The Keys to Creating Powerful Calls to Action

July 26, 2013

Driving traffic to your site is the first half of the online marketing battle, but it’s definitely not all of it. And, with organic search becoming increasingly sophisticated, conversion is absolutely essential.

If you think that having accurate, accessible Contact Us information on your website is enough when it comes to a calls-to-action, well, I hate to be the barer of bad news….but that’s just not going to cut it.

Calls-to-action are an integral part of a successful conversion strategy and a well-designed site. Whether we’re talking plain text calls-to-action, banners, images, buttons, boxes, boxes with embedded buttons–the number, the quality, and the way you utilize effective calls to action says a great deal about what you’re going to get out of your site.  If you want to increase conversion with powerful calls to action, here are some essential things to keep in mind:

Use Language that Moves People

Compelling calls-to-action are powerful calls-to-action. Having quality, compelling content is key–the very term call to action suggests the importance of having great content here. Insight action with urgency (“today”, “limited time offer”, “now”), with brevity, and with clear direction. Keep it short and to the point. Use simple language that tells visitors exactly what you want them to do. Avoid the passive voice, instead, leverage action-based verbs and compelling language. Also stay away from calls to action that visitors might find over-used, such as “sign up” or “subscribe”; try phrases like “download,” “earn,” “learn,” and “get” that elicit more action.

Provide Real Value

Before making a purchase, and even before beginning an action, customers always want to know “What’s in it for me? What am I going to get if I do ____?” Those are natural questions. Everything, especially here, essentially comes down to value exchange. If a visitor feels the reward that will be returned by taking an action, isn’t worth taking that action–they won’t do it. Keep your content short and catchy but make sure that you also show visitors exactly what they’re going to get.

Give Calls to Action the Visibility they Need

Placement: Location, location, location. Where you place your calls to action is crucial to their success on  your site. Do you have them spread throughout the site?Only on the homepage? First, figure out which pages need calls to action. Then ask where on the page would be most effective–having CTAs above the fold on your homepage and your other most trafficked pages is a good place start.
Prominence: Design your CTAs so they draw attention. Play with elements like color, size, and shape. Split test to determine what’s most effective and what’s not performing as well.
Context: Having powerful call to action is great, but if they make no sense in the context a user finds them….they may be more confusing then anything. Make sure that you don’t waste eye-catching, action-inciting calls to action on pages they don’t belong or in the middle of content whose subject they don’t match. If your call to action is to download a free ebook on Organic SEO for Ecommerce, don’t have it on a page about comparison shopping engines. Make sure wherever it is, it’s relevant.

Create a Funnel–Multiple Funnels, in Fact

Getting visitors to take action is the goal of a powerful call-to-action, but in order to maximize their effect, you need to make sure they’re taking leads exactly where they need to go to bring you more business. Have different calls to action funnel different leads in different ways. Visitors who click on calls-to-action taking them to certain parts of the sales process are at different stages of the buying process, are they at the top of the sales funnel? the middle? the bottom?–pay attention to this information and leverage it.

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