What is a Call to Action?
A Call to Action (or CTA) is an instruction to your website visitor to take a specific action. It is often a line of text which is paired with a button that encourages the reader to carry out a certain task, such as ‘Call us now’ or ‘Sign up for our free trial’.
They are used in marketing and advertising to clearly signpost the action a company wants their target audience to take, in order to increase the chances of an interaction with the potential customer.
How should Calls to Action be used?
CTAs should provoke a sense of immediacy in the reader, helping to signpost them in a specific direction and should be considered as part of the overall on-site user experience.
Not all CTAs are designed to seal the deal. They can be used to guide the user along a path that’s been designed to help the user access all of the information they need before making a purchasing decision.
For example, a new visitor to your homepage may not be in the decision stage of the buyer journey. As a marketer, once you understand his search intent you can optimise the CTA to direct him to a specific page on the website which will help solve his problem.
Making things easy for your website visitors will help increase conversion rates and even help with your on-page SEO.
The key to increasing click-through rate is to use CTAs where they are likely to have the most impact. For example, if your visitor got to the bottom of a long page, it’s inconvenient for them to then have to hunt for the next relevant page or action. This can easily be addressed by providing a couple of appropriate CTAs throughout the page, and one at the bottom so they can continue their journey without having to scroll back up.
Creating effective Calls to Action
CTAs that have the most impact aren’t just buttons that say ‘Click here’. Consider the two examples of a simple orange button:
The second button works much harder to capture the attention of the user and drive a specific action.
As a marketer who is responsible for building website enquiries this is your biggest opportunity to start converting visitors into new enquiries.
A checklist to increase CTA click through rates:
There are a few things you should bear in mind when deploying CTAs in order to make sure you’re getting as many clicks as possible…
- They should stand out: If your CTAs fade into the background, they’re not going to be effective. Think about colour palette. Contrasting colours work well. Orange is often used as a call to action colour. It creates a feeling of optimism and positive spontaneous reaction.
- Blink test: If you are using a button, make it look like one. Sounds obvious, but a button should be easily to see and invite the user to click. Perform a 5 second blink test. Can you see the button? If you can’t then your visitors will miss it too.
- Don’t delay, act today: all CTAs should demonstrate a sense of urgency and encourage the prospective customer to take action there and then.
- Relevance is key: make sure the place the CTA is linking to is actually relevant, and represents a logical next step in the user’s journey. Remember your website is there to solve problems for your visitor. Help them find the information that they are searching for.
- Consider the flow: A user reading a long blog post will benefit from a CTA placed mid-page and again at the bottom. They should be clearly visible and easy to click.
- A/B testing: Maximise click through rates by trialling different versions of your CTA. This can include, different text options, button colours, on-page placement. Small changes have a big impact on users and click through.
- Show your personality: try and avoid the generic combination of ‘Find out more’ and ‘Click here now’ - get creative with your copy and let your CTAs really demonstrate your brand’s personality.
Some examples of good Calls to Action…
Here are some great CTAs we’ve found around the internet that do a brilliant job of sticking to the above points:
Nearly everyone knows what Netflix is now, but instead of relying on this, they’ve used creative copy to entice people to sign up for a free month as soon as they land on the homepage. There’s a really clear value proposition here, too - watch anywhere, cancel anytime.
Uber have incorporated some nice design and personality into this CTA; like Netflix, they’re not just relying on existing brand awareness to lure people in.
Slack is the communication tool of choice for a growing range of startups and businesses worldwide. This is a great example of a CTA being used to provide information that will hopefully increase confidence in the platform and eventually lead to the reader signing up.
Go big or go home, right? This is the message that greets people as soon as they land on the MailChimp website, and uses a combination of copy and design to send a simple, yet effective message.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a company as innovative as Tesla, the electric car giant’s site piqued our interest because they have a Call to Action that actually moves down the page with you, so it’s there whenever you need it. This might not be appropriate for all situations, but it’ll be interesting to see if this design quirk becomes the norm in future.