If you're sending people to your business website, chances are you want them to take some kind of action while they're there. Maybe you want them to join your email list, sign up for a consultation, register for an event, or buy something from you on the spot.
But the cold, hard fact is that somewhere between 90% and 98% will leave your website without doing anything! This has happened to me, and I'm pretty sure, unless you're aware of the problem (and your website analytics numbers), it's probably happening on your site too.
But once I discovered how many leads and sales we were missing out on, I knew we needed to do something about it. That solution came to me in the form of a workshop at an online marketing conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The presenter only spent about 10 minutes on this topic – but for me (and, as it turns out, many of my clients) it was the most valuable lesson I took away from that entire weekend.
The problem we were experiencing was directly related to the calls-to-action on our website. Actually, it was more like the ‘lack' of calls-to-action. Don't get me wrong… we had an email subscription form, registration forms, and buy buttons. But what we lacked was a strategy to get the right calls-to-action in front of people at the right time… and in the right place.
And I don't want you to make the same mistakes that we (and most of the business websites out there) have made. So in this post, I'm going to show you how to make sure you've got clear, compelling, and concise calls-to-action in place to increase your website's power to bring you more leads and sales through automation.
Let's start with the obvious… I'm not talking about some button with the words “buy now” in big bold letters.
Of course, a button like that has its place, but before you ask for the sale, you need to put some significant thought into placement, size, color, headlines, and more. You have to have a good understanding of your audience’s “why” (the reason behind what they want or need and what will get them to take action), your own “why,” and how the two mesh together.
On this page, I'm going to break down some of the key elements that make up the formula for a clear, compelling, and concise call-to-action.
Look And Feel
The look and feel of your CTA sets the tone for the exchange that's about to take place. Too bold and it could scare some people off. Too subtle and it might not get the attention it deserves. So here are three things you need to have a serious look at when creating your calls-to-action: size, color, and image.
It’s important to ensure that you pick the right size for your call to action. One of the most common mistakes, when it comes to size, is that businesses will often use a small CTA button to avoid coming across as too aggressive or pushy. But if your goal is to get people to click that button or fill out that form, then you want to make sure they notice it. If it's too small, it’s easy to miss.
In this example, there's a lot of stuff happening on the page. There are multiple menu choices on the left-hand side, and there's a chat box on the right. There's also a “Buy Now” CTA button, but it’s so small that it could be easily be missed.
In the example above, there's one more potential problem with the CTA button… the color. Like the rest of the background in that section of the page, it's blue. It lacks contrast, so it doesn't stand out in any significant way.
Contrasting colors (or opposite colors) that strongly differ from each other will make your calls-to-action stand out more. There's a ton of color theory out there – including studies which have shown that certain colors will often get clicked more than other. But before you do a Google search for the best color for your CTA buttons, know this: your business, your audience, and your offer are probably very different from the ones in those tests… so there's absolutely no guarantee that using red or yellow (as are often identified as colors which get more clicks) will work for you.
What will work is making sure that you've got contrasting colors for your CTA button, making them more obvious to potential leads and buyers.
Image Selection and Quality
The authenticity of the images you use on your website and in your calls-to-action show through to your audience. That's one reason I tend to use my own image instead of using stock images.
On his Social Triggers blog, Derek Halpern explains the psychology behind why some images help and other hurt your conversion rates. Notice in the image above, my eyes are looking directly at you… and they are also perfectly aligned with the top of the text. That's no small accident.
Getting Your Message Right
It's important to remember that everything you're doing on your website is leading up to the moment that your visitors take an action. So you want to be certain that when it's time to tell them what to do, you're using the right message to get them to do it. Here are the important ingredients to make that happen:
An Effective Headline
Your call to action should include an effective headline that tells your audience what to do. For example, buy now, download now, sign up now, and so forth are all action verbs that won’t confuse your audience as to what they’re clicking on and what they’re agreeing to do.
Evernote's “Remember Everything” headline is something that their site visitors can easily wrap their mind around. The design on this page makes it terrifically simple for someone to quickly see and understand the benefits of using their app. But the headline doesn't do it all the heavy lifting.
There's other text here to support (or expand upon) the headline. Plus, there's an attention-getting green button (which ties in with their logo color and contrasts nicely with the white background) with more text on it that tells the visitor exactly what to do.
One of the biggest things you need to know when you create your call to action is why you’re creating it. What do you want your audience to do and why? When you can understand why in terms that your audience understands and relates to, you’ll be able to get higher conversions on all of your CTAs.
Getting The Form and Process Right
You can create your call to action in many forms. For example, should you use a button or another type of image? Should you put a sign-up form at the end of each of your blog post? What about a CTA to connect on social media? These are all forms of CTAs that get good results.
But there's one big challenge when it comes to using multiple calls-to-action. As times and offers change, you'll need to adjust your individual CTAs. Or, perhaps, you'll want to customize your CTAs to each individual blog post or web page.
This can get time-consuming to keep up to date. And you don't want to get locked into an offer or call-to-action simply because it's too much work to update it.
That's one reason why pop-over, slide-in, and welcome mat calls-to-action can be so useful. Not only can you have them appear at just the right moment, but you can also change them on the fly.
For example, here's how we do that inside our CTA builder, GROW:
Putting It All In The Right Place
The other thing you must know about CTAs is where you should place them. Placing them in multiple places is usually the best answer to make sure that you give your audience every opportunity to decide to answer it.
Of course, when you use a tool like GROW, you can have your CTA appear at just the right moment (in just the right place) to get your visitor's attention and to get them to take action.
Crafting a good call to action takes some thought and consideration to ensure it works. You’ll need to place and test them to make them better; using A/B testing on the different types of CTAs that you can have and where you place them will ensure you are getting the results you desire.
Start With A Well Built Template
When you first get started creating your own calls-to-action, it can be easy to get stuck. What do you say? Where do you say it? And how exactly do you ask for the click or other action?
But there's a time-saving secret to getting your CTAs working for you right away… and that's by using templates.
GROW's got well over a hundred different templates to help you get your call-to-action pop-over, slide-in, landing page, or welcome mat created in no time.
If you'd like to see first hand what all the fuss is about with GROW, you can try it out yourself for 14 days absolutely free. Just fill out the short form right here (you don't even need to enter a credit card number), and you can start creating your own clear, compelling, and concise calls-to-action so you can bring in more leads and sales than the average website.