What is a call to action?

In marketing, a call to action (CTA) is an instruction to do something – pretty much immediately. An effective call to action is an essential part of any online marketing.

It can be presented in many shapes and forms. You probably come across hundreds every day. They can be prompting you to:

  • Call
  • Email
  • Visit a store
  • Sign up for a giveaway or discount
  • Take a survey
  • Give your opinion
  • Register for an event
  • Request a demo

Many you won’t notice. Either because they are barely there, lack punch or it’s just not relevant to you. But others seem to shine and jump out at you as being exactly what you would like.

That’s what you want to aim for on your website.

What you are ideally wanting for your success is to cut through the clutter and humdrum and get those clicks happening for you.

What makes us click?

By nature, the driving force behind any of our actions is a want for a better situation. Even if we aren’t consciously aware of it.

If we are presented a solution, or given the feeling that our life will be better, heck…. we go for it!

5 key rules to getting more clicks

1. Compelling headlines

A strong, clear announcement can really stand out. If your heading resonates with your audience in an emotional manner, it’s a winner.

2. Make it Clear

Make sure your call to action is clean, clear and uncluttered. Less is more. So a fresh, clean design with clear text and some surrounding space will do the trick.

Where you place it depends on your audience, how they arrived at your page, and the nature of your call to action.

For example, if your audience knows exactly what they are wanting or have clicked through from a promotional campaign, above the fold would be recommended. If they need to warm to you through some initial reading, place it down the page where you think it is relevant.

3. Use action words

Avoid words with no feeling or personality, such as ‘Subscribe’, ‘Phone’, ‘Submit’.

Here are some examples of the types of motivational buttons that get responses:

  • State your promise – “Show me how I can save $50”
  • Be conversational – “Call us for a chat”
  • Be urgent – “Register today and save 25%”
  • Ask a question – “Are you ready to earn more money?”

4. Offer a bonus

In just a few words, you can drive your audience to take that next step. If they truly feel they are getting some instant relief or gratification, they will not hesitate.

Offer your audience something that is relevant to them, shows them that you are on their side and that you are the real deal:

  • Free resources such as ebooks, apps or a short course via email
  • A free trial period
  • A free consultation or report
  • An introductory discount on your product or service
  • Access to a quiz or calculator that gives an instant answer

5. Keep it simple

The less effort needed to complete your call to action, the more likely your audience will act. Aim to include no more than:

  1. A powerful headline,
  2. A few words to clarify what they will be getting,
  3. If relevant, a field for their email address and possibly another for their first name, and
  4. An appealing button.

If you really must have more information, try and keep it to a minimum.

Putting the action into your call to action

Many businesses limit their calls to action to promotional campaigns or contact page. There is an opportunity on every web page and in every email to prompt people to connect with you.

Add a call to action to a page, and your audience feels you are there for them.

Leave it out, and they are left mid-air – wondering if they should maybe contact you, feeling a gap between you and them, or they think it’s just too hard to work out what to do next. It is up to you to invite them to take that next step with ease.

Don’t be shy. Be bold and proud! If you follow these simple steps to build up your call to action strategy, you will find you are actually doing your audience a favour – you are making it clear that you are there to help them out.

 

Did you get something from the article?

Feel free to leave a comment below or to share it on your favourite social media network. I would be really grateful. Thank you!

Carolyn Wilson

Carolyn is the founder of Think Internet, and has been helping professional companies get more business through the internet since 1997, optimising conversion rates through usability and online marketing.
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