Either you are a product owner, social media marketer or business owner you should know about importance of guiding visitors through the buying journey using effective calls-to-action. This article can help you to identify effectiveness of call-to-action (CTA) and to decide what CTA will work for your audience.

Call-to-action (usually abbreviated as CTA) is an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It is, quite literally, a “call” to take an “action.”

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There are lots of actions people can take: sign up, download an e-book, get a discount, attend some event and others. You can place call-to-action anywhere – in an e-book, on your website, in an email or at the end of a blog post. But what you should remember first: you can`t just slap “Click here” or “Press this button” which insert your web-site and start tracking in the clicks. There are several important elements you need to include in a CTA if you want to entice people to actually take an action from your content.

What CTAs drive people’s behavior?

CTAs are one of the key elements of lead generation, and they should be used in each and every one of your marketing tactics: emails, social media updates, press releases, trade shows.

Here is a short list for the main elements of a powerful CTA:

  • copy that makes people want to act
  • eye-catching design
  • a clear value proposition
  • a specific page (landing page) aligned with one stage in the sales cycle

Use Verbs

No matter how wonderful is your text – its effectiveness is reduced to a minimum if you do not include a verb. In the English language, we read from left to right, and verbs and subjects help us quickly glean the meaning of a sentence.

Surprisingly, a lot of companies don’t seem to consider this in their call-to-action copywriting. By not including a verb in the CTA copy, you aren’t prompting readers to take an action. This will decrease clickthrough rate of your CTA and negatively impact conversions.

Include Numbers

Numbers can tell people what they should expect from their actions. When you include numbers into your CTA – you tell visitors how much or for how long they will get something. This technique successfully works for call to-action copies, as well as for blog post titles, press release headlines and email subject lines.

What numbers can you include in your CTA copy? You can add the page length of the whitepaper you offer, mention a specific discount, or list the numerical impact or benefit of a particular resource you are providing. (“Read unlimited books, anytime, anywhere.”).

Add a personal touch

According to researches, calls-to-action targeted on the user had a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than calls-to-action that were the same for all visitors. Very often your visitors have different needs. To make your CTA more personalized, show people the right information. Smart CTAs allow you to provide the right CTA to visitors of your website based on their lifecycle stage.

Keep it simple

Don’t write convoluted copy that will take your visitor a long time to read. This also holds true for marketing activities, such as emails and press releases. Write as much as you need to make your point. And when you’ve made the point, stop. You can start by writing out a few full sentences that clearly convey the offer’s appeal. Then, remove words that don’t contribute to your core message.

Always remember: “People looking for information are looking for text, not pictures.”

Despite content is essential in call-to-action creating, there is another important component of CTA – DESIGN.

Size Matters: Make it Big

The goal of your call-to-action is to attract the attention of website visitors, and one way to emphasize its importance is by enlarging it.

Less is more

Simple logic dictates the “amount of whitespace” decision. Separating the CTA from the rest of the content on a web page will mean that it’s a separate item. If there is a tight connection between the call-to-action and some other web page elements, then maybe there should be less whitespace between them.

Placement

Your CTA needs to be above the fold so viewers don’t have to scroll down in order to notice it. According to an eyetrack study, the best placement of online ads is in the top and left positions. This tactic is also dictated by simple logic. In the English language, we start reading from left to right and from top to bottom.

The most effective placement could also depend on the context of the rest of the page, so make sure you do some testing.

Contrast

Contrast is one of the most powerful graphical techniques you can apply to calls-to-action. The fastest way to grab someone’s attention is by making your CTA stand out from the rest of the page and making it dominant. To achieve that, pick a color that contrasts the background.

Unconventional Shapes

Most calls-to-action have the same shape: that of a standard rectangular box. Different shapes may signal to visitors that there is not a regular advertising. This creative approach creates an element of surprise and might prove to be effective in increasing clickthrough rates.

Direction

Some of the most successful calls-to-action have arrows pointing at them. It creates a sense of direction and guides the visitor to the important element on the page. This is a way of prioritizing information and creating a flow.

Make the button look clickable

Most things you can click online look like they can be clicked. Usually, they have some sort of shading or contouring that makes them look like a button you could press in real life. So if you want your CTAs to be clicked, it makes sense to make it look like something people are already familiar with clicking. To make CTA button look clickable just add shadows and borders or other elements that are similar to a real button.

Conduct A/B testing

While in most cases the goal of CTA split testing is to determine which call-to-action attracts the most clicks, it is important to look for results further down in the sales funnel: submissions. Conversions are, naturally, influenced by the landing page and how well it is aligned with the call-to-action.

To sum up, read these short rules to create successful CTA:

  • Align CTA copy with landing page copy
  • Use actionable language (verbs)
  • Include a clear value proposition
  • Play up its time-sensitivity
  • Make it big
  • Create a highly contrasting design
  • Make the button look clickable
  • Add alt text
  • Place your CTA prominently on your website
  • A/B test multiple CTAs to find the best performer
  • Personalize CTAs for different segments of your audience