on seasonal campaigns—like Black Friday, the Holidays, or another regular campaign you run. This means all the CTAs on your website can be focused towards this campaign.

You can even try personalizing the individual CTAs to have different kinds of offers for different subscribers and customers 😎

This unlocks the full potential of your website as a powerful marketing channel for your business—because now you can utilize interest and behavioral targeting beyond email and ads to get your message in front of the right people.


Broadcasts in ConvertFlow is a great way to organize campaign-specific CTAs like this. This allows you to launch multiple CTAs together that achieve the same goal, as well as help you schedule campaigns that take priority on your website:

Create a broadcast in ConvertFlow

Learn more about Broadcasts with this help guide

Final thoughts

As you can see, CTA marketing is the fastest way you can double or triple your conversion rates and generate more leads for products or services.

Other marketing activities (like creating keyword optimized content for search engines or launching advertising campaigns) require you to invest a significant amount of time or money to get decent results. But, CTA marketing is one of the highest-ROI customer acquisition activities because you’re taking advantage of the opportunities already available to you with potential customers on your website!

So, make sure to use the advice in this post to help you get started. And start churning out more conversions from your current website traffic right now.

About the author
Ethan Denney
Co-Founder & CEO, ConvertFlow
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Ethan is the Co-Founder & CEO of ConvertFlow. He loves reading about and sharing anything that helps marketers convert more website visitors.