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What Is A Call-To-Action?

Posted by Gary Henderson on Dec 24, 2020 2:15:00 PM

Businesses don't usually create websites just so other people have something nice to look at.

Instead, they want something from the people that visit their sites such as making appointments or, even better, buying something.

This can be achieved in various ways such as demonstrating that we have something the audience wants and making the buying process as easy as possible.

We can also take other steps that will help to nudge our visitors in the right direction. 

One of these is the Call to Action (CTA) which is a key element of website building and design and is essential for any web-based inbound marketing campaign. 

This blog post will cover:

What Is A Call-To-Action?

 

cta marketing material

 

A call-to-action is very much what it sounds like – a call for a website visitor to take a specific action.

The call is usually found in the form of a quite direct request, such as ‘click here’ or ’contact us now’ and they are typically placed in strategic positions where they are most likely to be noticed.

They will also usually come in the form of a clickable button that will take you to another page once you have clicked on it.

A call to action can help with the aesthetics of your website but, of course, that is not the only reason to use one.

The main reason is simply that they are effective marketing tools – VERY effective. 

Indeed, one survey showed that adding a call to action button to articles increased monthly revenue by 83%.

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There is a plethora of other statistics available that make it quite clear that CTAs work and that they work very, very well.

For some reason, a surprisingly low number of websites use any CTAs at all.

While this is not great for those website owners, it can be a very good thing for you because adding an effective CTA yourself can help to give you a rather significant edge over those who don’t.

Nurture Your Leads

While a CTA can be something as direct as asking people to buy, this is often not the best approach depending on the nature of your marketing campaign.

If you try and close people when they are not ready then they are likely to bounce and, if that happens, you are unlikely to see them on your site ever again. 

Instead, you should try and nurture them first and warm them up before trying to make the sale. This is where a compelling CTA can come into play – it can encourage your audience to take an immediate action that will take them to your marketing funnel. 

When trying to nurture a lead it is a good idea to try and form a relationship with them. Let them get to know you and what you do better and try and build trust.

One of the best ways of achieving trust from your leads is to help them with something – solve a problem for them. 

Give them a solution that will help make their lives easier and you have made a significant positive impact on your relationship with them.

It is even better if the solution to their problem is a product that you sell. 

What Is The Purpose Of A Call To Action? 

The main purpose of a call to action button is to get users more involved – to change them from being passers-by just popping in for a look, to leads who are genuinely considering doing business with you.

Use a strong CTA to get your audience to dive deeper into your content and, by extension, into your sales funnel.

Have them sign up for newsletters, access to other gated content, or maybe for future deals on your products.

Once somebody has followed a CTA to the next step in your funnel, they have also made a small psychological commitment to themselves that they do have an interest.

They will also then start asking questions, which is a great thing because it gives you the opportunity to answer those questions.

You can start explaining what you and your product do and, even more importantly, how you can make their lives easier. 

Perhaps best of all it gives you an opportunity to solve a problem for them, and this will take you A LOT closer to a sale.

How To Use Call-To-Actions In Content

⭐Related Blog: How To Create A Customer Avatar

Let’s take this blog post, for example; specifically the article you are reading right now.

You have probably been bought here by Google, which gave the link to this article in their SERPs after you searched for the appropriate keywords.

If the keywords did their job well, which they probably did, you will be reading this because you want to know more about what a call to action is and, perhaps more to the point, how to create one (we promise to get to that shortly).

Obviously, we don’t want you to just leave after having read this.

Instead, we want you to visit other parts of our website and get more involved. Again – that is where the wonderful call to action comes in.

At the bottom of this article you will find the magic CTA button asking you to subscribe, which we hope you will do so you can become a part of our happy family.

 

site visitor social proof

 

There is another reason for a call to action button that is rather more basic; the button also helps to make the site a lot easier to navigate for your audience.

At some point, people will be actively looking for the next step, whatever that may be, and it is a good idea to help make sure that next step is easy for them to find. 

Websites users are notoriously impatient and if you don’t make things easy for them – you might end up losing them. 

Did you know there is a way to attract more of the same people who are already engaging in your content? Learn how to use your content marketing to seed your lookalike audiences in 3 steps. 

Remember The Internet Has Changed

By today’s standards, websites in the past used to be very basic affairs.

A user would usually have come directly to your home page and from there they would find links to other pages on your site.

While the home page is still the main portal for many websites nowadays, in the past it used to be the only portal.

That is all very different now.

There are numerous different ways that people will reach your website without even seeing your homepage.

One of the main examples is a blog post, just like this one. In the past, additional content like a blog would have been there for information purposes only.

Nowadays, however, a blog post and other content pages do so much more.

It is now often the case that your visitors will end up directly on blogs and other pages first, effectively making those pages a landing page.

With this in mind it is a good idea to treat content pages like a landing page to some extent, and the main purpose of a landing page is to guide your audience onto the rest of your site. 

⭐🔥 Related Post: 3 Types Of Content You Should Be Creating Every Day

What Are Some Example Of CTA's?

So, we’ve established that a call to action button is a good thing.

As with everything else, however, they need to be done right if they are to be effective. 

When creating an effective CTA you need to keep in mind that you are trying to encourage your visitors to do something else.

You want to grab their attention and show them something that will introduce them to your sales funnel. This tends to be done with help from a simple instruction that basically amounts to saying ‘do this’.

 

cta button color example

 

You might think it’s best to be as polite as possible when speaking with a potential customer and you’d be right in most cases.

When it comes to compelling calls to action, however, you need to be blunt. Just get straight to the point and ask, nay, TELL your user what to do next. 

You might be surprised at just how easily influenced and willing to take orders people can be even from complete strangers on the internet.

You also need to be quite blunt because you want them to do it right away because if they think about maybe doing it tomorrow instead, they will probably never get around to doing it.

Below are a few examples of some compelling call to action copy.

  • Subscribe to our blog

  • Share this [insert something shareable here]

  • Click here to start saving now

  • Get on a phone call

  • Buy this program right now

  • Sign up now for great discounts

  • Read this other blog

  • Get this tip or trick

  • Go watch this video

  • Go read this blog post

  • Sign up for our newsletter

Exactly how you word your CTA copy can also have a considerable impact on how likely a person is to click on it.

Even changing a single word can make a huge difference.

For example, when ContentVerve changed their phrasing to ‘start your free trial’ from ‘start my free trial’, they saw a 90% increase in clicks. 

Simply changing the wording so the visitor was being addressed in the first person helped to make the trial THEIR free trial rather than somebody else’s free trial.

Also remember to try and use an action verb.

You want them to DO something, so use an action phrase that helps to inspire them to act.

What Makes An Effective Call-To-Action?

What makes people actually click? Plus, five ways to create an effective CTA.

1. Keep It Simple

Don’t try to be too clever, either.

Don’t get us wrong – we think clever is a good thing, but you should never be clever at the expense of clarity. 

All too often people will try and use a clever, gimmicky CTA copy that impresses with its ingenuity.

If the message is not clear, however, then your audience can easily miss the message altogether and this means they are not likely to click through. 

If you can, try and put yourself in the shoes of your visitors and ask yourself “is this message clear to somebody who is new to my site?”

It’s Not only About Ad Copy

⭐ Related Post: Should You Use Facebook Ads For Your Business?

As important as CTA copy is, it is far from being the only factor.

There are several other things to be taken into account when creating a call to action button in order for it to be effective.

These include the design of the button itself, the color of the button, and where to place it.

 

Want To Talk About Using Ads In Your Business?

 

2. Create Professional Design

You really should pay a lot attention to the design of your CTA.

For starters, it needs to be professional looking and not as though it has been put together by somebody with a rudimentary understanding of Microsoft Paint.

If you are not great at creating professional looking buttons then you will be able to find plenty that are pre-made, and there are many designs and colors to choose from. 

Make sure that your CTA is clearly visible.

The colors should stand out against the rest of the content on the page, albeit without being too much of a distraction. 

As well as helping your CTA to stand out, the color of your CTA button can also have an emotional bearing on whether or not somebody is likely to click.

Get the color just right and you can have a lot more clicks than you otherwise would.

For example, Acuity Scheduling once changed the color of their CTA and saw an increase in clicks of 94%.

With figures like that, it shows that color is something that deserves a lot of attention. 

Red

Red CTA buttons are perhaps the most popular, mainly because they help the button to stand out on the page. 

That, and the color also instills a sense of urgency. This is a good thing because you want people to click on the button sooner rather than later. 

It is often suggested that red should not be used because it indicates danger, but this appears to not be the case.

A test carried out by HubSpot compared a red CTA with a green CTA and the red outperformed the green by 21%, despite green typically being seen as being safe to go ahead. 

Green

As mentioned, Green is a color that indicates that all is good and you should go ahead with whatever you are considering (such as clicking on a CTA) button. 

However, as covered above, tests have shown the Red outperforms green. Does this means that green should always be dropped for red – not quite. 

There is a myriad of factors that can have an influence on which colors are more likely to get clicks than others. If, for example, your website is of an agricultural or ecological nature, then green is likely to be a company that fits well with your brand. 

Orange/Yellow

Orange and yellow are other bright colors that help a CTA button to stand out easily on a page.

As with other colors, they also help to invoke emotions that help encourage people to click on a button

Orange, for example, is a warm color that helps people to feel good.

These happy feelz can help make your visitors associate clicking the button with happiness, and who doesn’t want to do something that makes them feel happy?

Which Colors Should You Avoid?

Black, white, and brown are colors to avoid in most cases. 

Neither black nor white is good at helping a button to stand out, and neither is particularly good at invoking emotions. 

Brown is often considered to be a ‘boring’ color that is not likely to portray fun or emotion. 

While these colors might be suitable in some case depending on the overall design of the website – they are best avoided in most cases.

3. Have The Right CTA Placement

The placement of your call to action button also needs to be considered, and the ideal placement will depend on a number of factors.

You can also consider using multiple CTAs, but don’t overdo it or else the page might seem spammy and this will only turn your audience away.

The best location to place effective calls to action was once widely considered to be ‘above the fold’. This means that the button is to be placed where it can be seen clearly without having to scroll down.

This is no longer practical, however, because mobile devices come in a wide range of different shapes and sizes, meaning it’s all but impossible to know where ‘the fold’ even is.

When people go to a page they start at the top of the page, so it makes sense to have a CTA here, or at least somewhere close to the top where it will be seen quickly even with just a little scrolling.

You can also try using a persistent header CTA which means the CTA remains at the top of the screen even when somebody does scroll down.

While this can be very effective it is important to make sure it is not intrusive.

Sidebars can also be a good place to have a CTA. This will depend on the layout of your page and, again, how intrusive it would be. 

For a lot of people, the best location for a CTA is at the bottom of the page. 

Here, the CTA is clearly visible after your visitor has finished reading and has, hopefully, taken in enough information to want more.

If they like your content then they may be actively looking to get further involved and you should make that as easy for them as you can.  

4. Make Sure Your CTA Offers Value

Your visitors are not going to click on your CTA just because it looks pretty. 

They want something else from performing the action – they want something in return.

With this in mind, you should also consider how you are going to offer value to your audience if/when they click on a CTA button. 

Example image

A CTA does not necessarily need to be just about the button itself. It can also be about the area immediately surrounding the button, such as a banner or a text box that contains the button. 

This banner or text box can be used to help add extra value to the action of clicking the CTA button.

For example, they can have text saying ‘contact us for more information on great deals’ next to a button that says ‘I want more information’.

Don’t forget also that the button copy itself can help add value.

For example: ‘Sign up for free’.

How can you get better value for something if you don’t have to pay a penny for it?

Or give them something that actually solves one of their problems immediately. 

5. Test Multiple CTA Versions

There is quite an art to getting a CTA just right and an experienced marketer will have a good idea of what works and what does not. 

However, it is not an exact science where everything works to a precise formula.

With countless nuances and changes in how people behave online it is difficult to hit upon what might be considered the perfect CTA.

In order to get the best results, you should always be testing your CTAs against others. Wherever possible you should try A/B testing. 

Here's an example of a few Kartra CTA variations we have for our blog.

 

action example

 

With A/B testing software, you can make changes to CTAs on your website and see which ones get the most clicks. Different people who visit your site will see a different CTA, and this helps you to get very valuable information on how each one performs. 


Once the data is in, you can settle on your new best CTA and move on from testing right?

Wrong!

Once you have found your new ‘best’ call to action, you should then create some new ones and start testing them to find another new ‘best’ version. This helps you to be continually fine-tuning your website for the best results, and helps you to keep ahead of nuances that can affect how your site performs. 

Conclusion

A call to action should not just be an afterthought. In most cases, it is even something that should be considered as essential to the performance of a website.

An effective call to action can be so effective that it can help to turn a struggling business into a profitable one.

That, and it costs next to nothing to do, making it one of the most cost-effective adjustments to your website available.

Follow the guide above and you are well on your way to seeing click-through rates that you could only have imagined before.

And don’t forget to always keep on testing.