Using Website Calls to Action to Grow Your Business

September 1, 2016 - WRITTEN BY GEORGE WANG

Your website is a business tool, and like any tool it’s important to make sure it’s performing to its full potential.  What that means for your specific business depends on your goals for your website.  Do you want to build your email list?  Gain subscribers?  Convince visitors to buy your product?  Using a Call to Action on your website will help you get it done.

What is a Call to Action?

A Call to Action (CTA) is an instruction—typically a button or link you put on your website or in an email, social media post, or other content—to encourage or push prospective customers to become leads or actual customers.  Such links often take them to a landing page where they can fill out a form, make a purchase, or perform some other desirable action.

Essentially, the purpose of a CTA is to direct a person looking at your content to take the next step.  That step could be filling out a contact form to get in touch, adding an item to their cart to place an order, or anything else that moves them to the next stage of your sales funnel.

Why Calls to Action are important

People tend to follow the path of least resistance when consuming content, whether that content is a video, an informative blog post, or a product page.  Without a clear next step, they’re prone to simply moving on to the next piece of content to catch their attention.  Even if they like what you’re offering and want more, the more effort it takes to figure out where to go next, the fewer people will actually go to the trouble of doing so.

A Call to Action guides the prospective customer to that next step.  Using strong, relevant CTAs on your website and other content will help you increase conversions—whether that means generating more leads, increasing email subscriptions, or boosting sales.

However, it’s not enough to just throw any old instruction onto your website.  It’s important to use CTAs strategically and creativity to make sure they do what you intend.

Best practices for putting a Call to Action on your webpage

1. Use striking, action-oriented text

A Call to Action should inspire visitors to act!  Instead of boring, clinical words like “enter” and “submit,” use more active words like “try,” “get,” and “reserve.”  Incorporate these words with text specific to your offer like:

  • Reserve My Table
  • Order Now
  • Get in Touch Today

2. Make it stand out on the page

There have long been studies of how color affects consumers’ mood and buying habits, and in general, green or orange buttons are reported to perform better than CTAs of other colors.  However, the most important thing is that the CTA button contrasts properly from the rest of the page—it should be easy to find, or it won’t do it’s job properly.

3. Big, Legible Text

Another part of making your Call to Action stand out is making sure it’s big enough to draw attention, with text large enough to differentiate it from the rest of the content.  You also want to make sure it’s easy to read.

4. Keep it brief

It’s best to keep CTAs short and to the point.  Making them too long dilutes their force.  A good rule is to keep your CTA text between two and five words.

5. Phrase your CTA in first person

Though it’s important to test what works best with your particular audience, in general it’s better to use a first person perspective (I/me/my) than second person (you/your).  For example, Michael Aagard at saw a 90% increase to the click-through rate for free trials after changing the text of their CTA from “Get your free 30-day trial” to “Get my free 30-day trial.”

6. Give a sense of urgency

Building a mild sense of urgency into your CTAs can help ensure more people will click on them.  For example, you could indicate there’s a time-sensitive benefit to following the CTA, or even just use the word “now,” as in “Get my free report now!”

7. Don’t offer too many choices

Though it’s best to keep each page focused on a single desired action, there may be times when it makes sense to provide a choice.  In such cases, it’s fine to include a few choices, but make sure to emphasize one over the others, to help guide users and avoid confusion.

8. Test, analyze, adjust, repeat

Because the whole point of a Call to Action is to get visitors to do something specific, it’s absolutely critical to measure the difference between what you’re doing now and what you decide to do next.  When you decide to make a change, whether it’s adding a CTA or modifying an existing one, A/B test it before making the change final.  It’s all well and good to know what usually works for others, but until you get feedback from your audience in the form of data, you won’t know what works for you.

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