So you’ve got your potential client or customer to click through to your website or landing page from your advert on Instagram. What do you want them to do next?
Buy your product?
Subscribe to your newsletter?
Book one of your services?
A call-to-action (CTA) is simply the part of your page (or advert or piece of content) that tells the reader what to do next; with the goal to convert them.
The clearer and more direct your CTA is, the more likely you are to convert your user (and therefore, the more effective your advert or content will be). I’ve seen amazing websites – and adverts alike – that are beautifully designed, with really creative copy, wonderfully coordinated colours, but are failing to convert. And do you know why? Because they’ve failed to include an effective CTA.
An effective CTA is the difference between just having good traffic to your site, and actually making revenue from it.
Here are our top 5 tips for an effective CTA that your potential clients and customers won’t be able to resist.
1. Use a strong action verb
The best CTAs are clear and also concise. You really want to keep this under 40 characters. So tell your audience what you want them to do.
If you’re a service provider, it might be “Book today” or “Inquire now” or “Start free trial”. If you’re a blogger, it might be “Subscribe to our newsletter”. If you run an online shop, then it should be “Buy now” “Shop now” or “Place order”.
A CTA is definitely not where you should use overly flowery language, or industry jargon that your audience won’t understand. For example, if you’re a life coach, no matter how cute it may sound, a CTA that asks people to “Hold your hand and start this transformative journey” with you is not going to be as effective as simply saying “Book discovery call”.
2. Make it clear why they should take the desired action
Admit it, we’re always thinking “What’s in it for me?” How does taking this action actually help me _____ (fill in the blanks: save money, lose weight, be more fulfilled, sleep train my newborn).
Including a clear why with the what, makes it more likely to get those elusive clicks. So, using some of our examples above, you might say “Subscribe to our newsletter to get exclusive content in your inbox”. Or “Book today and save 20%”.
I also really like Later’s homepage with their CTA. It explains quickly what you can use the tool to do, the benefit for you (reach more people), plus some bonus reasons in that it’s free forever, you can set it up in minutes, and you don’t need a credit card. Even if you didn’t scroll down the page, there’s enough incentive to create an account with them.
3. Take advantage of FOMO and drive urgency
FOMO – or the Fear Of Missing Out – is a very powerful motivator that drives people to do something now, rather than later, in case they lose out on the opportunity.
This works particularly well if you’ve got a sale or promotion as the audience knows it won’t last forever and so may be further encouraged to act now, rather than sit on it.
I have a great example of this from a few days ago.
Even though I was shopping around for a pair of trainers for my toddler, I wasn’t particularly planning to buy it straight away. I was doing some research so that I could get it for her Christmas present in a couple of months’ time.
But when I got onto H&M’s site, I saw that there were only a few pieces left in her size.
What do you think I did? I wasn’t going to risk not being able to find another pair of unicorn light up trainers in size 11, was I? And risk being told off by my 3 year old?! No, thank you! I bagged myself a pair and now mummy is her ‘bestest friend’.
I mean, sure I now need to think of something else for her Christmas present, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.
4. If possible, deal with objections in/around your CTA
One example of a company who does this brilliantly is Amazon. Think about it, what is a common fear users have when it comes to making the commitment to sign up for a service or subscription? That it will be difficult and/or complicated to change their mind and cancel if they don’t like it.
Amazon Prime deals with this objection by including that you can “Cancel anytime” below the CTA to “Start your 30-day free trial”. This makes it as risk-free as possible for the potential user to try it out, thereby making clicking that button a no-brainer.
The bright orange colour is also very eye-catching against a blue background, and we cover colours in our final tip below.
Another common example is among online course providers, such as Amy Porterfield. She’s aware than an objection from her audience may be that they can’t afford the full cost of one of her courses – this example being $997. So she offers a flexible option as well, allowing her customer to pay in 12 monthly instalments.
5. Consider colours and placement
You want to make sure your CTAs are prominent enough to catch your audience’s attention. Even if you implements the tips above, your CTA still won’t get any clicks if the button is too small, or hidden in your page’s design, or otherwise doesn’t stand out enough to be noticed.
Consider the colour you use for your CTA – you want one that complements the rest of your brand’s colour palette but also stands out. You may use the brightest colour in your palette, or perhaps a contrasting one.
In this example, Apple uses a bright red which stands out against the stark white background for their CTA.
It’s possible that you may have multiple CTAs for multiple offers in your business. While I would typically recommend that you only show one CTA per page/section to make it super simple and clear for the user, you can show more than one as long as you make it super clear which is your primary and which is your secondary.
You can do this using colours and/or font size, in the way that Dropbox has done. By making the “Start your free trial” for their Business plan a blue button, it’s more prominent than the “Get Dropbox basic” text link below, indicating that they would prefer the user to sign up for their business plan over the basic account.
My final final tip is that you can always A/B test your CTAs to see which version gives you the best results with your audience.
A/B testing, or split testing, is where you show two versions of the same content or page to different groups of your site visitors at the same time, and see which version gets the most clicks/conversions.
So rather than get analysis paralysis when you’re building your website or landing page, go with the best version, test and then improve.