Your Call to Action Strategy
posted February 15th 2017, 9:00 am by Hannah Jorgensen
Is it difficult to capture your attention? You may have learned to tune out all the white noise in your life. Banners scream "SALE!" and pop-ups are just those annoying boxes you "x" out of. However, a good marketer knows how to cut through the noise and catch your eye.
A call to action, or CTA, is "a tool calling people to action. Usually in the form of a button or a link, CTAs are used to convert visitors into leads, prompting them to take a specific action," as defined by Vital Design. This may be old news to you, but have you heard of a CRO, which goes hand in hand with CTAs? Well, don't worry: we are going to tell you. Calls to action can be utterly disappointing when they are not used at the right time or at the right place. They are not as simple as they seem and actually take a great deal of preparation and strategy.
Your Call to Action Strategy
As with any marketing strategy, you must begin by setting a few goals. Without defining your goals, you can lose your core message somewhere along the way. Most likely, it is one of your goals to generate and convert leads. You must not only attract online users, but compel them to take the next step. The purpose of a call to action is to prompt engagement with your brand. Of course, not every single person is going to result in a potential customer, but the savviest of marketers understand the power of a strong call to action.
Where, When, and How
"Location, location, location."
It is not enough to design a CTA and drop it onto a web page wherever and whenever you please. Consider the following guidelines.
Where & When to Use CTAs
This location might be the most obvious, and you may be placing CTAs here already. If not - you should! However, it still takes careful consideration, such as which page would be best to place the CTA. It could be a form that users fill out and submit, a free trial, an event, a promotion, or numerous other types of offerings. For example, a CTA for an event could be a button that says "Register for..." in a way that is visually appealing and makes clear the action that the user is supposed to take if they are interested in said event. For a free trial, a CTA would be a graphic that states something along the lines of "Start your free trial of ____ today! Sign up here." These examples are extremely basic, but ones that occur frequently.
CTAs should not all be on the same page of your website. It should relate to the content on that particular page as much as possible. A CTA such as "Contact our sales team for more information about..." might be most natural if placed on the Contact page; or, it might be more appropriate placed by the information that the user is requesting to learn more about. This decision is left to your judgement.
Let's assume that your business has sent out an email for one specific purpose, whether it be to introduce a new product or announce an upcoming event. Be sure that the email contains one call to action, but not more than one. Remember that your readers are busy and will be scanning this email - not examining it for details. In fact, the entire email should essentially be a CTA, with a button for the next step.
Any blog posted should include "Share" buttons for multiple social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. These commonly appear at the bottom of the page. Make it simple for readers to share your wonderful content. A CTA on a blog can also guide readers to other related material, such as other blogs you might have written on similar topics or simply recent blogs.
How to Design Them
A CTA should receive as much attention during its creation as any other element of your website would. At times, simplicity is best. Every offer is different, so every CTA should be different. Basic web design and graphic design rules apply. Make sure the CTA does not blend into the rest of the page. It should be simple yet compelling, with enough interest to grab the users attention, even if they were only skimming the page. Any copy surrounding the CTA should be brief. You may also want to place the CTA above the fold, the place on the computer screen where visitors to your site must scroll down to continue viewing the page. However, CTAs placed on the bottom of the page can also be effective. If users have made it this far, they are already showing a level of interest. Don't forget to test your CTA to make sure it works. You may want to try several CTAs, place it in various locations, and then choose the most effective/appealing one.
CTAs and CRO
Calls to action are simply a way of boosting your CRO - conversion rate optimization. This means that visitors to your website are converted into customers. Sounds pretty good, right? Conversions can happen anywhere on your website, or even on your social media. Further efforts to make these conversions happen are in the best interest of your business, and CTAs are just one way to do so. Not all visitors to your site are the same. Segment potential users and create a CTA for each of these groups. Since they might not all want the same thing, you should immediately present them with the options rather than making them hunt down the information. A CTA that optimizes conversions is one that offers value. How is the CTA helping the user?
In this digital age, your website must be generating leads. In fact, the majority of your customers most likely searched your business or found you online before frequenting a physical location. Your website is your greatest opportunity to generate interest in your business and convert these interested visitors into customers. Calls to action are one of the most effective tools in your lead generation tool belt. Don't let it go to waste!