You’ve probably heard the term “call to action” a thousand times. Maybe you’ve even tried to write your own calls to action, but found them less than inspiring. If you’re like most marketers, you’ve often wondered if the call to action, or CTA, is just a fancy name for something that isn’t that important.
The truth is, though, that your call to action is critical.
By compelling your audiences to (you guessed it) take action, a great CTA can spell the difference between thousands of conversions and a few ho-hum reads.
Lights, Camera, Call To Action!
The reason your call to action is so important is that it performs a job that no other part of your website does. By inspiring your visitors to take a desired action, like clicking your content, filling out a form, or entering their email addresses, a great CTA helps make your content more compelling and interactive.
Still not convinced CTAs are all that critical? Let’s look at some statistics.
Unbounce reports that 90% of the visitors who read your headline will also read your CTA. As if that weren’t enough, WordStream reports that emails featuring just one call to action increased click-through-rate by 371% and sales by 1617%. HubSpot has also found that personalized CTAs convert a whopping 42% better than standard CTAs.
The good news is that there are many ways to create a successful call to action, but you’ve got to create a good foundation first. This involves having enough web content to input a CTA, developing a quality product, and having some level of social following. Once these things exist, you can get to work optimizing and improving your CTAs.
10 Essential Ingredients for an Irresistible Call to Action
Every call to action must contain certain elements. These elements make them more compelling, interesting, and exciting for readers. Here’s what each great CTA needs:
One dilemma many business owners face is whether to use text or graphics in their call to action. While text is critical to a good call to action, many people assume visuals aren’t. Wrong!
Visuals are an essential part of the most effective CTAs.
The human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than textual information, so including a great visual in your CTA can be exactly what it needs to tip readers over the edge.
For best results, look for an image that’s relevant to the CTA (a picture of the cover of the offered book or guide, for example, is a great option) and won’t be distracting to the reader. Remember: visuals should enhance rather than detract from your CTA.
2. A Powerful Color Scheme
To be as successful as possible, your CTA needs to fall in line with the rest of your brand’s color scheme. For an example of what this looks like, check out this HubSpot CTA:
HubSpot is known for its orange and white color scheme, and the CTA buttons throughout the site are generally blue. This CTA aligns with that color scheme and provides a sense of continuity and reliability for the reader.
If your brand doesn’t have an established color scheme yet, now is a good time to consider how colors are used in marketing, and to pick a few options that convey the messages you’re aiming for. Once you’ve got your color scheme hammered out, be sure to integrate it into your current and future CTAs. Here’s a color diagram from HelpScout to help you decide:
No matter what you choose, remember that color, like visuals, should accent rather than overwhelm your CTA. While you may love lime green and orange together, few people want to click on a CTA that looks like a mess of melted glow sticks.
3. The Right Words
The wording of your call to action matters. The best way to do this is to use actionable language. Distinct and hard-hitting verbs like “find,” “download,” “discover,” and “get” will help improve your CTAs conversion rates and make it more exciting to readers. Don’t go overboard though: you want to use fewer than four words in your CTA to keep the reader’s interest.
4. The Right Placement
Where you place your call to action can make all the difference. What if your page is already full of important information that you want your visitor to see? The general rule of thumb is to place the call to action in a spot that’s easily accessible, uncluttered, and highly visible. This enhances the likelihood that your readers will see it and that they’ll act, as a result.
5. An Understanding of the Reader’s Questions
Regardless of what you’re selling, your visitors will be asking one thing as they make buying decisions involving your company: “What’s in it for me?” Your CTA should anticipate this and respond accordingly.
When developing your CTA copy, think about what you’ll need to give your reader to justify their action. For example, would they be willing to share your Facebook page with 10 of their friends for the chance to win a contest you are putting on? Is the promise of a complete guide enough to win their email address?
By tailoring your CTA offering to your CTA “ask,” you can make your material more compelling and exciting for your readers. What’s more, you brand your company as one that understands and cares about your customers, which makes you more appealing to work with.
6. A Consistent Tone
Today’s customers are smart, and they’ll get confused if the content of your CTA is drastically different than the content elsewhere on your page or social profiles. With this in mind, keep the voice of your CTA consistent with that of the rest of your content. In addition to strengthening your brand perception, this will also help your visitors make sense of your CTA and take the action it’s proposing.
The more you can personalize your CTA, the better. When you think about it, CTAs are asking your reader to do something (click, download, etc.) and to give you something valuable (their personal information). If you don’t personalize these requests, they can seem like excessive asks. When you personalize your CTAs, you show your readers you care.
While you don’t need to go overboard with the personalization, it’s smart to use words like “you” and “your.” This makes the ask more personal and helps your reader feel like an integral piece of the puzzle, rather than a dispensable customer.
8. A Direct Approach
Adults don’t communicate effectively through hints, and your CTA needs to take this into account. Instead of whispering that you want your reader to do something, make your request (and its benefit) clear. The more direct, intentional, and obvious your CTAs are, the better they’ll be for your brand and your readers.
9. Emotional Appeal
While CTAs are foundational marketing tools, they’re also a study in psychology. HubSpot recently studied CTAs on more than 40,000 websites, and found that ones with bland language, like “click here” didn’t perform nearly as well as CTAs with stronger, more direct language.
With this in mind, make your CTA a study in emotional appeal. Tapping into emotions like fear (“Are you doing X wrong?”), inclusion (“Join X other people”), and freedom (“Risk-free trial”) can be incredibly effective for compelling on-the-fence readers to take the leap.
CTAs don’t have room for jargon. Keep your language, ask, and message simple for the best conversion rate and the clearest request. This will help your readers feel more interested in taking action and more trusting of your brand.
Your Brand Lives and Dies by its CTAs
Great CTAs can improve your bottom line, draw more attention to your company, and enhance your reputation on the web. Poor CTAs, on the other hand, just waste your marketing budget and produce disappointing results. By taking proactive steps to improve your CTAs and make them more compelling to your readers, it’s easy to enjoy more traffic and a more streamlined sales process while also improving your relationships with customers across the board.
Although many marketers overlook CTAs, the fact of the matter is that they’re essential parts of your sales and marketing funnel, and putting the time and effort into improving them is well worth your while!
To learn more about the value of great CTAs or to find the team who can help you create them, contact Express Writers, or visit our Content Shop today!