If you want your website to be just all pretty pictures with little substance, you can stop reading now. If you want your website to generate sales and have robust ROI to show for, then the next 5 minutes you spend on this article will be well worth your while.
Online marketing is a direct response marketer’s dream comes true. You can track every single action and measure every single tactic to determine what works, what doesn’t and how to improve.
The caveat is, you can’t accurately measure the effectiveness of a tactic if there’s no action to track. And if there’s no action for visitors to take, there’s no conversion.
A powerful call-to-action (CTA) is essential to almost any piece of online sales and marketing material. No matter how compelling your copy is or how enticing your offers are, if you don’t get your visitors to take action – whether it’s signing up to your list, getting in touch or making a purchase – you’re not creating RIO or generating revenue.
Unfortunately, Small Business Trends indicates that a large number of B2B websites lack a call-to-action. This mistake is costing them client relationships and ultimately, revenue.
Image source: smallbiztrends.
Many small businesses don’t have CTA on their websites.
Don’t make that mistake and leave money on the table.
A CTA doesn’t have to be a large obnoxious blinking “BUY NOW” button. There are many forms of CTAs that serve to elicit actions, build relationships and encourage engagements, such as:
· Download an ebook, video training or useful information
· Get on an interest list in anticipation of a product launch
· Request a quote
· Request a product demo
· Get in touch via phone or emails to have questions answered
· Connect on social media
To make your website visitors click on the CTA, you need to make it enticing. No matter how insignificant it seems, clicking on a button means doing work and making a commitment from your visitors’ perspective.
How can you write a call to action button so irresistible that your visitors can’t help but click on it?
In this article, we’ll look at 10 powerful proven tactics to create effective CTAs:
1. Use effective action wordsYour CTA’s goal is to get your visitors to take action. When you start the CTA copy with an action-inspiring verb, guess what… you inspire action in your visitors!
Here are a few examples:
· Start – it gives the impression that once the visitor clicks-through he’s ready to use the product or service. People like instant gratification, and the word “start” implies that the promised outcome is just on the other side of the click.
· Stop – as much as we’re attracted to positive results, our fear of negative outcomes is often even more powerful. Therefore, a CTA that promises to stop an undesirable outcome is attractive to many.
· Build/Grow – it implies that responding to the CTA will give visitors the tools to create a desirable outcome. E.g. “Grow a loyal email list now.”
· Join – humans are social animals and we want to belong. Even more so, we want to belong to a community that reflects an identity we’re aspired to. “E.g. Join our community of over 500,000 savvy content marketers.”
· Discover – it appeals to our curiosity and adventurous nature, and implies that visitors will find out something new when they click on the link.
Action words are essential ingredient in effective CTAs. Infographic source: techwyse.
To make this tactic effective, the choice of action word is critical. Don’t underestimate the power of just one word.
In this case study, changing the action word in the call-to-action on a B2B site generated a 38.26% increase in conversion:
“Get” emphasizes what you receive at the end of the action – more enticing than “order,” which focuses on the “work” the visitor has to do. Image source: unbounce.
2. Include “persuasive words”There are certain words in the English language found to be most effective in persuading readers: e.g. You, Discovery, Easy, Guarantee, Safety, Save, Health, Love, News, Proven, Results and Free.
Work them into your CTA copy to increase the persuasiveness and the likelihood that your visitors will respond.
3. Convey both value and relevanceThe outcome of responding to your CTA needs to be both valuable and relevant to your visitors.
To communicate the value of your CTA, focus on the outcome of the action instead of the action itself (i.e., what they get when they respond, not what they need to do to get it.)
To convey the relevance of your CTA, be specific about what your visitors get when they respond.
In this case study, adding relevance to a call-to-action increased conversion by 68%:
Change your CTA from being generic to specific and relevant can increase your conversion. Image source: unbounce.
A few examples on how to add value and relevance to CTAs. Image source: unbounce.
4. Create urgencyWhat happens when your visitors think “I’ll do it later?”
Yep, they get distracted, navigate away from you site and you may never see them again.
To compel your visitors to take action right away, instead of later, incorporate these words into your CTA to communicate a sense of urgency:
· Now – a straightforward way to urge visitors to take action right away without delay.
· Today – like “now,” it implies the need to take action immediately.
· Before – nobody wants to miss out. Your CTA could be “before time runs out” or “get it before everyone else.”
· Ends – it can be used for a limited time offer, e.g. “Get it now before sale ends at midnight!”
Example of CTAs that convey urgency.
You can also tap into the psychology of loss aversion by using phrases like “last chance”, “today only”, “only x left”, “closing soon”, and “limited supply.”
Loss aversion – for most people the pain from losing out on an opportunity is higher than that of pleasure gained from acquiring a product.
Image source: nytimes.
5. Make it personal and conversationalMake your CTA about your visitors and you’ll get a higher response rate. They want to feel that you’re talking to them as an individual.
Use “You/Your” to make the communication about them. Use “Me/My” to inspire the feeling of possession of what they’ll get after they take the action.
Treatment B generated a lift of 24% using the word “My”
Image source: copyblogger.
6. Include numbersMost consumers are savvy enough to not fall for guesswork and vagueness plaguing the Internet nowadays.
Including data and numbers in your CTA can help you cut through the clutter, demonstrate your credibility, as well as make your offer more specific and relevant.
Here’re a few ways to include numbers in your CTA:
· Length (in number of pages) of the whitepaper you offer
· Specific discount – e.g. “Get 40% Off Now!”
· The numerical impact or benefit of the resource you’re providing
· The number of people already responded to the CTA – e.g. "Get the world's best marketing resources right to your inbox! Join more than 817,000 inbound marketers!" (This is one of Hubspot’s CTA to join their email list.) This tactic creates a sense of community, and people don’t want to feel left out.
A CTA on Hubspot’s homepage uses number of followers to entice visitors to take action.
7. Keep it short and sweetYour CTA needs to be straightforward and concise, with no room for ambiguity on what your visitors need to do.
The exact number of word count recommendation varies – from Hubspot’s “less than five” to CrazyEgg’s “anything that goes over ten or fifteen words is probably too long.”
The gist is, you’re not writing a tweet!
When your CTA is too long, you risk losing your visitors’ attention so instead of responding to the CTA they get distracted and navigate away.
CTA buttons get the most response because we’re conditioned to click on buttons. You text needs to fit into a button without stretching it out to the point where it no longer looks like one, while making sure the text remains legible.
8. Imply exclusivityExclusivity works at a few different levels. First, people want what they can’t have. Then they want to feel like they belong to a special group of selected few. Not to mention, there’s always the fear of missing out.
Here’re a few phrases that can create a sense of exclusivity for your offer:
· Request an invitation
· Members only
· Limited spots
· Exclusive access
· Only available to ______
9. Add a click triggerThe term “click triggers” refer to the extra boosts you put next to a CTA button to convince visitors to click it.
Sometimes your visitors may need a little more information than the 5 – 15 words on the CTA button to overcome objections or reduce anxiety to take the action.
Here are a few examples of click triggers:
· A testimonial, review, or tweet
· Star ratings
· Low-price messaging
· Free or two-way shipping messaging
· Payment-option messaging and/or icons
· Security messaging and/or icons
· Privacy messaging
· Risk-minimizing messaging (e.g., a snippet about what happens after clicking)
Example of using testimonial as click trigger.
Image source: copyblogger.
Use objection-reducing bullets as click trigger – this particular example increases conversion by 34 percent. Image source: copyblogger.
10. Make a button look like a buttonVisual design doesn’t replace well-written copy, yet definitely helps increase conversion for CTAs.
When visitors come to your website, they rely on visual cues to figure out where things are and what to do with them.
When you CTA looks like a button, and we’re conditioned to click on buttons, your visitors can immediately infer that it’s the action they’re required to take.
Besides the shape and placement of a button, you can also test the color. Typically, contrasting color make the button stand out and get noticed – thereby increasing conversion rate.
The power of using contrasting color: variation B (the green button) saw an 81 percent lift over the control, and variation C (the orange button) saw a 95 percent lift over the control. Image source: copyblogger.
There’re many variables in crafting a CTA, and different consumer segments may respond to the copy and design differently.
It’s therefore important to test the effectiveness of each element with A/B testing to find the sweet spot that works best for your business and target market.
Over to you – what tweaks and improvements are you going to make in your calls-to-action to increase your conversion rate?