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Kick-A$$ Call to Actions

A Straightforward Guide to Successful Online Conversions

Call to Action CartoonYou spent a ridiculous amount of time designing your website.  You have an amazing website design that perfectly highlights your services and…no one is taking advantage of it.

Why?  Your call to action is ineffective, non-existent or just plain stinks.  How are you supposed to understand your conversion metrics if your site fails to convert anyone from visitors to prospective customers to customers to repeat customers?

Think of all those leads you are letting slip through the cracks – just because one simple, yet crucial, element is missing from your design.

When a Call to Action Drops the Ball

CTAs can miss the mark for a variety of reasons.  Let’s take a look at the two most common reasons:

The CTA that is MIA

The most obvious CTA fail is being non-existent.  If the call to action is missing entirely, it will be pretty hard to get anyone to do anything.

One of the most common reasons a call to action is left off a site is simple ignorance.  People think only ecommerce sites need a CTA.  That is just not true.

Every website should have a purpose and there should always be something you want visitors to accomplish while they are there.  At the very least, include a call to action so you can better measure your conversion stats.

The CTA that is Ineffective

The other reason a call to action will miss the mark is if isn’t effective.  Your site might have a call to action, but it’s just sitting there…taking up space.  If you don’t put adequate attention into the creation of a CTA it might as well be MIA.  If the design is lousy, it won’t do anything anyways.

Steps to a Successful Call to Action

A call to action is too important to be designed without any thought.  So, let’s put some thought into yours.

1. Determine the Action

What is it you want visitors to do?  The type of site you have, the subject matter, and the desired action all need to be considered.  Then, you can choose the call to action button that is most appropriate.  Some of the most common call to actions are:

  • Purchase something (Add to Cart, Add to Bag, or Buy Now)
  • Download something
  • Agree to a trial
  • Learn more about a topic/product/service
  • Sign up

2. Prioritize

Studies show that the more options a consumer has, the less likely they are to make a purchase.  Keep that in mind when you are choosing your call to actions.

If you have too many CTAs on one page, visitors will probably feel overwhelmed.  In an attempt to make things less stressful, they will simply do nothing.  By limiting the amount of choices, you are limiting the amount of mental effort.

If you must include more than one call to action, prioritize which is most important.  Do you want the Facebook like or the email subscription?

When you decide which is most important to you, share that preference with your visitors.  Make one of the CTAs stand out.  You can do that by varying the color and/or size of the buttons.  Make the less important action seem less prominent.

3. Choose Your Size and Space

You don’t want your CTA to be too large; it will over shadow everything else on the page.  However, you don’t want it so small that it blends into everything around it.

In a perfect word, your primary call to action would be the largest button on the page.  The size, however, must stay in proportion to everything else.

Whether you go large or small, make sure there is enough negative space around your button.  Make your CTA stand out.  Don’t let it get lost in the clutter of everything else that is happening.

4. Pick Your Color

If you have a smaller button, you’ll need a bright, contrasting color to set it apart from the rest of the design.  Make the button stand out, but don’t let it clash.

If you have a larger button, color contrast isn’t as important.  Choose a color that is less prominent in the design but still differentiates the button from the background.

5.  Narrow down the Location

As they say in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location.  Where will you put your CTA?

The position of your call to action will depend on your site’s design.  Depending on what else you have happening on the page, front and center might be your best bet.

At the very least, try to get it “above the fold.”  If you page is long and scrolling is involved, put a CTA at the top and bottom of the page.  That way, visitors won’t have to go back to the top to take action.

6. Use Words Wisely to Create Urgency

Not only do you want your visitors to follow through with the desired action, you want them to do it as quickly – and with as little thought – as possible.  Naturally, you don’t want to deceive anyone.  However, you don’t really want visitors to stop and ponder your offer either.

The more time they have to consider what you’re proposing, the more time they have to reject the idea.  Therefore, it is best to keep your words simple and straightforward.  Let visitors know at a glance what they should do.

By using words that create a sense of urgency, you can move people through the sales funnel quicker.  Which wording option do you think will get people to move fast: “add to cart,” or “buy now?”

To increase the urgency, give readers the impression they need to act right away.  Add phrases like, “won’t last long,” “offer expires,” “short time only,” and “order now to receive a free gift,” to increase the likelihood of visitors following through.

Mind you, this won’t work for all call to actions – especially not those that involve a significant purchase.  However, things that are cheap or free don’t require much consideration.

7.  Sweeten the Pot

Sometimes, you have to give in order to receive.  If visitors are on the fence about whether or not they want to proceed, an extra incentive just might do the trick.  Offer a discount, entry into a contest, a free gift or some other little prize.

8.  Rinse and Repeat

There is no rule that says a call to action must be restricted to the homepage.  Slap a CTA button on every page of your website.

They don’t all need to be the same.  In fact, this is a great way to spread out your CTAs and get even more action out of each visitor.  By putting less significant call to actions on internal pages, you can reduce the confusion and eliminate distractions for your primary CTA.

Take a look at the call to action you have on your site and on all your marketing material including postcard designs and brochure designs.  Could it be responsible for the poor conversion rate you’ve been experiencing?  Perhaps an upgrade would get you more leads.