5 Tips for a Call To Action that Works

A good customer experience offers the visitor a lot of useful information. If you want to see an example of an information-rich site, have a look at the code on this page.

A Call To Action or CTA takes things a step further. Your potential client very often needs to be told exactly what to do.

There are ways and ways to do that. Remember that people want to be in control of their choices.

How can you help a prospect with just the little nudge he needs to take action? Without being too pushy and losing him?

This is the art of CTA. Here are some tips to help you master it.

1. Be concise and clear

Your prospect needs to understand your message crisply and sharply. Avoid unnecessary words and complicated constructions.

One way to be effective is to use action verbs.

Sure, you are thinking of the most desirable outcome: “Buy!” Don’t be shy, you can be straightforward and invite the prospect to buy your product. Just place this CTA in the best strategic location. You can also use “Order” or “Shop”.

There are other actions you may want your prospect to take. You can ask him to “Subscribe” to your mailing list or to “Download” your catalog.

Or do you need him to spend more time on your site? Give him links to click with labels like “Tell me More” or “Show me How”. In this case, the client is apparently telling you what to do, but he is actually moving along a path designed by you.

Combine action verbs with another series of useful elements of a good CTA. Those are trigger words like:

  • Profit
  • Increase
  • More
  • Now
  • Secret
  • Discover
  • Trial
  • Discount
  • Free

For example: “Shop Now to get a 30% Discount” or “Subscribe to Discover the Secret to Increase your Profits”.

2. Find your prospect’s problem, then give him the solution

Never ever forget the classic WIFM – What’s In It For Me.

The best way to stimulate a potential client to take action is to offer a solution to a problem that is bothering him. If he is aware of the problem and you have done your SEO right, he has found you with a focused search. In this case, you will have an easier job.

Sometimes the prospect may be less aware of what his specific problem is. He may be in search of ideas and exploring a wider issue. A well structured, long-form content can help you guide him to awareness and get him ready to take action.

Consider your product/service from this angle: what problem does it solve? Then build your content around describing the problem. Build a crescendo of tension around it, like a film script.

When you have brought it to the top, here is the moment to introduce the Call To Action.

Let’s suppose you are a copywriter. What problem are you going to solve for your potential client?

He has a good product, but he’s not doing a good job of selling it. Build a story around this problem. Describe its frustration at not attracting enough buyers. List all the unsuccessful attempts he made.

At this point, tell him what he has to do. Serve him the action he has to perform to get the solution.

3. Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements

Identification is a very powerful mechanism. Put yourself in the shoes of your prospect. Figure out what he could say while standing in that place.

It may be a statement like: “I want to try your product” or “Subscribe me to your training”.

Can you feel how the extra power of these statements on a “click here” button? “Click here” does not need to appear on the button at all. The prospect will not have the slightest doubt about what he needs to do.

Some experienced marketers are convinced that shifting the focus from “you” to “I” statements in a CTA can bring a 90% increase in conversions.

4. Avoid page clutter

Distraction is your enemy. If you make your prospect land on a home page with too many boxes, links, offers, and colors… his attention will be scattered all over the place.

A marketing campaign should have a single goal. You need all the attention of your client to be focused on that goal.

Experts on CTA have found out that the more links you put on a landing page, the lower the conversion rate. The message is clear: help your prospect focus on one very clear action he should take. Do not stress him out with too many possible alternatives.

One possible exception is the case of links (or buttons) that have the same goal. There is a distraction of the prospect, but it is compensated by increasing the possibility that he will take the desired action. You can also measure which one of the different triggers have been most effective.

If implemented correctly, this technique can raise your rate of conversion. Use sparingly, though, only when you have an absolutely clear focus on the result that you want to achieve.

5. Choose the design and color of buttons carefully

Buttons are a make it or break it factor for CTA. A lousy designed button will not stimulate the prospect to take action. Never forget that when you build a strong landing page.

There are two different elements in a button that must work together efficiently to get a prospect to click. Each one must do its job properly.

Element n. 1: design. Its job is to attract the prospect’s attention and tell him where he should click.

Element n. 2: copy. Compelling copy gives the prospect the final nudge. At this point, he is making up his mind and needs a good reason why he should click that button. Efficient copy solves this doubt for him.

A button must stand out. This is the single most important thing about a successful button. Colors and shapes can vary depending on the overall style of your page. Run a few tests, and ask for somebody’s opinion. Make sure you go for the most visible format.

Copy on buttons does get to be read. If you think prospects don’t read buttons’ copy, think twice! Tweaking a single word can make all the difference in the world. Again, run a few tests, e.g. ask for a few opinions when in doubt.

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