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Call To Action - Best Practices

So you’ve got a website. This website’s purpose is to showcase your services or skills in a way that looks better than the competition. You’ve done all that, and now all that’s left is getting your clients to actually sign up to become a consumer of your services. That should be easy enough, right?

Enter the Call To Action (CTA).

A CTA is basically just the suggestion contained in a website or advertisement to do something. The name is pretty self-explanatory, right? Well when it comes to marketing, there’s nothing more important. CTA’s are the gateways to lead generation, propelling prospects through the marketing funnel on the pathway to becoming customers.

Think of your own personal example. Have you ever visited a website, and right at the top with bright colors and clever wording sits a button telling you to click. Then, as though your hand were under some sort of control, you find yourself clicking- not that you’re all too interested in the product or service, but because the call to action is so good, you would just plain feel guilty not clicking.

I’m going to go over 5 of the best practices when creating CTA’s so that when a potential client visits your website, they feel the same level of pull to obey.

1) Placement:
When placing your CTA on a page, you’ll want it to show up right as your audience lands on your website. The best way to do this is right at the top of the page. People don’t like having to scroll down to see what to do, as they feel they’re wasting time.

2) Wording:
Your CTA copy has to be persuasive! Let’s say, for example, that you’re on a website and immediately you’re faced with information about the company, followed by a button that simply says “Click.” Sure, you know what they want you to do, but why should I click? Now, imagine the button says “Click here now to sign up,” or “Try now for free.” You’re much more likely to click on these latter buttons, as they give clear direction and persuasive verbiage. Without words like “Now,” or “Right away,” it seems as though your information isn’t very important.

Now, there is another pitfall here. When creating your CTA, it’s easy to put way too much information in it. That’s what the rest of the website is for! Try to keep your button copy down to a clear, concise minimum.

3) Color:
One of the main goals of your CTA’s is to stand out. Without standing out, potential clients won’t know what to do with your site! With this category, I think showing visual examples speaks louder than words.

This button stands out from a mile away. There’s no question with what to do here.

The button here is the opposite color as the rest of the CTA image. This is called a complimentary color, and is very effective at drawing the eye exactly where you want it.

4) Hierarchy:
If your CTA is aiming at getting the customer to sign up for your main service, it should be at the first page a customer will view on your website. This will generally be your home page or landing page. As with Placement, customers don’t want to have to click through 2 or 3 pages before getting to where they need to go.

5) Simplicity:
Keep it simple! The more you add to your CTA, the more the audience will be distracted from the main purpose. A great way to do this is either an image or color with a small amount of text, and then finally the clickable object to get them to sign up. Here’s a great example of a simple CTA:

There’s no confusion on where to look or what to do here!

There you have it! 5 important practices to keep customers clicking on your CTA’s. If you follow these guides, you should see a noticeable improvement in your conversions.

Note: if you’re designing your own CTA’s, it’s always good to look around to see what the current design practices are so that you’re not left with an outdated design.

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About Marc
Marc Ohmann is president of Digital Solutions, Inc in Minneapolis. Digital Solutions is the company behind the MDWebPro blog and tool set. Marc was a computer science and engineering student at the University of Minnesota in 1999 when he started Digital Solutions. Marc, now a husband and father of 3, greatly enjoys the clients and creativity he is involved in each day through Digital Solutions. Follow Marc on Twitter @marcohmann and @MDWebPro and also on Google Plus

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