You build a perfect web page, including flushing it out with a beautiful design, a compelling layout, and brilliant copy.
A visitor then opens it, stays engaged the whole time, and loves what they’re seeing. They get to the end, tell themselves, “gosh, that was neat,” and close the tab, completely satisfied with what they read and ready to move on to something else.
You did everything right when you were building that web page.
So where’s your conversion?
The most likely explanation is that the visitor got to the end of your page, and, after building up all that interest, you didn’t tell them what to do with it.
In other words, there wasn’t a clear Call To Action for them to follow.
An effective Call To Action can either nudge your visitor to further engage with your website, or it can grab them by the metaphorical hand and direct them straight to something that counts as conversion – a sale, a subscription, a free trial.
Whether it’s a casual invitation to “click here to read more” or a hard sell to “reserve your spot NOW because time is running out,” the purpose of a CTA is to tell your visitor what they should do next.
If you don’t give the customer a persuasive suggestion for what to do after they’ve finished reading your page, they just might leave and do something else.
On the web, every CTA can be boiled down to “click here.” You can do better than that.
Strong vs Weak CTAs
How pushy should your CTA be? Different styles of CTA may work better on different pages and different visitor demographics.
A demanding, high-pressure sales pitch might rub someone the wrong way if it appears at the end of a long article that presents carefully-researched information about a particular topic. On the other hand, if you’ve written a blog post that makes a strong case for the absolute necessity of your product, it makes no sense to squander whatever sense of urgency you’ve built up on a subtle, wishy-washy CTA.
Your CTA has two parents: the page where you’re placing it and the page you want it to direct visitors to. It needs to bridge the two together in a way that makes sense.
A visitor on an informational page might be reading up to decide if your product is right for them. It might be more effective to guide them to further reading, rather than trying to get them to commit to making a purchase right away. In this case, a gentle nudge to “continue reading” might be all the CTA you need.
However, on a page that’s emphasizing why your product is the best on the market, you might have visitors who are closer to finalizing a decision on what to buy. Here’s where you might want a CTA that makes a bold push for them to buy now.
The Elements of a Killer CTA
Strong or weak, there are three elements that an effective Call To Action will have in common.
- Action Verbs. When you write a CTA, you’re telling your visitor what you want them to do. Don’t beat around the bush. Your CTA should center on an evocative, dynamic action verb. What sounds better, “try out a free seven-day subscription” or “activate a free seven-day trial?” “Try out” doesn’t bring anything exciting to mind. “Activate” means lights turning on, engines humming, a setting off into motion – you get the idea.
- Clarity of Purpose. A CTA that’s a laundry list of things you’d like your visitor to do is a terrible CTA. Everyone has a busy life. A CTA should direct them to do one single thing.
- Urgency. Have you ever felt motivated to buy a product just because it was the last one in the store? Human beings are wired to be afraid of missing out on things. That’s why home shopping channels have an inventory counter that ticks down while the presenter is showing off the product. A CTA that says “buy now” is better than one that just says “buy,” but even better is a CTA that alludes to limited quantities, time running out, exclusivity, or something else that motivates the visitor to act on it immediately.
Look over some Call To Action examples, and you’ll find that the most compelling ones are benefits-oriented. They clearly indicate what the visitor gets out of clicking that link and engaging further. Maybe it’s a free newsletter, a coupon for 10% off, an eBook download, a promise that their lingering life questions will be answered – the idea is that they see the CTA as an opportunity, not a chore.
Working Your Way to the Big Ask
People like being agreeable. Convince them to do one thing for you, and your odds of getting your next request fulfilled go up exponentially. One of the most effective CTA techniques for scoring a conversion is setting up a series of small CTAs that lead to one big, final CTA.
A great example is a page that lets you explore customization options for a product. There’s a CTA that asks you to pick a color. Another one that asks you to choose some decorative options. Then, you’re asked if you want to see a 3D rendering of the product. Looks cool, huh?
Now, would you like to save your customization choices in case you decide you’d like to order it? Great! In fact, why not complete your order right now and get five dollars off? (See where we’re going with this? Strong keywords, plus killer keywords planning, can really push your site to the next level.)
Conversion is the goal, so every CTA should move your visitor toward it, even if it’s just baby steps.
There shouldn’t be any dead ends on your website – every page needs an off-ramp that leads to conversion, and an effective call to action is a sign that tells your visitors why they should take that exit.
Of course, every business has different needs. When it comes to speaking the language your customers best respond to, if you need help figuring out how to write the perfect CTAs for your site, schedule a call with Jolly Content today!