A call to action (CTA) is a button or text on your site that prompts a user to take an action like, like sign up of your list, download a report, make an appointment, etc.
You can have the best product or service in the world, but if nobody takes that next step you are effectively out of business. An effective call to action is crucial for a company’s web success.
When I need to place a call to action for my site for one of my clients I use a 7-step checklist that I created and will share with you.
1. Be direct
It’s pretty simple; if you don’t tell people what you want them to do they won’t do it. You need to effectively take them by the hand and tell them what is the next step. If they weren’t interested they wouldn’t be there in the first place so don’t be shy about it.
2. Use the right words
Never ever use a button that says “Click Here”. People don’t click buttons that say click here. Instead, use words that tell what will happen or what the user will get when they click the button. Phrases like “Download Now” or “Instant Access” are much more effective because they establish trust. It becomes an effective call to action because the user knows that when they click on “Download Now” that they’re going to download now.
3. Make it POP
Another element that seems obvious, but is often not the case, is that the call to action must stand out. You need to make the viewer see it so you need to make it obvious. The two rules of thumb to accomplish this goal are to make it graphical and make it red. People can’t help but to look at things that are red.
4. Keep it “above the fold”
We’ve all seen those really bad websites that seem to scroll down forever. Thankfully most web designers know better now, but that doesn’t mean we’re entirely out of the woods. There is still a very common mistake being made on sites across the web; they are burying their calls to action below the “fold” of the page. That means that you still have to scroll down to see them. Even if it’s only a short ways, you don’t want to make the viewer scroll to see the call to action because of they don’t, then they won’t see what they’re supposed to do next. If you want to be sure that your call to action is seen by every visitor to your site, then keep it in the top 700 or so pixels of your site. Any lower and you run the risk of it disappearing.
5. Better yet, put it in the top right or left
Eye tracking studies have shown that the upper right and upper left corners of the page are where far more eyeballs will look than any other part of the page. If you want to be 100% sure that the call to action doesn’t get lost, then stick it right at the top.
6. Design the CTA so it fits with the page design
If your landing page says “Download Now”, then make sure the user can download your stuff. If you are dishonest and make them jump through hoops or when they click “Download Now” if something – anything – else happens, then you will lose their trust and their business.
Something as simple as changing the color of the call to action button or the image used can have significant effects on the conversion rate. You could improve your rates by 10% or more just by using the right color. Experience and outside studies can give a solid head start for making the correct choices, but there is nothing better than actual, live testing. Always test colors, imagery, placement and text to see what works best.
Of course there is no guarantee that visitors to your site are going to do what they’re supposed to and buy your products. But by taking a little extra time and preparing your site with the best call to action buttons possible, you will maximize your site’s potential you will gain much higher clickthrough rates and conversion numbers.