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Read This Now! Increasing Conversion with Effective Calls-to-Action

by aschmidt

creating_call_to_action-1As you develop an inbound marketing strategy, one of the first things to think about are your website’s calls-to-action. The call-to-action (CTA) can make or break your conversion rates. No matter how interesting and well-written a landing page happens to be, if you don’t do a good job of persuading potential prospects to get to it through a CTA, you will fall short of your goal. This makes the call-to-action an absolutely critical element in the conversion process. Below are some helpful tips and best practices to ensure that your CTAs are always eye-grabbing and compelling.

A typical call to action is a link or a button that you place on your website to encourage visitors to perform some type of action, usually for the purpose of leading them to an important next step in the conversion process. Acting as a “gateway” of sorts, the CTA bridges the gap between your regular content that potential customers are initially drawn to and your landing page that contains a higher-value offer. Some examples of typical calls to action are as follows:

  • Start your free trial now
  • Download the free ebook now
  • Download the free whitepaper now
  • Start your free consultation now
  • Register for the webinar now

Each of the above examples are designed to direct visitors to a landing page, which is the place where you capture the contact information of your potential leads, typically by asking them to fill out a short form.

1. Make sure that you have fully clarified the purpose of your call to action by asking the following three questions: 1) What do you want the visitor to do? 2) Why should the visitor do it? 3) How will the visitor know what to do? When you have clearly answered these questions, the process of creating the call to action will be simple.

2. Begin the CTA with a verb. Let’s face it: Your goal is to get the prospect to do something. The best way to encourage this activity is by beginning your CTA with some type of action-oriented word such as “Get”, “Start”, “Download”, “Register”, “Preview”, “Try”, etc. Many high-converting calls to action also contain the word “now”, adding an element of urgency and immediacy to the offer.

3. Be brief. When it comes to the text for your call to action, the simpler the better. Try to pare it down to only a couple of words if possible, but no more than five.

4. Make it stand out. Many calls to action use graphical buttons instead of simple text links, for the purpose of catching the eye and providing a visual pop. A good CTA button will be large enough to where you can’t miss it on the page, but not so large that it looks overpowering or amateurish. Also make sure that the color of your CTA button somewhat contrasts with the overall color scheme of the webpage, but not to the point where it sticks out like a sore thumb. Some of the most popular colors for CTA buttons are red, blue, green and orange.

5. Choose an easy-to-read font style for your CTA button. Many wonderful CTA buttons have been ruined by unreadable or sloppy-looking fonts. While it’s good to make your button text look visually striking, you don’t want to sacrifice function for the sake of form.

6. Make it easy to find. Place the CTA button on the section of the website that represents the most logical flow of action based on the overall design. Most CTA buttons are strategically positioned right after the sales copy to encourage visitors to take the next step. For webpages with lengthy sales copy, it’s not a bad idea to place a handful of CTA buttons intermittently throughout the text, but be careful not to overdo it.

7. In this new world of internet-capable touch-screen devices, you can’t forget to take usability into consideration when designing your calls to action. If your CTA button is too small to touch or tap on a smartphone or tablet, it can be frustrating and ultimately unproductive. As a general guideline, Apple recommends that your touch targets be no smaller than 44 pixels square.

A final word of advice: Don’t be afraid to experiment a little. The art of crafting effective calls-to-action takes time and a willingness to make some mistakes. Split test a few different calls to action to see how your click-through and conversion rates change based on size, button color, text, etc. Track everything carefully. Once you have identified the high-converting combinations, hone in on those particular elements to maximize your lead generation efforts.

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