9 Ways to Improve your Call to Actions

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As a marketer you want your visitors to do something. Often it is clicking through to buy something either on or off site, or sign up to a mailing list, etc.

One of the main ways these actions are achieved is through a Call To Action.

A call to action (CTA) is normally one of two things:

  • A button
  • Some text and a button

However they are set up, the purpose is to help direct your visitor into taking a certain course.

How then can you make a Call to Action more effective?

Read on and find my top 9 tips for improving you Call to Actions.

Give them a reason

This works best when you have some accompanying text with your button, but should be kept in mind when writing the surrounding content.

The basic premise is that people generally won’t click even a big shiny button without a damn good reason to – so provide one.

Let the customer know how the product/service/action will benefit them and tell them in no uncertain terms.

Offer a freebie

Bribery might be a crime when dealing with government employees, but you should have no qualms about bribing your visitors, especially if you are trying to get them to sign up to your mailing list.

Providing access to further information, tools or even products can provide the final push to get them to click the call to action.

Some examples of excellent bribes, err, freebies are:

  • A PDF e-book or report
  • Access to a specific article
  • Access to a video
  • A trial of a product or service
  • A discount on a product or service

The only thing to take into consideration with giving away things is to make sure that whatever it is provides value and is of a high quality. Giving someone some crappy PLR product might get them to click through but afterwards it will have done your reputation more harm than good.

Choices are bad

Have you ever heard of analysis paralysis? In short what this means is that a person given too many choice, can end up taking no action at all. This can happen even when all the choices are really good (in fact more so when they actually have to choose between similar options).

It sounds silly but even giving a person three choices is enough to cause this, which will mean a reduction in the number of people taking action.

Ideally you want to present a maximum of two choices to a person, or even better just one.

Use urgent language

Creating a sense of urgency is a time honored tactic in marketing, and you should consider it for your call to actions. This is especially so if you combine it with other elements, such as discounts or the availability of a product.

Using clear action words such as buy, register, or subscribe along with the urgent words works best:

  • Buy now – offer expires soon
  • For a short time only
  • Call before 31st October to receive a free gift
  • Subscribe now and get a 10% off coupon

Using urgency at various levels works very well, but remember if your offer ends, then end the offer. Don’t leave it hanging around and don’t fudge it so the end date continually increases. This type of behavior can reduce your authority with repeat visitors.

Positioning is critical

The placement of your call to action is often as important as what the call to action actually says.

There is also some debate regarding the best position to put one in. As always, testing will help you find the right one for your site.

Having your call to action at the top of your site is often seen as a great way to get it in front of your visitors’ eyes, and clearly in that respect it works.

One downside to this is that, unless you repeat the call to action further down you may not get the intended click throughs as people often want to read about why they should click through first.

Below the fold may in fact work better, having given your visitors’ time to digest the information. It really comes down to what the call to action is about and your own audience.

Testing positioning will provide a clearer idea of what position works and what doesn’t.

9 ways to improve your call to actions - github

Placed at the top, with a large size and distinctively colored call to action.

9 ways to improve your call to actions - mixbook

Whitespace isn’t wasted space

I often see websites cram as much content onto a single page as possible thinking that this is the best way to sell or promote things. They are wrong though.

Using whitespace in general, but especially around call to actions can help them stand out from the rest of the content.

This virtual breathing room allows people who scan content to see the call to actions (if a bright orange button isn’t enough!) as they are literally separated from the rest of the content.

Contrasting colours

This is in some ways a no brainer, as people tend to copy successful websites and make their call to actions a vivid colour.

However there is still plenty out there who don’t and they should take some advice.

The colour itself is important as it can help change the mood of the visitor, just like a sites colour can.

However, don’t get too hung up on that and just pick a good looking, vivid and contrasting colour to start with.

Once again testing will help determine the best colour for your site.

Whatever colour you do choose, make sure that it contrasts against your website and stands out.

A dark grey button on a black website will blend in, and bright yellow one will stand out.

9 ways to improve your call to actions - itt

With lots of whitespace, a large size, contrasting and vivid colors and a sense of urgency this Call to Action ticks all the boxes!

Size matters

Yes ladies and gentlemen, size DOES matter! At least in terms of call to actions!

If the button and general CTA area is too small, it might well get missed. Of course if it is so big it is all anyone can see, that might be detriment so use common sense.

The moral of this story is that you shouldn’t be afraid to make your call to actions big when needed.

You can use size in two different ways:

Larger than the things around it

If there are other images, content or pretty much anything nearby the CTA, make sure that it is larger than these to help focus the users attention on it.

Larger than other CTA’s

Sometimes you may have multiple calls to actions on a single page. If so you can make one (never more) of them larger than the rest to help promote its importance in the eyes of the viewer.

Show them everywhere

“If you make it they will come”, says the old adage, but what about “If they can’t see it they won’t take action”?

Having a call to action tucked away on a single page such as your home page is just pointless.

A large percentage of your traffic might never even see that particular page, so by making sure it is visible elsewhere increases the chances of more people taking action.

It can be very easy to add a call to action site wide with WordPress, simply add it to a widget area such as the sidebar (or even header if your theme allows it).

With a little code it isn’t even that hard to add the CTA to the start of every post, there’s even plugins that can help with this.

In short, there is no excuse to keep your CTA limited to a single page of your site.

The Bottom Line

Every one of the above steps can help improve your click through and action rate, and the best bit is that they are all very easy to implement.

My only other advice is to test, test and test. If you do not test and record and compare the results you will never know if the green button or the red button worked better.

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