An Effective Call to Action
As a website owner or small business owner you should know what the purpose of your website is. Do you want to get someone to buy something? To sell something? Are they meant to call you, write you, visit you? Do you want someone to vote, consider a new opinion? Are you looking to inform, educate, or amuse? Whatever the purpose of your website is, having a clear idea of what you want users to do after visiting a website will help you to create a compelling call to action.
Understanding the Call to Action
The call to action is your chance to tell users what you want them to do. If you’re selling a product you want them to buy a product. If you’re a politician, you want them to vote for you. If you’re a blogger or educator, perhaps you want to share information and have it be shared again by those who read it. Regardless of what you want the user to do, they will be far less likely to oblige you without some motivation.
For a business owner, the most common and effective way to create a call to action is to include a statement telling your user what you’d like them to do, and then to create a way for them to do that. The second part of that will often be a contact form. Once you’ve delivered your message (Call us today for a free quote!), you want to make it as easy as possible for the user to comply. Including a contact form on each page of your website (or at the very least on the Contact page) allows your user to easily drop you a line, and give you the opportunity to connect with them.
Examples of good statements include: Call us today to learn more! Visit us to check out our wide inventory of quality (insert product)! Make the right choice – vote for John Smith! Need help? We’re your best and only choice – call us today!
Don’t hesitate to suggest to your user whatever it is that you want them to do. However, sometimes a soft touch is required. Try suggesting, hinting, or creatively encouraging your users to move to action. If you insist, you may turn some people off. It’s fine to be direct, as in the examples above, but sometimes offering a more friendly voice can help:
You don’t want to miss out, do you? Call us today!
Don’t you think it’s time that you started saving money? Let us help you!
Ease of Use
The easier you make it for your users to follow through with your intended call of action and the more clear you make your purpose, the more likely they will be to do what you want them to do. Do not leave your users guessing – give them choices and they will thank you for it. Make it friendly, personal, and unique. Feel free to use your own voice, or make a joke if appropriate. If your subject and call to action are more serious, be professional. Check out some of your competitors’ websites to see what they are doing and try to emulate them.
The best calls to action are clear and simple. Contact us, call us, do this. If you do, you’ll get (insert implied or actual benefit). Then, tell them where to reach you, who to call, or where to do what it is that you want them to do. The simpler you make it, and the more compelling you make it, the better your chances for success.
Many websites fail because of the lack of an effective call to action. Whether you are recommending cash-value life insurance investments or trying to raise money for charity, an effective call to action is an integral part of your site’s design.