The objective of a Call to Action (CTA) is pretty self-evident. We’ve all been around the Internet a few times. We’re all familiar with the fact that when we visit a website, pretty much any website, at some point or another, we’re going to be asked to take some sort of action. Buy something. Sign up for a newsletter. Give our prominent social endorsement through a like or a pin. So why, when it comes time to design CTAs for our own sites, do we draw a complete blank and all too often stick with the bland and ineffective “Click Here” or “Download This?”
Fact is, most people don’t really think too hard about the CTAs on their sites or in their emails. They have their web designers set up whatever makes the most sense and is the easiest to create and then they move on. But with a little thought and consideration, you can craft CTAs that truly speak to your prospective clients and will radically increase your conversion rates.
CTA Goals And Objectives
First of all, let’s think long and hard about the goals and objectives for your CTAs. What exactly are you asking your readers to do? Why do you want them to take that action? Depending on where your reader happens to be in your marketing sales funnel, the objectives of your CTAs are going to vary. Are you looking to gather email addresses? Trying to turn them into warm leads? Do you just want to inform them? Keep the goal in mind as you craft your CTA to make sure that it makes sense and that you’re driving the action you need. Having a “Sign Up Today” CTA at the very start of your marketing sales path doesn’t make any sense and won’t drive any conversions. Instead a “Learn more” CTA might tease your prospect in the right direction.
Second, let’s consider what the benefit will be to the person clicking on your CTA. These days, people are constantly being asked for information so they’re getting more savvy about when it’s really worth giving it away. The wrong CTA at the wrong time is easy to pass up. The right CTA with something compelling in the offing is much harder to ignore.
CTA Best Practices
A great CTA is actionable in a clear and concise way. Bonus points if your brand personality shines through. You only get a few words, so you really have to make the best of them.
1) START WITH AN ACTION WORD.
People don’t always read everything you give them to read and they like to be told what to do. Or, rather, they like to know what’s expected of them. So, “We just published a brilliant white paper that will change your life” doesn’t let the reader know that they’re supposed to do something. “Download our new Whitepaper” does.
Consider what you’re asking your visitors or readers to do, and then ask them to do just that. Make sure the action word you choose invokes some sort of emotional response like excitement, urgency, or fear of missing out.
2) DON’T BEAT AROUND THE BUSH
It might feel a little crass to be bold by ordering prospective clients to take action, but, trust us, they’ll thank you. First, it makes you seem confident about what you’re offering, and second, it saves everyone time.
Avoid “We’d be grateful if you’d consider downloading our infographic” and choose “Download our infographic now.” Concrete demand that motivates a concrete response.
3) MAKE IT INFORMATIVE
Quick question for you. How many tabs do you currently have open? How many tabs do you think your readers have open? Probably quite a few, which means that you’re competing hard to keep their attention. What do you have to offer that will ensure they click on your CTA rather than clicking on the next tab they have open in their browser? Not only does any CTA you craft need to be actionable, but it really needs to clearly showcase what will happen when the reader takes that action.
“Start saving money today” leaves little doubt as to what will happen when the prospects clicks through. “Plans and Pricing” is a whole lot more vague.
4) BE CLEVER AND PERSONABLE
Is your SaaS company relaxed and fun? Formal and businesslike? Are you speaking to farmers? Engineers? Rocket scientists? Just because a CTA has to be concise doesn’t mean that it can’t reflect your company’s core personality. In fact, it really truly should. Pick colors that speak to your particular audience and words that will resonate and your CTA will convince more of them that the invitation to act really is meant for them.
5) BE TIME SENSITIVE
Yes, it seems almost too clichéd to even consider, but there’s a reason many people use words that infer a sense of urgency when crafting CTAs. People need to be moved to act and to act sooner rather than later. If not, they’ll happily put off until tomorrow what can be avoided today. “Now” “Today” “Before it’s too late” are all good incentives to get people clicking.
6) GET THEM TO ENGAGE
There’s a new trend popping up that we highly encourage you to try. Instead of a simple CTA button that people need to click in order to get to a form that will then get them to what you’ve offered, consider having a form field embedded in the CTA. But don’t just use the form field to ask for their email (unless the goal is to sign up for your newsletter), instead, use the form field to start a conversation with them. Ask about their biggest pain point. Ask them to answer a question that you will then answer or address when they click. People can rarely resist answering an easy question (why else would Facebook quizzes do so well?) and they’re more likely to keep a conversation going than to start a fresh one on a new page.
If your SaaS offers an email organization solution, maybe consider asking how many emails they receive in a day and then take them to a page that explains how you reduce that number to something manageable. If your service is all about simplifying scheduling, ask how many times they’ve double-booked themselves. Etc. Whatever you do, think of a simple to answer question that kicks off the conversation. You’ll be amazed at the response.