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10 Rules for Making “Call to Actions” Work

A call to action is exactly what the term implies. It is an opportunity for a visitor to your blog or web site to do something.  Many sites have calls to action but do not show the kind of results they should produce. If you follow these 10 rules, that should not be a problem for you.

1. Establish the Need

Before visitors to your site will commit they must recognize the need. Infomercials that produce sales show their creators understand this. Before people are asked to respond, they are first shown a problem or need they can relate to and presented with evidence the product can solve that problem or fill that need.

You must communicate the benefits of response to you visitors.  Their questions have to be answered before they commit to move ahead. Why do they need to click that link? The answer to that question is the real call to action.

2. Make it Value Added

Of course you are the best plastic surgeon in the world and have more to offer that potential client than any of your peers. Therefore, information on your site or blog is valuable on its own. That approach ignores a basic truth of human nature: people always want a little something more. Most of the time, a call to action is far more likely to be followed through on if your visitors are offered that something extra. Oddly enough the incentives don’t have to be big. “Sign up for our newsletter and receive a free consultation.” Most plastic surgeons don’t charge for an initial consultation any way. And most people know that. Even so, they like the idea they got something extract for clicking that link.

3.  Keep Them Limited

One of the worst things you can do is overload a page with calls to action. By limiting the number of choices a user has to make, you reduce the amount of mental effort required. Effectively you guide the user around the site step by step. The number of appropriate actions varies from site to site. However, it is not so much the number of actions as the distinctiveness of each. Generally, two calls to action on one page are enough.

4. Start Using Use Action Words

A call to action should clearly tell users what you want them to do. They should include active words like:

  • Call
  • Register
  • Subscribe

Active verbs are essential. If you go back over this article you will see active words have already been used freely. Look at the first word in each of the first five rules: establish, make, keep, start, put. These are the kind of active words that lead visitors to follow through.

5.  Put Them in the Right Place

Another important factor is the position of your call to action on the page. Ideally it should be placed high on the page somewhere near the center of the screen. In newspaper terms a call to action should appear “above the fold.” Don’t make visitors scroll down to find a call to action. They may never get there before leaving your site!

6.  Always Use White Space

The white space around a call to action is as important as its position. The more space around a call to action the more attention is drawn to it. Don’t clutter up your call to action with surrounding content or and it will be lost in the crowd.

7. Use Color Strategically

Color is an effective way to draw attention to something especially if the rest of a site has a fairly limited palette. That one red button that stands out surrounded by white may be all it takes to get someone to click that link and answer the call.

8.  Make it where it Can’t be Missed

Size isn’t everything but it certainly does matter. The bigger your call to action, the more chance it will be noticed. Remember, that doesn’t mean the link or graphic has to be that big. It’s the combination of white space, color and graphic that makes it stand out.

9.  Put Them Everywhere

While one or two calls to action on a page are all you should have, don’t limit these to just one page. Every page of your site should have some kind of call to action that leads the user on. If a visitor reaches a dead-end they will leave before responding to your call. Another factor in this rule is that you don’t know where a visitor might first land on your site. A search engine or external link may land them on what you consider to be a secondary part of your site. When it comes to generating leads nothing on your site is secondary. Your call to action does not need to be the same for each page. Instead you can use smaller actions that lead the user towards your ultimate goal.

10.  Don’t Ask for Too Much

If you require users to provide personal data about themselves, resist the temptation to collect unnecessary information. Get enough so you can contact them again.  What you don’t want to do is ask for so much information they become cautious and decide to not take any action at all.

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About Tim
Tim George is a regularly contributing author to the MDWebPro blog. Tim is passionate about web marketing for MDs expecially the latest trends and results in social media, SEO and inbound marketing. For more, please follow @MDWebPro on Twitter

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