The Circle of Life Advertising

The purpose of advertising is to motivate your audience to do something — specifically, to engage with your company and ultimately purchase your company’s products or services.  When this happens, your company will earn revenue, which will then trickle down into your paycheck, thus completing the Circle of Advertising. But that circle begins when your audience responds to your call-to-action (CTA).


Your CTA is an often-overlooked imperative because it means that you need to think like a salesperson. The CTA is the digital marketing equivalent of “going for the close.” You’ve engaged your audience, presented your content, explained your unique selling proposition, (USP), and now you have to get your audience to do something for you. They just have to press that colored button …

According to Evans Data Corporation, some of the most clickable content for developers includes:

  • New development tools
  • Online training or resources
  • Emerging technologies
  • Contests
  • White papers

No CTA is an Island

At its essence, the CTA is the motivating factor which activates the portal between your audience and your company. It opens communications, establishes dialogue, and creates a pathway for commerce. It’s NOT just the two to three words on the activation button itself, or the color of the button. Instead, it’s the motivating content on the page supporting the two to three words on the button.

Together, they create the imperative that makes the audience decide that they cannot live without pushing that button RIGHT NOW!  The important point here is that your content is a big part of the call to action. It enables activation, and it can take many forms, from a blog post to an embedded video — even an advertisement! This means it needs to be compelling, accurate, appealing, and functional.

The Right Words? Not Rocket Science, But…

A lot has been written about the specific words on the activation button — defining them as the CTA. Let’s face it, there are only so many ways to say, “Press Here Please,” so, as stated above, the CTA has to include the page content.

Following are some common activation button scripts. Virtually any one of these can be enhanced with “Now,” “For Free,” or the ubiquitous exclamation point to convey the urgency behind the request! Button color, contrast, placement, size and shape can influence click-through rates, but they are not the most critical aspect of audience activation.

Rather, the CTA should accurately advertise the page content the developer will be receiving when they click.

Top examples include:

  • Learn More
  • Install Now
  • Free Trial
  • Watch Demo
  • Get Started
  • Download Now
  • Read Now
  • Register

Activating Developers with Your CTA

What motivates a developer audience to take action? Here are some tips from the Marketing to Developers Field Guide, and from the D2D Advertising Guide from DeveloperMedia:

  • Promote the benefits of your products. Be truthful.
  • Make the call to action clear and concise, and make sure that the landing page that follows is simple and easy to understand.

You have limited real estate on the page, so make the best use of it with powerful words in a context that will generate enthusiasm. Check out the 2020 Developer Marketing Survey by Evans Data Corporation to find the advertising words that appeal most to developers.

  • Get straight to the value proposition.
  • Design your ad professionally using someone who understands marketing to developers.

Make Sure Everything Works

Once developers respond to a CTA, everything needs to work!  Make sure your ad and your call to action are responsive and that they render correctly on laptops, PCs and mobile devices. Additionally, make sure they are platform-appropriate and that they render contextually on whatever platform they are being presented. Ideally, your CTA appears in a D2D community, so context is professional and appropriate.

“You Don’t Sell the Steak; You Sell the Sizzle”

In general, think like a salesperson when designing your call to action. If you know your developer audience well, imagine what would motivate them to take action, and use those words. You can always develop several variations on the same call to action and undertake some A/B testing to see what resonates most with your audience and gets you the best results. Your call to action is a critical component of your advertising message, so make sure it compliments and completes what you are trying to tell your audience.


8 Characteristics of High-Converting CTA Buttons

Marketing to Developers Field Guide by DeveloperMedia

D2D Advertising Guide by DeveloperMedia

Developer Marketing Best Practices: Make Your Landing Page Developer-Worthy

D2D Community Advertising Principles


Evans Data Corporation Evans Data Corporation | Homepage

Evans Data Corporation 2020 Developer Marketing Survey