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This article was originally published on the Bookmark Blog


 Do you remember the last time you subscribed to a product or service? If you do, do you know the exact moment you did? Most likely, you were persuaded by a call to action (CTA). CTAs are one of the most effective mechanisms businesses use to drive sales. In today’s post, we’ll show you how to create an effective CTA that will stand above your competition.


The No-Brainer’s Guide to Call to Action

  |   July 16, 2019   |   Share this:  

Call To Action Breakdown

The fundamental element of any successful inbound action marketing strategy is a well-crafted CTA button. CTAs were created to instruct your visitors to make a suitable purchase decision. Without the influence of a CTA, your entire website’s traffic would have no incentive to make a purchase decision. In other words, a call to action converts traffic into leads. They are entry points where passive traffic is converted into active prospects.

With a well-crafted CTA, you can persuade your visitors to opt-in to your email subscription newsletter or even perform specific tasks such as purchasing a product. Great calls to action are both designed as text placed on a button or, simply, a link with the right anchor text.

Kathryn Aragon describes CTAs as, “the final instruction you give to your reader.” As CTA marketing goes, you should use them when you want your website user to complete a specific task. Having great content on your website is, undeniably, good. It will provide your audience with value and they will likely return to read more; however, great content, alone, will not drive conversions. Once you’ve established your authority in your space and built a following, you can begin to add CTAs and qualify your following into prospective customers.

As a matter of fact, great content aims at helping your readers make the right purchase decision. Your content will inform your audience of the scope of the problem they face, ways in which they can remedy their problem, and useful recommendations on how to better solve their problem. In providing recommendations, you can present your business solution. If they find value in it, they will likely become a customer; however, if not presented with the opportunity to evaluate your business as a solution, they will never know if it can provide them with the kind of value they are seeking. This is why you need to have a call to action strategy, so you can, at the very least, show them you have a solution.

human brain

In order to design an effective CTA, you need to understand the psychology behind purchasing. Research shows most people take actions in order to benefit. According to SmallBizTrends, close to 70 per cent of startups and small businesses lack appropriate CTAs on their sites and miss out on forming a deeper connection with their potential customers.

Crafting a great CTA can be a daunting task. Don’t fret too much. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you by dissecting the building blocks that make up great CTAs. Below, we’ll discuss the fundamentals of excellent CTAs that will generate more leads for your business. The best part, they are simple adjustments anyone can make, so you will find they are easy to implement.

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Place Call to Action Above the Fold

You’ve most likely heard marketers talk about placing a call to action button above a website’s “fold,” and thought to yourself, “what are they talking about?”

The fold is a concept hearkening back to the days of print media, where newspapers placed their most important stories at the top of their front pages. Anything above the top half of the front page is considered to be above the fold.

call to action foldWhen marketers describe the fold on your website, they’re referring to how your homepage looks before any scrolling occurs. The visual representation of your homepage before scrolling is considered to be above the fold. Anything after, is below it.

If you place a CTA above the fold, you’ll have a greater chance of more people seeing and interacting with it. By placing your CTA above the fold for all your visitors to see, you’re casting a wider net of potential people who see and click-through, as opposed to those who have to scroll down in order to see it.

You should always perceive your website visitors as having declining attention spans. If you think in these terms, you will be prepared to capture the attention of more visitors.

In most cases, you have a couple of seconds to persuade potential customers. Having a call to action above the fold is, typically, your best chance to convert.

Call to Action Beneath Content

When writing a long, informative post, you should place the most relevant CTAs at the bottom, immediately following the content. This is because you want the reader to take action right after they are done reading the article.

If you think about why someone is reading a long and informative post about a particular paint point they’re facing, it’s, most likely, because they are under-educated on the topic. They’re looking for more information on a solution to their problem.

If that problem is simple, it’s easier for them to solve and doesn’t require as large an investment of their time. For businesses providing solutions for simple problems, they can find better results from placing CTAs higher up on their pages. This is due to the lack of learning one needs to put in to resolve their issue.

It makes sense for someone to immediately seek a simple solution to a simple problem, and the faster you can provide that, the happier the customer. On the flip side, if your business is working to provide an answer to a complex problem, you’ll more likely benefit from comprehensive educational content with CTAs placed at the bottom of the page. This is due to the fact your potential customers need to learn and digest the complexity of the issue before they can make an informed decision. Once they have been accurately informed, they’re in a position where they are best suited to interact with a CTA suggesting they try your product or service.

In essence, your post is qualifying your potential customer from a cold visitor to warm lead by educating them on the problem they’re potentially facing. First, the content qualifies their interest; And second, the CTA propels them to a landing or purchase page, complimenting the content outlined above.

eye exam

Make Your CTA Clear

Take, for instance, a call to action that reads “Click Here;” this CTA lacks a clear, concise message for the reader to easily understand what they’re doing. Using vague language in your CTAs will cause your users to become confused. Users, who are confused, will not click your call to action buttons. and you should definitely expect a lower click-through rate.

Lucky for you, we have some tips to help improve the language you use on your buttons.

Use Specific Language

Most online businesses don’t take into account their buttons and text links can be vastly improved by using more specific language. Instead of creating a button within your email newsletter for an article driving people to your blog that says “Read More Here,” write something more specific like “Continue Reading Article.” Even a change as small as this can have huge impacts.

In the first CTA example, the language may create confusion for a user because it never specifies what the user is going to read. If the button isn’t positioned clearly in relation to the content, it can create confusion and deter them from clicking.

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Less is No “More”

Get the word more out of your vocabulary. It’s used so frequently but provides no specifics at all. We all crave detail; detail comes from specifics. End of story.

Using the word “more” is as vague as using the word “thing.”

“Come read our ‘thing’ to learn about this ‘thing’ that will help you do that ‘thing’ you want.”

Replace the word more with the actual offer or type of content you’re promoting. For example, use “read the full post,”  “jump to blog post,” “watch the full video,” “download your E-book,” etc.

This leads me into my next point.

karate kickAction Verb

Always start your call to actions with an exciting verb that pushes users to pursue an action. The action will be dependent on the type of content or offer you’re suggesting; however, it should be no longer than two syllables.

Keep your titles short and punchy with a good action verb like “Read,” “Watch,” “Download,” “Get,” “Visit,” and “Start.” These words will set the expectation for what happens next and will immediately encourage people to pursue action.

Power Words

Action verbs aren’t your only tool to nudge users towards your key landing and purchase pages. You can also use, what we in the industry call, “power words.”

Power words are words you can sprinkle into your CTAs to provide extra incentive to users. These should be used modestly, on your most important buttons; otherwise, the effect can be diminished.

Determine your most important buttons and sprinkle in power words such as “new,” “free,” “proven,” “tested,” “best-selling,” “secret,” “instant,” and “limited-time,” to increase your number of clicks.

cBenefit Oriented CTA

Not enough call to action buttons talk about the benefit of the offer. Most tell you the action but never what is of value to you. Be mindful, especially if your business aims to solve a complex problem, to outline why people should click your button.

Let’s say you have a button for a downloadable PDF E-book that says “Download E-book.” It’s a good start. It’s clear and starts with a solid action verb; although, it lacks the benefit a customer is looking to receive. Something more like, “Download Your Free E-book” is often the better choice. This is because, in these four words, customers know the what they’re getting (E-book), the action to take (download), and what value they’re receiving (free).

If the value isn’t a free E-book, you can give customers other incentives to click your button, as long as it provides them with value or a benefit. You can do this by describing what will happen if they do click. Some examples of providing incentive are discounts, sales, and rewards.

Lastly, you can use a bit of psychology to your advantage. If you’re unable to give away free resources or provide discounts, try using first person speech in your CTAsto appeal to your customers. Most buttons come off as aggressive; however, if you use first person language, your button is more likely to create a perception of value to users, making them less reticent and more receptive to your offer.

Instead of writing “Start Your Account.” you can try a simple change to “Start My Account.” Giving the perception of ownership to your users before they’re customers is a way of using psychology to provide incentive.

Low Commitment Proposals

It has been purported CTAs proposing lower commitment levels work better at generating clicks.

This means you should be focusing more effort on creating CTA buttons that use language which suggest actions that don’t require too heavy a monetary or time investment into your products or services.

For example, if you are sending an email newsletter to your subscribes about your product catalogue, you’ll likely include a “shop now” button. “Shop now” can be too much of a commitment for some and actually serve to deter users; whereas, “Browse Catalogue” asks far less from your subscribers, promoting increased receptivity to click your CTA.

Call to Action Hierarchy

Every page on your website should have a CTA. This lets you potentially collect clicks from every location on your website. That’s a no-brainer. What isn’t as simple is how to order the placement of multiple CTAs on one page, however. This is where CTA hierarchy comes in.

Think of your web pages as road maps. When you go to established websites, you’ll find there are common places your eyes tend to fall: headers, title columns, and the middle of pages (content). These are the most common areas; although, since every website is unique, you’ll need to discover how users interact with your website or, at least, make your best guess.

If you’re unsure about your website, research your competition with similar websites and see how they place their buttons. Find, at least, five quality examples and make notes of any similarities that exist between them.

Ask yourself if you see any common locations or areas for CTAs on home, service, product, blog, and FAQ pages. Look for what type of language they use for their buttons on each page. Do they use links and images as well as buttons? Once you get a better idea of what the competition is doing, you’ll have a better idea where to place your buttons.

Lastly, prioritize your most important to least important buttons in terms of their size and colour.

It’s common for your most important button to stand out with the right colour, while having a secondary button using grey-scale to give contrast. This creates a clear perception in the minds of users that the coloured button is the better option to click.

Final Words

It’s hard to know what numbers to aim for when you create a CTA. Industry standards dictate you’re looking to get a click-through rate of between 1 and 2 per cent and a conversion rate of 10 to 20 per cent.

In order to increase these metrics, you will need to test your buttons. Testing is the life-blood of all marketing efforts and the same is, especially, true for call to action buttons.

The four factors affecting whether your button gets clicked or not is determined by its colour, size, placement, and language. By experimenting with these, you’ll find more insight into what works and what doesn’t. With that said, incorporate some the above tips to help boost your efforts.

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