Inaction. The opposite of something happening. This is exactly what you don’t want for your website or online business. A Call To Action, or CTA, that inspires action can lead to increased engagement, more subscribers, and greater conversions. 

What is a Call To Action?

A CTA is a button (or a part of your copy) that motivates your target audience to take some form of action. It gets people to do something. Online shopping uses CTA’s to get people to ‘Buy Now’, to ‘Purchase” or to “Check out your shopping cart’. But anyone can make effective use of a Call To Action. 

Maybe you want to grow your subscriber list. Or perhaps you want to increase donations. You might just want people to read more, or become better informed. If you want your audience to take action, in any way, you need to provide them with an opportunity to do so. 

But getting people to click a button isn’t as easy as it sounds. For one thing, most of the sites you visit use this tactic. Users have become wary of Special Offers and Limited Time Deals. So you need a fresh and effective approach. 

Creating a CTA

Where and When

There is plenty of discussion over where to place a Call To Action. Some argue it should be above the fold (and therefore visible as soon as you arrive at a page). Others don’t think this makes a significant difference. Some prefer pop-ups. Personally, I find pop-ups distracting and generally I close them before taking the time to read them. 

With Gutenberg and block plugins like Stackable, you can add CTA blocks to your copy, like the example below. Alternatively, you can use pop-ups that appear when someone enters a page, when they’re half way through or when they’re about to leave.

Your Main CTA goes here

Add some text to make your point and get your readers motivated

There are plenty of options – you just need to find out what works for your audience. If you’re not sure what works, do some A/B testing to see what gets the best response. 

Position is probably less important though, than timing. You want the CTA to be placed where it will have the greatest impact. If you want someone to ‘Read more…’ then they need to have read enough to know they want more information. To ‘Buy Now’ you need to first showcase what you’re selling. 

Consider your Audience

Knowing your audience can go a long way towards helping you make the right decisions for placement and timing. But there are some other factors you should consider when it comes to your users. 

People, no matter who they are, don’t have time anymore. Fast-paced interactions are the norm. So whatever you’re offering, make sure it isn’t going to cost anyone their time. Quick results, quick transactions, quick engagements!

Speaking of cost, your audience isn’t likely to want to spend money. If it’s free, or discounted, you’re on the right track. If it’s easy and painless, even better. 

Now you need to convey this in your Call To Action. You need your audience to see what’s in it for them, what the benefits are, while noting that it won’t take up their time or cost them too much. Here are some ideas on how to do that:

Call to Action examples

You can also create a sense of urgency. Nobody wants to miss out out on anything. So make use of this FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out); limit the time frame or the number of items on sale. Make it essential to BUY NOW!

Overall, an enthusiastic results-driven approach to CTA’s works. It shows your audience what they can get by clicking on the button. They need a reason to take action, so give them one. 

Watch your Language

The language you use is probably one of the most important elements of your CTA. It can inspire action, or stop your readers dead in their tracks. 

The tricky thing with a Call to Action is that you need to be concise. You can’t add too much info or your audience will stop reading long before they get to clicking the button. In other words, get to your point quickly. 

The best way to do this is to use direct, actionable language. Giving your users a specific action to take makes it easier for them. Words like ‘Buy’, ‘Play’ or ‘Read’ tell people exactly what you want them to do. It makes the action clear, while avoiding any confusion.

It also helps to use the right pronouns. Have you seen a pop-up promising quick results or a free course, or something along these lines? Then you are given two choices: ‘Yes, sign me up’ or ‘No, I don’t want instant success’.

The words may change, but the sentiment is the same. And it works because it gets you thinking about what you need. Clicking that No button often makes you pause and reconsider. Don’t I want instant success? Don’t I want to learn more, be more or do more? The use of first person pronouns makes it personal and it makes people think consider the answer. 

Make it look amazing

Your CTA’s appearance is another important factor. You can have the best wording in the world, but if it doesn’t stand out it won’t get any clicks. 

There’s some debate over which colour buttons work best, but all you’re really looking for is a colour that stands out. Use a colour that contrast with the background. If you’re using a picture, make sure it stands out and adds emphasis to your CTA (rather than just looking pretty).

When it comes to the button itself, go for something that looks like a button. Don’t make it difficult for your users to figure out where to click. You need to make your button clickable. 

Use numbers. Have a big 50% off or make the 1/2 price stand out. Promos, percentages and other numbers are eye-catching and appealing. They’re sure to grab your audiences’ attention and help you convert. 

Some final tips…

Your Call To Action should be emotive and encourage your readers to take action, whatever that may be. Get creative, keep your ideas fresh and original, but most of all, make sure it is clear what you want your audience to do. 

On that note, stick to one main CTA. Too many choices and your audience will be left feeling overwhelmed, and probably opting out of taking any action.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t have a secondary CTA: ‘Sign up now! Already a member? Login to continue reading’. The Call To Action is to sign up or register. But for people who have already done so, there’s a second, relevant CTA. This way you’re not losing any existing clients, and your appeals are both applicable to the action you want people to take. 

Keep your Call to Action fresh and relevant to your audience. Make it stand out and be clear about what action you want people to take. And remember to use A/B testing to figure out what works. Most of all, use your CTA to inspire action. 

Featured image by Ash Edmonds on Unsplash

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