If you have a website, you have a call to action (CTA) (whether you realize it or not). At the most basic level, a CTA is a design element that entices the visitor to take a certain action, whether it’s signing up for an email list or purchasing a product.
And there’s no such thing as a successful marketing campaign without a successful call to action.
Leads, conversions, profits, and even repeat sales all rely on CTAs. If you haven’t been paying much attention to what messages you’re sending out, it’s time to start. We’ve put together this simple soup-to-nuts guide on CTAs, what they are, and how to use them.
Let’s get going!
What is a Call To Action?
A call to action is a prompt on a website that urges the reader to take a specific action. It’s typically written as a command, such as “Buy Now!” or “Click Here to Sign Up” and takes the form of a button or hyperlink (amongst other things).
The key is, the reader should feel obligated to act immediately. Whatever the CTA looks like, it should compel the reader to do something right away.
Why Are CTAs Important?
A call to action lets your readers know what they should do next. For example, if there is a CTA at the bottom of your blog posts encouraging readers to sign up for your newsletter, may prompt them to do so. However, without that CTA, they’re likely to leave the site without completing any other tasks.
A call to action makes the steps you want them to take clear – and there doesn’t have to be just one. If there are multiple desired actions for your audience, there can also be multiple calls to action.
Types of Calls to Action
Here’s a list of some of the most common types of calls to action so that you can find the one that fits your website and specific needs:
One of the first things you want to do with your website is to convert a one-time visitor into a potential lead for your business. Generally speaking, you want to put these CTAs in a spot that will be quickly seen by the visitor, such as a header at the top of the site or a sidebar that is visible as soon as they open the page.
Others have started to use pop-up windows that cover the text of the main page with messages such as “Learn More About How to Run Your Website Effectively.” By stating exactly what they will get out of this call to action, you are increasing your chances that the visitor will click through.
The next step to adding these visitors to your lead list is to have them sign up with your website. This call to action should include a detailed description of what benefits they will get if they sign up for your newsletter. If you are offering monthly investment tips or weekly Internet security tips, then let them know what they will get by entering their information and hitting the submit button.
If you are posting a blog or long content pieces, you will not be able to keep people scrolling down through page after page of text. Instead, you want to split these into multiple pages, preferably with a chunk that is only about one screen long. Here, the “call to action” is in the form of a “Continue Reading” or “Read More” arrow button that moves them on to the next page.
Once your visitors have finished reading your blog, you need to prompt them to share this great content with their friends. This means providing them with a call to action that encourages sharing this post on social media. You should make sure to include social media buttons to help aid with this.
Call To Action Examples
If you’ve ever visited a website, you’ve seen a CTA. Often, they blend seamlessly into the design, so you may not even consciously notice them. Some common examples include:
- Sign up for our newsletter
- Share on social media
- Read more
- Support our sponsor
- Purchase this product
- Add to wishlist
As you can see, a call to action usually encourages the reader to take an action they were likely to take anyway, so they don’t really come off as blatant marketing or sales pitches, but more like a helpful reminder.
Where to Place CTAs
Where you place your call-to-action depends a lot on what type of call-to-action it is. Usually, CTAs can be lumped into two main categories:
A soft CTA is when you ask someone to take an action that isn’t your main desire but is a step towards it. For example, if your end goal is to make a sale, you might start by asking them to sign up for your email newsletter list. You might follow that up with another soft CTA within the newsletter, asking them to sign up for a free webinar. Each step serves as an opportunity to get them more interested in your product and should, ultimately, lead to a purchase.
On a website, soft CTAs make more sense below the fold, while hard CTAs should be placed above. Why? Soft CTAs give you the opportunity to spread your message throughout your content, depending on where it makes the most sense. For example, you might include internal backlinks to related content within your blog posts, or insert a button for a free consultation at the bottom of your newsletter. The goal is to keep visitors interested in your content and moving around your website so they can continue to learn more.
Hard CTAs assume that the visitor is already aware of the product and ready to buy. There is no need to keep them bouncing around your website, looking at additional content: they arrived knowing that they want to make a purchase and you just need to facilitate that.
However, if the average person is just interacting with your blog or website for the first time, they are not very likely to make an immediate purchase. They’re not familiar with your brand or the benefits your product offers, so by jumping straight the sale, you’re missing out on the opportunity to convert more people.
In a nutshell: if there is content somewhere, you can include a call to action.
To truly determine the effectiveness of your CTAs and which location works best, you need to perform A/B testing. Running an A/B test simply means using two or more versions of the same ad in different ways and then analyzing the results. So, for example, you may place the same call to action in the sidebar and within the text of a blog post, and then use analytics to determine which one performed better.
A Note on Mobile Devices
63% of all website visits today happen on a mobile device. That means it’s an audience you can’t ignore. And mobile visitors want convenience and simplicity. They want to find what they’re looking for quickly, without scrolling or bouncing from page-to-page. When it comes to your mobile website, it makes sense to place CTAs in a clearly visible location, higher up on the page.
Do I Need CTAs on my Website?
A good CTA will help move a visitor along through your sales funnel, leading them to other relevant information and keeping them engaged. Over time, this engagement could lead to further action, such as a sale or referral.
Might they end up in that place on their own without a CTA? Sure. But it’s a lot less likely.
Without a call to action, your reader is left to fend for themselves and navigate your website on their own. And without you to encourage further action, the odds are high that they’ll quickly leave to go look at something else.
How to Create a Persuasive CTA
There are several methods you can use for creating a CTA. Below are some of the elements we’ve found most useful:
- Good design: This should go without saying. If you want a reader to take action, you need to make your CTA attractive. Everything from colors, to shape, to size matters.
- Actionable text: Make the next move clear. For example, instead of “click here if you’d like to learn more about WordPress,” write “Learn WordPress.”
- Keep it short: A call to action should be no more than a few words, not an entire paragraph, or even a sentence.
- High visibility: Lastly, draw your readers’ attention directly to your CTA. If it’s a hyperlink within a blog, make it a different color and bold the text. If it’s a button, make sure it contrasts with the rest of the page and it’s large enough to draw attention.
In the end, a CTA can get readers to take an action, or help turn your visitors into leads, leads into prospects, and prospects into sales. CTA placement depends on your goals and what action you want your audience to take. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. If you want your readers to take action, it helps to offer a guiding hand.
For more information on how you can make CTAs a part of your WordPress website, contact our design team today. Whether you want to do it on your own or need a little help, they can show you the way.