Lights, camera — Call To Action!

A call to action (CTA) spurs a visitor to become a customer. Your CTA, therefore, must leave no ambiguity as to what action is required from the customer. It must be a perfectly constructed script.

The CTA can be an image or a line of copy including something tempting to spark interest in what the website/business has to offer, and that galvanises visitors to take action to click on it. It is also important to inform the people as to exactly what will happen when they click on the call-to-action button.

Make them suffer from FOMO…

While a CTA is an essential part to any website it is not limited to ecommerce platforms. Any website should have an objective it wants users to complete, whether it is subscribing to a newsletter or filling out a contact form.

There are three ingredients that go into the successful CTA recipe: the appearance, the location and the content on the page.

  • While colour is optional — and the CTA doesn’t clash with the background colour and the button stands out, preferably in a complementary colour to the rest of the website — size does matter, and this is where the ‘Goldilocks’ principle does NOT apply: big is better for a CTA button.
  • Location, location, location. The best place for your CTA button is in the central column placed above the fold or as high on the page as possible. Also, leave space around it, don’t clutter up your CTA by positioning it near distracting images as it will get lost in the overall content of the page.
  • Content that holds the attention is the best way of ensuring that visitors stay on your website and read through all the pages and not hop off after reading the headline. Nothing can beat good, unique and informative content that is valuable enough to share across different social media sites.

Everyone loves something free.

There are also numerous techniques for creating successful CTAs, enabling you to develop a database for further marketing purposes.

  • One trick is to place a button on every page to sign up for a newsletter, take a course, try a product etc ensuring of course, you clearly state frequency of said newsletter so they can rest assured that they won’t be bombarded by a torrent of emails!
  • Everybody loves something for nothing. The win-win happens when you offer something in exchange for the information you need, eg an online e-guide for customer details. Motivations could comprise discounts, a free gift or an entry into a competition. People are then inspired to seek more on what you offer and hey, they might even purchase something else on the site!
  • Another way to lead the visitor is to show several excerpts of posts adding “read more” after a few lines. This encourages visitors to click rather than scroll down and will ensure that site analytics credit the posts with their own traffic.

Don’t overwhelm the visitors as they’ll leave your site.

While the design and placement are as critical as the message and must be in clear text that encourages action, the most common types of CTAs include messages such as, Act Now, Add to cart, Submit etc. On the other hand, a simple instruction to offer up information and hit ‘Submit’ doesn’t have the same draw and people will often ignore it as there is nothing promising about it. You need to communicate the benefits of hitting that button, what will they receive in return?

  • Successful CTAs focus on urgency, getting people to ACT, like NOW. Make them feel if they don’t, they are going to miss out. Specify a time limit ‘Today’, ‘This week only’, ‘While stocks last’, ‘For a short time only’ etc. They must suffer extreme FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)… Having too many options will, however, overwhelm the user. By limiting the number of choices, the less the amount of mental effort required.

When done right, a successful CTA can generate real measurable return on investment and that is after all, what we all want.

Finally, while you are whetting their appetites, make sure that your advertising is not misleading, else that intended sales funnel may end up being, well, the drain… and there is definitely no re-shooting the scene if that happens…

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