If you’re like lot of business owners then you’re probably short on time. You can use a few minutes of your coffee break to make these improvements, however, and see some impressive results.
Need some inspiration before you dive into this call-to-action (CTA) guide?
Here is an example from izideo:
90% increase in click through rate by changing one word in the button copy – landing page design was changed to “Start my free 30 day trial” instead of “Start your 30 day trial.”
Platonik also compiled a few case studies:
86% increase in opt-ins because the call to action button was green instead of orange.
How a variant with the CTA above the fold boosted clicks on the page from 21.8% to 33.02%.
A few small changes made a huge difference. Read on to discover the exact tweaks to make on your CTAs.
1. Use actionable language.
Everyone has been, at some point, taught that writing in the second person is THE WRONG THING TO DO.
But guess what, for an effective call to action YOU need to break the rules (plus second person voice has a place in writing, ahem, this blog post – just not in academic writing).
Forget the English lessons. Just remember to use action-oriented, second-person verbs for CTAs.
To be effective and concise in your copy.
According to usability expert Jared Spool, when visitors find powerful action words on a landing page, they are successful at completing their task 72% of the time; if the action word isn’t on the page, they are only successful 6% of the time.
You don’t have a ton of space in your ad to get your point across, with the character limit set at 35 characters per description line, so it is important to get straight to the point. Let your audience know exactly what you want them to do, and be clear – start the CTA with the desired action.
Need some help getting started?
Here is a list of powerful CTA phrases:
- Click here.
- Click here to find out all the details.
- Download now.
- Reply today.
- Try it free.
- Start your free trial now.
- Sign up for your free trial immediately.
- Join now.
- Start now.
- Talk to an expert.
- Act at once.
- Hit Reply and we’ll email you the details.
- Sign up online at ____.com
- Learn more about us at ______.com
- Order now, while there’s still time.
- Order now, while everything is still in front of you.
- Send in your application today!
- Don’t hesitate to call us.
- Call us this week to schedule an appointment.
- Order now and receive a free gift.
- See it in action.
- Get it now!
- Request your FREE quote today.
- Act quickly.
- Reserve your spot now.
- Sign up now, while you still can.
Then of course make sure they stand out. Place those action words on a button, like this:
2. Make sure CTA copy and landing page copy MATCH.
You’ve probably been told repetition should be avoided in your writing, too. Guess what? USE REPETITION for your copy.
The name of the thing you are promoting – whether it’s a free ebook, guide, crash course, or presentation – should align with the name of it on the landing page.
You should also be calling the offer the same thing on both the CTA and the landing page.
For example, if you mention that people can download a crash course on Facebook advertising on the CTA, you shouldn’t call it an ebook on the landing page. It may seem small, but those details matter.
Here’s an example from AutoGrow:
Notice that they both mention “Sales Funnel Checklist.”
This way, when people get to the landing page, they aren’t confused about what you are offering and click away.
3. Give your audience a reason why they should take the desired action.
In other words, what’s in it for them?
Will it help them do their jobs better, lose weight, or save money?
This will tie in heavily with your value proposition, or unique selling point (USP). Your USP is arguably one of the most important pieces of acquiring new leads, so creating a nice USP/CTA mash-up is a great way to increase clicks.
A good example of this would be something like “call today to schedule your free consultation!” Not only have you stated the action you want the user to take (call today), but you have also provided them with a reason why they should take that action (a free consultation).
What you don’t want is any confusion about the value you’re going to bring to them in exchange for their email.
You’ve got to quell these suspicions by making the benefit of clicking on the CTA super clear.
4. Make it time-sensitive.
Everyone is a multitasker these days. Be aware that while a potential lead is browsing through your site, they are also probably doing twelve other things (and have multiple tabs open).
This makes for a lot of potential distraction. Your goal is to keep those potential leads focused on taking the next step.
The best way to do that is to tap into the element of urgency and tell people to do something right now.
One way to do that is to add the word “now” or give a time frame with a word like “today” to your CTA button. Just reminding people to do something NOW can increase the chance of them actually doing it NOW.
5. Make it big.
CTAs font should be about 20% larger than the copy, but still smaller than the headline.
You want people to notice your CTA immediately so it really does need to be BIG.
Here’s an interesting tidbit: Eyetracking visualizations show that users often read web pages in an F-shaped pattern – two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe.
- Users first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area. This initial element forms the F’s top bar.
- Next, users move down the page a bit and then read across in a second horizontal movement that typically covers a shorter area than the previous movement. This additional element forms the F’s lower bar.
- Finally, users scan the content’s left side in a vertical movement. Sometimes this is a fairly slow and systematic scan that appears as a solid stripe on an eyetracking heatmap. Other times users move faster, creating a spottier heatmap. This last element forms the F’s stem.
Maybe you’ll want to take that knowledge of a typical reader’s eye movements and place your BIG CTAs along those paths.
Also, a big call to action button helps users find it easily if they look later. Not everyone takes action right away so those buttons need to be accessible and obvious at any time.
6. Create a highly contrasting design.
Color is important for attention grabbing. The general rules are:
- avoid using white, grey or black for the button
- try contrasting colors
- red creates urgency and a stop-and-look-at-me vibe
- green can be associated with “GO”
- orange and yellow are happy and inviting
Also, try graphics that lead to the call to action button.
Your CTAs can have similar styles to the rest of your copy and website (so they look like they belong to the same site) but they need to stand out on their own.
Do a test and look quickly at your site. Can you spot the CTA from a glance? If not, then try a more contrasting color and style.
7. Buttons should look clickable, duh.
Try giving your CTAs a realistic feeling by adding shading and dimension.
Definitely experiment with which clickable-looking designs work best for your CTAs — they could drastically improve your conversion rate.
Here’s a button that uses simple shading to make it look more 3D and clickable:
8. Add alt text.
Everyone loves visuals, and we’ve already discussed how making a CTA big, colorful, and clickable is important for pulling the audience’s eye to it, but there’s something else to think about.
Browsers can still have issues with displaying images. Or users may have manually blocked images from appearing.
This is when alt text comes into play. It allows you to display text whenever a CTA doesn’t appear properly in a website or email.
(Bonus: Because alt text is, you know … text, search engines can actually read it — spelling additional SEO juice for you.)
9. Place your CTA prominently on your website.
Try it above the fold or below the fold.
Benefits of above: generally will get more clicks and conversions.
Benefits of below: higher quality of leads converting.
10. A/B test multiple CTAs to find the best performer.
Once you’ve got one CTA set, don’t stop. Chances are, you have even more opportunities to convert leads and customers through your CTAs — even if you’ve optimized them using the tips in this blog post. So keep tweaking copy, design, sizing, placement, etc. until you find a CTA that performs above the rest!
11. Personalize CTAs for different segments of your audience.
Besides A/B testing, you can also tailor CTAs to only appear to select audiences. For example, your visitors can see one thing, your leads can see another, and your customers can see something else altogether. To be honest, you’ll need the right software to do this but if you have the software, you’re golden.
Also, only ask your audience to complete one task at a time. This makes the process simple enough that users will not become frustrated. If there are too many different calls to action at once then a user will probably opt out completely to save themselves from having to go through a process that seems confusing or difficult.
If your website needs to have various calls to action then use this tip – make one the most easily recognizable as the principal one.
Having different buttons on your site can be good for providing more times a user can click (like having a call to action on each page). It is important, however, to use repetition. This may mean stating your main call to action in various ways or using the same button strategically.
Here is the list for a quick review:
- actionable language
- matching CTA copy and landing page copy
- value clearly defined
- time sensitive
- alt text added
- CTA is prominent
- A/B testing
- Personalize CTA for different segments of your audience
Calls to action do not need to be intimidating to write or to implement. They are crucial to marketing, however, so you need an understanding of how best to use them. Hopefully this guide makes it easy to create a CTA that will boost your conversion rate.
Anything you want to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!