Whether persuading your followers to download your brochure or encouraging them to sign up for a newsletter, you need a strong and impactful call to action (CTA) to make your audience take beneficial steps for your business. Indeed, well-crafted CTAs can do wonders – they can drive visitors to your website, increase conversion rates and generate sales.
Writing the perfect CTA can make or break your marketing campaign. You can craft an amazing headline and engaging copy, but if your call to action doesn’t spark interest in your audience, they won’t take the desired steps forward in the conversion funnel. In this article, you’ll find out what exactly CTAs are and what easy tricks can help you lead your audience to do what you’d like them to do.
What is a CTA?
A call to action or a CTA is a set of words and phrases that encourage people to take the desired action. A call to action is typically written as a command phrase, for example, “Buy now”, or “Get a free trial”, and most commonly takes the form of a button or hyperlink.
In digital marketing, CTAs should be clickable and aesthetically distinct to encourage users to click through to a landing page, download a file or make a purchase. A clear and well-crafted CTA lets the user know what steps to take next and can help remove friction from the customer journey.
Why are strong CTAs important?
Every day, consumers are overwhelmed with marketing messages online. The average American is exposed to somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements each day, and as a result, they may not be aware of the brands they interact with on a regular basis, according to Forbes. The constant stream of videos, images, and texts not only leaves the audience frustrated and confused but also makes it harder for marketers to stand out and generate leads and conversions.
The good news is – using the right CTA can improve the user experience, keep your audience engaged and effectively attract and convert potential customers. In fact, there are 4 important reasons why CTA should be the most important aspect of your site or advertisement.
- Reduce confusion. A simple command tells your prospective customer what to do and where to go next, making the user journey clear and straightforward. An effective CTA minimizes confusion and allows visitors to take the desired next steps.
- Make your content meaningful. Often marketers create content for the sake of having something new on the website or social media. Attaching CTAs to every new piece of content helps you ensure your content has a purpose that fits into your marketing plan.
- Build intrigue and excitement. An engaging CTA based on your audience’s needs can spark interest in your readers and encourage them to learn more about your business.
- Increase conversion rates. A CTA serves as a transition between phases in your sales funnel. If customers are interested in your product or service, it’s the CTA that enables them to take the next step. In fact, emails that contain a powerful, single call to action get 371% more clicks than those without.
How to create a CTA that converts
Designing an effective CTA is one thing. Getting people to click on it is another. Several elements must be taken into account when optimizing your CTAs. These simple tips will help you ensure that your CTAs increase conversions and help you reach your marketing goals.
1. Know what you want your visitors to do
Before creating your call to action, ask yourself: What do I want my visitors to do? The desired action will be the basis of what your main call to action should be. For example:
- If you have a portfolio website, you might want your visitors to check out your work.
- If you have an online shop, you’d like your visitors to purchase your products.
- If you have an online coaching site, you should aim for people to book a slot with you.
Whatever the main goal of your business is, the CTA should be about that. For example, ASOS makes it immediately clear to the visitor that the main action they can carry out on the site is to shop their designs from 850+ brands.
2. Communicate the value
When a prospect reads a value proposition for a product, they are likely thinking about how the product can meet its promise of value and how it can help them solve a problem. They will be paying close attention to the details of the value proposition to determine if it meets their needs. If the value proposition is compelling, they will be intrigued and may be leaning in with an excited “Wow, that’s interesting!” and considering making a purchase.
For example, when someone reads about Wecantrack, a software platform helping affiliate marketing publishers aggregate and integrate their conversion data, they know that connecting this data is what these prospects want to do. Therefore, the call-to-action button on the homepage leads them in this direction.
3. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
Understanding how your customers think can help you create high-performing CTAs that get results. Start by exploring your audience and crafting buyer personas to realize what it would take for them to take action.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What problems does my audience have, and how can my business solve them?
- What motivates my target audience to buy my products?
- What discounts and special offers would they appreciate?
By putting yourself in the shoes of your customer, you’ll not only create better CTAs but also improve the overall customer experience. For example, URL shortener Capsulink has done an amazing job on its landing page by not only explaining how you can benefit from its services but also by offering the visitors to get started for free.
4. Consider the funnel stage
When creating your CTAs you should keep in mind what will encourage prospects to move through each stage of the sales funnel. The stages of the funnel refer to the customers’ mindset on their path to purchase. In general, a funnel consists of three parts and your offer should vary depending on what stage of the funnel your audience is at.
- The top of the funnel or awareness stage is where a person learns about your product and is not yet a qualified lead. In this stage, people don’t want promotional CTAs, and, for example, using a personalized call to action that promotes continued engagement would work better.
- The middle of the funnel or interest and decision stage is where people know what you’re offering and compare different solutions. In this stage, you should aim to continue educating people and provide more information on the solution you can provide to their problems.
- The bottom of the funnel or action stage is where people are ready to buy. In this stage, your CTAs should effectively guide your audience through the lead nurturing process and persuade them to make a purchase, for example by offering them a special deal.
Create CTAs based on your customer’s behaviors and mindsets, and it will encourage people to act on your offers. For example, Lufthansa uses a CTA “Find your best offers” for the customers in the interest and decision stage to encourage them to learn more about their offers and choose them over their competitors.
5. Create a sense of urgency
When people feel like an opportunity is limited, they are more likely to act. Adding a sense of urgency to your CTAs can increase conversion rates even by 332%.
To create a sense of urgency, you can use words like “now”, “today”, “hurry”, “limited offer”, “last chance” and “closing soon”. Combining these call-to-action phrases will help invoke a sense of fear that if the person doesn’t act now, they will miss out on the opportunity. That will, in turn, urge people to click on your CTAs immediately.
For example, Glossier does a great job of creating a sense of urgency by using the word “now” on their CTA button and explaining that the specific item is available for a “very limited time only”.
6. Use the first-person voice
Every word in your CTA matters. Something as minor as using “me” instead of “you” can have a huge impact on clicks and conversions. In fact, CTAs that use the first-person voice can have a 90% better conversion rate than CTAs written in the second person.
Writing from the point of view of the reader will make your CTAs more personal and increase visitors’ emotional and cognitive connection with your button. To create a first-person CTA, you can simply use “my” instead of “your”, for example, “Reserve my table or”, “Get my e-book”.
Leadpages, for example, use first-person voice on their CTA button to make their visitors feel like the tactics they offer are specially tailored for them, thus making them more inclined to push the button.
7. Make it stand out
Your aim is to draw attention to your CTA, so it shouldn’t look the same as other site elements. It should be easy for visitors to recognize it and understand the next step they should take. Some tricks to make your CTAs stand out are:
- Use white space to make your button stand out
- Use contrasting colors
- Frame the button
- Adjust the size of the CTA button
- Use large, legible text
- Optimize the CTA button for mobile.
In this example, Notion does a great job by using the white space and contrasting colors to make their CTA stand out and to clearly illustrate what action the site visitor needs to take next.
8. Context is everything
Remember, your CTA is not a standalone button. The CTA should appear at the right time and place to make it work. It’s best to add your CTA after you have earned your audience’s trust and given them reasons to take action. That means you need to create persuasive copy, add social proof, and list the reasons why your solution is the best for your audience’s problems.
If the CTA doesn’t fit with the context of the headline, body, and design, your customers won’t understand the entire value of your offer and likely won’t take the following steps of the buyer’s journey.
Take a look at the Outreachboard landing page. They’ve done a magnificent job of using an engaging headline, persuasive copy, and an amazing design that strengthens their message and motivates visitors to take the desired action.
9. Focus on a single action
Less is more when it comes to CTAs. The paradox of choice suggests that when faced with too many decisions, we won’t make a decision at all. This means that, by offering too many choices, you can worsen the user experience and decrease the effectiveness of your CTAs.
Use only one call to action so users don’t become distracted from the desired goal. This will help the audience focus on the action you want them to take instead of splitting their attention.
If you want to include multiple choices, give weight (e.g., by using a contrasting color) to one choice over others to guide users towards a specific path in the funnel. For example, Slack uses color contrast to make one CTA button stand out and guide its visitor’s attention toward it.
10. Test your calls to action
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for a perfect CTA, so testing your copy, colors, location, and pictures is crucial to increase the number of people that click on your CTAs.
The most common way to do this is by A/B split testing. It allows you to experiment with button size and color, text, links, page designs, and CTA placements. When executing an A/B test, make sure you test one element at a time to know which parts are working with your audience, and which are not.
How to measure the effectiveness of a CTA?
Click-through rate (CTR) is one of the most common metrics in digital marketing and marketing data analytics that helps you understand how people engage with your content.
CTR is a metric that measures how many people click on your call to action in relation to how many people were exposed to it.
CTR = (click-throughs / impressions) x 100
Keeping track of your CTRs can help you understand your customers better and can be used to measure the success of your call to action. It can tell you what works and what doesn’t work when you’re trying to reach your target audience.
When analyzing your CTRs, remember that they vary by industry. For example, the business and finance industry can reach a 2.59% CTR in emails, while those in hobbies have a 4.78% CTR. A low CTR could indicate that you’re not targeting the right audience or that you’re CTAs are not persuasive enough to convince people to click.
A well-designed CTA is a key ingredient of any sales and marketing strategy. You can’t drive conversions unless you direct your audience toward the steps they need to take. By optimizing your CTAs and frequently analyzing their performance, you’ll be able to drive the best results for your business.