Call-to-action (CTA) considerations seldom come up in marketing discussions. Some argue that it is unnecessary because they don’t see any mentions of a CTA on any form of media they consume daily — but this is actually the hallmark of a good CTA: to compel a user to act without being too obvious.
Lights, Camera, and Call to Action! Why Is it Important?
In its primary definition, a CTA is a marketing term referring to content intended to compel the viewer or user to make a specific action. This instruction could be just about anything—an image, a line, a link—it’s a prompt that encourages the person viewing it to act. Call-to-action is often seen in e-commerce, retail, and sales, as these industries use the CTA to usher their leads along the sales funnel from one step to another. Content such as “sign up to our newsletter,” “claim your voucher,” or “download your file” are all examples of CTAs.
What makes a CTA so important is that it keeps the process moving along. As the lead goes through the sales funnel, the likelihood of them completing the purchase increases. It also keeps them on the site longer, increasing their visit times and preventing an increase in bounce rate. Approximately 90% of the people who visit the website will come across the CTA, prompting them to act.
A CTA must be written within the content to improve the conversion rate by over 120%. This is a tremendous increase, primarily when used with an excellent marketing campaign. The substantial effectiveness of a well-targeted CTA can lead to multiple benefits, not the least of which is the increase in conversions. Even revenue and profit can hinge on some excellent CTAs so their development is directly proportional to better business.
This is also the reason there are so many varieties of CTAs. All of them are designed to make the potential customer act. Some examples include buy buttons or “add to cart,” forms to gather information, subscription prompts, “read more,” “try now,” or even social media sharing buttons.
Keep It Moving: 10 Ways to How to Make Better CTAs for Your Site
Now that you know why great CTAs can make a big difference in your ROIs, revenues, and conversions, it’s time to figure out how to make them work. A compelling CTA can come in many forms, and it’s all about finding the right one that suits your business model. E-commerce websites need to develop excellent, direct CTAs that keep the customer moving to the purchase.
Here are some great tips to get you there.
1. Give it strength with action words.
A great CTA must capture the viewer’s attention. Don’t pull your punches; make sure to select strong action words for your CTA. Powerful words that clearly instruct and phrases that utilize command words are your best bet. These include examples such as “Download your trial,” “Get it now for free,” and other similar phrases that should be used.
Power words are essential to evoking emotions within your viewers. They are much more likely to compel action or emotion from the person reading them. Moreover, they can trigger curiosity, which is a powerful weapon to compel your viewers to do the act to see what would happen next.
2. Reel them in with a trial.
Prompting them to get the full product or the “freemium” (technically free but with locked content, you can only access if you upgrade) can sometimes seem like a hard sell if you use a CTA with strong action words. Instead, give them a free trial. A trial period lasts for a week, a fortnight, or a month, and it could spell an increase in revenue. Customers will get the full experience of using your product, getting accustomed to its use and convenience. And if they like it, they will pay to keep it going.
Furthermore, a CTA that leads to a free trial is more compelling as it gives the image of providing a “freebie” that a customer can enjoy at no cost. It would intrigue them further and make them want to give it a try.
3. Get that color contrast.
The CTA must be easy to spot and impossible for a customer to overlook. That’s why when you design your section with a CTA (it could be a header, an action box, or a panel on your site), make sure to use contrasting colors so the CTA box would stand out. If, for example, you have a labeled box with a button to prompt the customer into trying the product, make sure the button is brightly contrasting against the background color of the box. It draws the viewer’s eye and makes them pay attention.
4. Make them sign up.
Users sign up when they visit a new website that offers a service they like. This CTA always works because this is what everyone already knows how to do. It’s the standard protocol by now and people will do it almost instinctively. Get your viewers to sign up for things—an account, a subscription, a free ebook, or something else. It’s an easy-to-understand CTA and it’s usually free. Your visitors are likely to go for it, giving you their email information and name. It helps you build a contact list of potential leads.
5. Make it sound urgent.
A sense of urgency prompts the reader to act accordingly. Customers are urged to act immediately if it is implied that the offer is limited or won’t last for long. CTAs such as “Limited slots only!” or “Available today!” are effective, as it also triggers a sense of missing out. If there’s a time limit imposed or a sense of urgency, customers are likely to respond.
6. Everyone loves freebies.
The thing about being on the internet is that people want instant gratification. With everything available at your fingertips, such as media, products, and other services to consume, users often crave the rewards of instant gratification.
By using a CTA that gives them a freebie (e.g., “Get your free sample now” or “Download a free bundle“), customers get that instant gratification. Instead of having to wait, they receive something immediately. They’ll be more likely to respond to a freebie CTA and can also be expected to revisit the site and buy something for themselves since they already have something free.
7. Size matters in CTAs.
The CTA has to be clearly seen on the page, but not so overly large that it seems excessive. It must remain prominent on the section or the page and clearly understood so customers can see it. Round or rectangular buttons that fit neatly across a blurb are a great way to catch a lead’s eye and get them to click to it, especially when it has an inviting phrase on it.
8. Make it pass the “So what” test.
What would customers get out of responding to the CTA? What’s in it for them? You have to distinctly indicate what the customers are getting and why it would benefit them. It’s great for landing pages as you can put a quick blurb or a few details along with a photo so the customers can see what they’re getting when they click the CTA. If you’re giving them a freebie through the landing page, it’s an excellent opportunity to put an inviting product photo with a few bullet points about what it can do for them.
9. Maintain your brand voice.
Staying on tone is also essential. If your site is more casual and laid-back, you can use phrasing or CTAs that reflect it. If the tone of your brand is formal and professional, the CTA should reflect that as well. The CTA should be an opportunity to maintain a cohesive branding tone throughout your site, pushing the audience towards the action without losing the voice of your brand.
10. Make it personalized.
The best CTAs make the viewer feel as though they were speaking to them personally. This is why many CTAs use a second-person tone, such as “Get fitter now!” or “Find your perfect shade.” By directly addressing the viewer, you are enabling them to act and communicate directly to them. It builds rapport and a sense of trust, especially if the customer is compelled to click on the CTA. Studies also show that second to first-person CTAs have a 90% increase in click-throughs.
A brand must make its customers move through the sales funnel. By calling them to action, you’re ensuring that they continue on their progress through the funnel, on their way to creating better conversions, as well as more revenue and profit for your brand.
What creative CTAs have you already used? What kind of CTAs appeal to your target audience? Let us know in the comments below.