The Power of Calls to Action

“Calls to Action,” often referred to as “CTAs,” are exactly what the name describes: a button or text link that directs the site’s visitor to the action you want them to complete.

It is important to first identify your objective for driving conversions. Do you want users to complete a contact form? Sign up for a newsletter? Register for an event or giveaway? Or, purchase your product/service? Whether your goal is to turn prospects into buyers or to obtain contact information for generating leads, a strong and effective call to action is essential for pointing users in the direction of the conversion.

A call to action can be in the form of a button, a graphic or text located within the page’s content but all types provide a link to the page hosting a desired action. Your eye is naturally attracted to buttons and graphics, and visitors are more likely to click something that grabs their attention. The main objective is to have a call to action that produces a high conversion rate on a landing age with a low bounce rate, as you are providing visitors an opportunity to advance to an additional page. Therefore, strategic placement, wording and design are all important aspects of an effective call to action. 

Placement matters. The position of your call to action can affect your landing page’s successfulness of gaining conversions. It is ideal for your call to action button to be located at the top of your page. If your page contains a significant amount of content, two CTAs would be beneficial. You may want to consider having your primary call to action placed at the top, possibly in header and a secondary CTA positioned in the middle or at the bottom of the page.

By placing your call to action in several different places, you are simply making it easier for your readers to take the next step by not requiring them to go looking for it. Although it has been stated that calls to action do not have to be placed “above the fold,” (able to be seen within the first screen before scrolling down) in order to be effective, you must prompt readers to progress deeper into the site and complete an action. If your site has more than one column, positioning a button in the central column is beneficial as that is where your eye is lead while reading the information presented. 

Content is crucial. It is important that the content surrounding your call to action is specific in explaining why visitors should click to move forward. Lay the ground work by explaining the problem and how your product or services will be their solution if they complete the next step.

Communicating the benefits of taking that action will help them recognize the need. Direct actionable words including “Sign up,” “Download,” “Register,” “Get Started,” “Contact,” and “Buy,” clearly informs users what to do next.  Your copy must answer users’ question, “Why should I click?” Promoting offers, “Free Trials,” “Free Consultations,” “Sign Up to Receive Monthly Coupons,” and “Join Now for 1 Month Free Membership,” are benefits-oriented and require minimal effort from the visitor, such as  entering in their email address. Using words like “Now” “Today” “Expires” or “Limited” that display instant gratification will create a sense of urgency for the individuals.

Design is key. In order for a call to action to be successful, it must stand out. A prominent call to action that attracts prospects to want to click the link is key. Your design should answer visitor’s questions “Where do I click?” There is no one design that works every time. Call to actions can be different sizes, shape and colors. The design depends on your site’s scheme, the landing page’s layout, and the context where it is being used.

What works for one site, business or industry may not work for another. The main focus for design is that it stands out from the rest of the page and is easy for users to find. It is important to experiment to determine what works by testing different designs on the designated page, gathering the results from a certain time period and selecting the best performing CTA.

Generally, simple designs of contrasting colors with relevant content seem to perform best. Visual effects, such as adding an outline, drop shadow or graphic such as an arrow can also impact how often your button is clicked. Bigger is not always better when it comes to calls to action. A large button or image can draw too much attention to the point it is overwhelming and can make prospects feel pressured. Testing its performance can help you determine the best size.

Most importantly, calls to action are important because they can be tracked. Your site may receive a great deal of traffic but how are you measuring engagement? Identify your objectives and what is most important for your business or organization. Get to know your visitors, how they are interacting with the site and what they are most interested in. Gaining this type of information will not only help you generate leads or turn prospects into customers, but it will also help you make improvements to your site, products or services and increase opportunity for future conversions.

For more information, please contact Full Media.

By Dallas Sage
Senior Internet Marketing Analyst
Dallas is the Internet Marketing Team Leader in Full Media's Gainesville office where she assists clients of various industries by improving their online exposure through SEO, social media, online public relations, email marketing and PPC. Dallas has a knack for numbers and especially enjoys working with clients on their online paid advertising campaigns. She is certified in both Google Analytics and Adwords and is working to obtain her certification in Bing Ads.