Having an effective call to action is an essential part of your content. A call to action (CTA) is not just limited to lead generation and e-commerce sites.
Every website, Facebook page, and a piece of content should have a goal it wants users to complete. The goal can be filling in a contact form, signup for a newsletter, or sharing your content. Let’s take a look at what makes a call to action work:
Convince The Users
Why should users do what you want them to do?
Before a visitor is willing to complete a task, they have to recognize the need.
Take infomercials for example. Before they ask people to respond, they identify a problem and present a product that solves that problem.
Communicate the benefits of your call to action. What will the user get out of completing the task in the call to action?
Offer Something Extra
Sometimes you may have to sweeten the deal to encourage users to complete a call to action. Incentives could include discounts, entry into a competition or a free gift.
Everybody loves freebies.
Use Active Language!
A call to action should be crystal clear and tell users what you want them to do. A great CTA should include active words such as:
All of these words encourage users to take action. Also, you may want to create a sense of urgency and need to act now. Use these words alongside phrases such as:
- Offer expires December 31st
- For a short time only
- Order now and receive a free gift
Get the Location Right
Another important factor is the location of your call to action on the page. Ideally, it should be placed high on the page and in the central column, so people see it right away without scrolling.
On the longer pages, you should repeat your call to action in several places and at the bottom.
Use White Space
To make your call to action even more prominent, don’t just rely on location.
Use the space around it – whitespace.
More space around the call to action will get more attention to it. If you clutter up your call to action with surrounding content, visitors will not see it on the page.
Use Alternative Colors
The color is an effective way of drawing attention to elements, especially if you use alternative colors.
For example, if your website uses blue and gray, your call to action will work very well in highlighted orange. This extreme contrast leaves your users in no doubt as to the next thing they should do.
Use a color wheel and select the color opposite to your main color. The opposite color will stand out but will also be aesthetically pleasing.
Make your call to action big! We have already established that location, color, and white space are important. However, the size does play a crucial part. The bigger your call to action, the more chance your visitors will notice it.
Whenever possible use one large CTA on the page.
Have a Call to Action on Every Page
A call to action should not just be limited to the homepage or landing page.
Every page of your site should have some form of a call to action that leads the user on. If the visitor reaches a dead-end, they will leave without responding to your CTA.
Your call to action does not need to be the same for each page. Instead, you can use smaller steps that lead the user towards your ultimate goal.
On the similar vein use CTAs to finish all your communication. What is the next step for that Facebook post, email, or even an Adwords ad? Tell people with a CTA!
For example, a site like Portico does a really good job of this by prominently displaying their main CTA on every page of their site.
The CTA stands out as well by using a light blue color that is noticeably different than the other colors on their site. The choice of displaying the CTA so prominently and making it stand out almost certainly leads to more conversions.
Bring It Home
You have created an awesomely clear call to action, and the visitor clicks on it, now what? You need to plan the rest of the process as carefully as the call to action itself.
So consider what happens when a user responds to your call to action. The process should be as simple as possible. Don’t ask for any information you don’t need.
Now I covered the important factors of Call to Actions, but many people are still asking for solid Call to Action examples. I’ve compiled a list of the most basic but working CTA’s. More choice will make it easy to mix things up and use different wording for the same CTAs.
Test them and find out what is working for you:
Ask Them To:
- Read more articles
- Watch, view or play video
- Email a friend; Forward to a friend
- Subscribe to your newsletter; Sign up now
- Add RSS feed
- Download your whitepaper
- Bookmark this site or page
- Add to favorites
- Print page
Social Media Actions
- Tweet this
- Please retweet
- Like us on Facebook
- Follow on Twitter
- Share with colleagues (offer multiple options)
- Digg this
- Share PowerPoint
- Get on your smart phone
- Text for information
- Download app
- Contact us; Call now; Help
- Register now (website)
- Request a catalog
- Add to wish list
- Add to shopping cart
- Chat now
- Buy now! (Also Purchase Now!)
- Review our product
Add Content to Your Site or Page
- Add your comment
- Upload video
- Embed video
- Upload photos
- Upload presentation
- Share your work
Don't Overdo It!
Make sure you don't ask for too much. If they are looking at a car, “proceed to checkout” might be an overkill.
Maybe use “book a test drive”. In each step of the sales funnel there are actions that people are willing to take. If you ask for more in that point you will lose them.
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 goal, having a clear idea of what you want users to do will help you to create a compelling call to action.
The easier you make it for your users to follow through with your intended call to action, 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 unique voice, or make a joke if appropriate.
You can find more call to action examples in this post: And the Winners of the Best Call to Action Are… [CTA Examples].
Do you have any other CTA's to add to this list? Share them in the comments.
Photo via Visual Hunt