CTA is the abbreviation of ‘call-to-action’. CTA can be a line of text, an image or anything that prompts the viewer to take an action. Just like the name suggests, it is a ‘call’ to take an ‘action’. The most familiar example will be “click here”.
Even though the action is simple, how CTAs should be used is a bit tricky. A website always has multiple kinds of audiences. They could be visitors, leads, customers, promoters, etc. The purpose of each group is different. So to accomplish different goals through different groups, different kind of CTA’s has to be used.
This is achieved through multiple layers of CTAs. A different kind of CTA is used to reach each kind of audience. If CTAs are classified into sections, we can create 8 compartments. They are lead generation, form submission, “read more” button, product or service discovery, social sharing, lead nurturing, close the sale and event promotion.
The main objective of lead generating CTA is to turn visitors to leads. So these have to be placed where it is easy to get noticed by all visitors. Most of the times these are places at the end of blog posts, in sidebars, and sometimes in floating banner.
The phrase used on a call-to-action button is very important. It is based on this word; the next event is going to take place. The event could turn out to be a conversation or a bounce. The intention should be to use the best call-to-action phrases. It should make the viewers understand why they have to click the button. The phrases should be clear and specific as well.
By using different kinds of call-to-action phrases, we can make different impacts on visitors. Some of the most common phrases are start, join, learn, discover, etc. All of these are verbs and they are used to encourage the viewer to convert. By using verbs the viewer gets a feeling that this will be provide them with directions and guidance for what they are looking for. You can find lot of call-to-action word list in the internet but it’s not just about the word, it’s about how the call is marketed.
Another approach in creating call-to-action button is using negative phrases. While using these, CTA’s will appear more honest. This will make the viewer stop and make him think about what he is reading. Negative CTA’s makes use of the viewer’s fear and frustration that he is facing at the moment. They will click on the CTA in hope of finding the solution. Some of the examples for negative phrases are sick, troubled, confused, etc. By using words like you/your and me/my CTAs can be made personal too.
Words which provide incentives are good to hook the viewer. When hooked, they should also be provided with an answer to the question, what benefit do I get from doing this? The idea of urgency can also be conveyed through CTAs. To achieve that words like now, today, ends, etc are used. These will tell the viewer that the offer is a limited period offer and if they want the offer, they have to act right away.
Now, let’s look into some of the best call to action examples. The website ‘Crazy egg’ uses ‘show me my heat map’. This CTA works well because it hits the right notes. It makes the user aware how risk-free is trying out Crazy egg is and it is expressed in simple words too. The website called ‘Less Accounting’ have used the CTA ‘let’s do it!’. A muted color palate is used in the landing page to calm emotions. Even though they are asking to sign up for a free trial of their accounting software, by using ‘let’s do it’, they are actually making it more compelling and exiting.
A good CTA should be able to tell people what to do next. It should contain the same excitement level as the headline or the lead. Back in the old days, people had to be provided with instructions for how to respond. But now, people are comfortable to respond to digital offers. So CTAs can be simplified and simply placed as a button and people are aware of what to do.
There are much more factors which contribute to the effectiveness of a CTA. Placement is a crucial element. The chance for a user to convert at the first view of the website itself is really small. There is no clear cut rule for where the CTA button has to be placed, because that is not how it works. First, the website has to draw the attention of the viewer. This can be done by using compelling headlines, a slider or even a looping video. After attracting the attention, the user has to be filled with interest. By providing more information about your product or your services, it can be achieved. The next step is to make the viewer desire. By offering a discount or presenting new great features, desire can be built. Then comes action. Where the CTA should be placed will depend on these factors, it would make more logical sense if it is placed at the bottom of the page.
As we discussed earlier, size is important. But by size what is actually meant is the relative size and relative spacing of the CTA with the objects around it. Rather than making the button bigger, a balance has to be maintained with size of CTA and white space. Based to this balance, the right color for the CTA can be determined. The color should have good contrast, to pull the viewers’ attention.
An important part which is neglected by most of the websites is ‘post action UX’. This can help you improve your CTAs effectively. While thinking about post action UX, some questions like ‘is it good for you, to complete the sign-up process in several steps?’, ‘how should the response be to a user, who signed up for the newsletter?’, ‘how will the user get back to the page, if the CTA have taken the user to another page’ has to be taken care of.
Even though CTAs are really small in size, if used wisely and creatively, it can make amazing results in conversion. Your website will be transformed to a marketing tool.
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