A call to action (CTA) is usually at the end of a web page instructing the user to take some further action. The wording is very brief, such as ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Apply Today’. A CTA is also usually a hyperlink, meaning that when the user clicks it, they are taken to another page, which might be a sign-up page or a page where the user can enter their credit card information.
The potential customer was driven to the website as a result of a stomach flu. He was desperate for a cure. Featured on this website, is a brand-new product that claims to be a wonder drug for any intestinal discomfort. The customer has spent a significant time reading a lengthy article on the site about the drug. He gasps with astonishment, as he reads how miraculous the drug’s effects are. At that moment, nothing is more important than that wonder drug.
When he reaches the end of the article, he turns off his computer and begins making dinner. An hour later he is asleep. He never thinks about that wonder drug again. If only that website had a CTA at the end, imploring the potential customer to make the purchase, perhaps this sad story would have ended on a happier note.
Why Is a Call-to-Action Important?
What to do next
The tale above illustrates why CTAs are so vital. When pages are lacking a CTA, the user may be unsure of what to do next. The user might even assume that the product or the newsletter or the service is not available yet, which would explain why there is no CTA. An effective CTA eliminates any doubt as to what the next step is for the user.
Most web pages are persuasive. After all, a web page requires time and money to design, write and maintain. How can the site continue without some sort of profit? A CTA is imperative on any persuasive web page. The web page is trying to persuade the individual to do something – usually, to make a purchase – a persuasive call to action makes this action as easy as clicking a button.
Keep the momentum flowing
A very important component during the sales process is to keep hold of the potential customer.
Every sales communication, email or web page must lead to the sale. As soon as the individual reaches a dead end, they could just walk away.
A call to action at the end of a blog, may direct the reader to another blog. One at the end of a product description, may direct the individual to a sale or to other like products. One at the end of an email, may direct the individual to a mailing list.
How to Compose and Effective Call to Action
According to Optimizely website, marketing firms construct CTAs for websites adhering to the following guidelines.
A good CTA will strive to make sure that the user takes action ASAP. Such a feat can be accomplished with words stressing the urgency; ‘Act Now’, ‘Sale Ends Soon’ or a ‘Limited Time Offer’.
Easy to see
Considering that the CTA is the most important part of that page, it should be very visible to the user. This can be accomplished with a large font or bright colors. Make sure that the colors of the CTA contrast with the rest of the page.
An effective CTA should be no longer than a few words. There is no need for a sentence-long CTA. The web page should have persuaded the user already.
A persuasive call to action is very brief – make sure that the word or words will ensure success. Also, make sure that the CTA is concise. In just a few words, the user should know exactly what to do.
It is human nature to obey commands. At least, we are more likely to follow more direct commands. For example, imagine that two web pages are about a worthy fundraiser. The content in both is identical, except one will end with the CTA ‘Donate Now!’ and the other one ends with ‘Can You Make a Donation Today?’ Which one is more likely to net the goal?
Here are some tips from the site CrazyEgg, on constructing effective CTAs.
If the CTA is in the first person like, ‘I Want that Product’, when the user reads it to themselves, they will hear in their heads a confirmation that they do indeed want the product.
Use that thesaurus
Unique words catch more attention. A thesaurus may provide a more special verb to spice up that bland CTA.
Don’t use that thesaurus
Sometimes the user does not need to read Shakespeare in the CTA. The simplest CTA is usually the most effective.
Recognize Purpose of CTA
Be careful that the correct verbs are being utilized. In addition, if the CTA is for a sale, ‘Click here to purchase’ may be direct, but sometimes another phrase is more appropriate. When crafting a persuasive call to action, recognize exactly what the intentions are. For example, a medical CTA is not always designed to get an individual to book an appointment. It could be intended to persuade an individual to do a number of different activities.
- Sign up for a mailing list.
- Donate to a worthy cause.
- Share the article.
- Download a program.
- Follow someone or some entity’s page.
- Visit the website.
- Get a quote.
- Read the explanation.
People write long articles or design elaborate web pages with the intent of having the user take some call to action. Does the user take the final step, or do they turn off their computer? The answer will be determined by the CTA. Of course, there is no way to guarantee success. But a well worded, well designed, well placed and thought-out CTA is much more likely to produce the desired effects.