Your site’s call to action (CTA) can make or break your conversion rates. The effort and cost to drive traffic to your site bites into your marketing budget. If visitors don’t convert into leads, you risk throwing money away and not growing your business.
Improving the CTAs on your website is one of the most powerful things you can do to drive growth in 2023. How can you know if your CTAs are strong or weak?
There are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States alone. The vast majority have websites. No matter how you slice it, you’re competing for the attention of a limited pool of users. You must grab people’s attention, keep it and convert them into customers before they bounce away to some other distraction.
If you’re convinced how important your site CTA is, here are the main things to keep in mind to improve yours in the coming year:
What is the singular goal of your website? When visitors land on your page, what action do you want them to take? Conversions can take many forms. You can ask people to learn more, share an email or place an order.
Joy is a razor and blade refill service. The landing page has the user indicate how often they shave to indicate delivery schedules and then asks you to “add to cart.” By getting right to the point, the site saves both the customer time and their bandwidth.
Think through the shape you’d like to use for your CTA and how it meshes with the rest of your site’s design. A simple rectangle works well on a simplistic site. However, you may want to slightly round the edges if you need a softer look.
Consider what contrasts and draws attention. Try different options until you find the one your target audience responds to.
You have to give site visitors a reason to share their information. Give away a free ebook, offer a webinar, schedule a free demo or give a huge discount if they share their name and contact information.
Recipe Costing offers a free demo for those interested in using their restaurant software to plan out food costs. Their target audience is restaurant owners. They know busy small businesses need an all-in-one management system. The best way to show the capabilities of their software is to let people try it before they buy it. Once they have contact information, they can follow up.
Create a strong CTA by turning to action verbs. Don’t just use something generic, such as “click here.” Instead, seek out the results of the action. For example, you might write: “Get a Free Demo,” “Download Sales Guide” or “Get 10% Off Coupon.”
You should think through every word on your CTA button. You can use either first person or second person to personalize the language a bit. Try both and conduct some split testing to see which one your audience responds to best.
You want site visitors to click on your CTA button while they’re on your site. If they leave, you have no way of knowing if they’ll return. You risk losing at least some of them if you don’t get them to convert while they’re on your page.
Start a ticking clock on your CTA to get people to take action immediately. You might use words such as “limited time,” “offer expires soon” or “strike now.” The idea is to show the user the offer isn’t going to stick around forever so they better act.
An Event Apart is a UX and design conference held in San Francisco. Note the language on their CTA, which says “Capacity Is Limited–Register Now!” Several things create a sense of urgency.
First, since there is a limit on the number of registrations, the user knows the conference might fill up if they don’t register right away. The word “now” also sets a time frame on the action. Even the exclamation point at the end of the phrase creates pressure.
What is the unique value proposition (UVP) of your website? Think about your UVP through the eyes of your user. What makes your brand unique in a way that customers care about? Perhaps you have the best customer service around. How does that directly impact your buyer?
Give your users a reason to click on the CTA. Use your headlines, text and images to point the way toward the next step in the buyer’s journey.
Your CTA button needs to stand out but also should look like it’s part of the rest of your design. How can you achieve a button that looks like the rest of your site but still contrasts with it? Use colors that pop from the background but stick with similar looks, such as ovals or squares. The tone and language of your site should also mesh well together.
If you aren’t sure if your CTAs match the rest of your landing page, ask your site visitors for some input. You can also conduct multivariate testing to see what different audience segments respond to.
Red Bull repeats the color from their logo in their CTA buttons. They stick to simple, two and three-word commands for the text. The shape repeats the lines of the navigation bar.
Study your competitors’ websites to see how they handle CTAs and what’s effective. You should also visit sites outside your niche. You can gather new ideas from a wide range of industries. Try different tactics, test CTAs and keep what works for your target audience.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.