There is little point to a webpage if it doesn't persuade visitors to take the desired call to action. You don't want to keep visitors hanging and wondering 'where do we go from here?' A purpose-built webpage must therefore have an appropriate call-to-action (CTA) that guides visitors on the action they must take, whether it's buying your product, clicking on social media sharing buttons, trialing your 15-day free service or making a financial donation towards a cause.
Well-positioned CTAs with compelling copy are essential to any lead acquisition and conversion campaign. Businesses use A/B testing to test the effectiveness of different text and designs in calls-to-action.
Determining the best CTAs to use
Some questions you'll need to answer when deciding the right CTA to use on a page are:
At what stage of your sales funnel are the visitors at? Are they leads who haven't yet had any contact with your brand? Are they prospects who have expressed interest in your offerings? Or are they qualified prospects who have an established need for your product/service and understand the value of your offerings? Your call-to-action must be targeted to the type of visitor to your site.
- What has captured the interest of the visitors? What information do they seek that you can provide (the particular webpage they're on will reveal this)? The call-to-action must reflect the content on the page and tell the visitor what he/she must do.
- Understand the kinds of offers that are likely to resonate with your customers. You will need to test out a variety of offers and assess the reaction to them to differentiate the winners from the losers.
- Evaluate the type of CTA – contact forms, text links, buttons, photos, videos - that gets healthy traffic. Here again, experimentation will indicate what appeals most to your target audience.
Using CTAs in different ways
CTAs can be used in a number of ways depending on the purpose you expect them to serve. Broadly, you can frame your CTAs for the following purposes:
1. Generating leads
Want to convert visitors to your website into leads? Position the CTA on the most visited page of your website in the sidebar or as a banner near the top of the page. The CTA copy should clearly state what visitors can do, such as “download now” or “get your free consultation.”
2. Nurturing leads
If you're looking to develop relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel, a good strategy is to allow them a product/service experience through a free trial or product demonstration. Add these CTAs to multiple webpages, especially those that receive high traffic. You can also place the CTAs at the end of a relevant blog post.
3. Social sharing
Are you leveraging social sharing buttons for popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and/or other social platforms you use for your business, for visitor engagement? Social sharing CTAs work best on landing pages and blog posts, motivating visitors to share an interesting post or your current offer with friends on social networks.
4. Closing the sale
Use CTAs on product/service pages to motivate leads to contact your company while they're on the page or at least bookmark the page for a visit in the near future. A prominent “Speak to our sales representative” or “Call us today” CTA button and perhaps a suitable image next to it, can drive the message home quite effectively.
5. Publicizing an event
Another use of the CTA button is in promoting an event. An eye-catching “Register Now” button on your home or landing page can spark interest and encourage sign-ups when you clearly communicate how your customers, leads or visitors will benefit from the event.
6. Creating a sense of urgency about a new product
Use CTAs to suggest the desirability of a proposition – a blowout sale, webinar or a new product/service. State the value – a discount, an exclusive event or a limited period offer – with appropriate wording and statements. An easy way is to just add 'now' or 'only' to the sentence. For instance, 'Register for the event now' or 'Download today to access your course for only $10'. These strategies can help increase click-through-rates, especially when your offer is too good to turn down!
Best practices of CTA design
Trial and error has revealed that certain approaches to CTA design work better than others. Here are some you can incorporate into your A/B testing to identify the impact on click-through rates.
- A clear CTA that visitors understand instantly
- A clean page layout without any clutter, which makes the CTA clearly visible
- A contrasting color for the CTA (in relation to the rest of the page)
- CTA copy must be compatible with the content on the page and the offer being made
- A limited number of navigation options on the page
- Repeat calls-to-action on pages with long copy
The position of the CTA is also an important element to consider. It should fit seamlessly and naturally with the rest of the page design, while also being easily visible to visitors. Depending on the type of page, you can choose to place it 'above the fold' or 'below the fold.’ 'Above the fold' is on the top half of the webpage, the part that appears on screen when the page loads. 'Below the fold' is towards the bottom of the page.
When you want visitors to check out a product demonstration, portfolio or photo gallery, a CTA button near the top of the page will more easily grab eyeballs. On one of your 'Services' pages where you want to highlight benefits and explain how the process works, a CTA at the bottom of the page may perform better. Ultimately though, A/B testing is the only way to assess the effectiveness of CTA locations.
Interested in getting more useful tips and tricks related to web design, copy and SEO? Check out more posts here.