How, when and where to use CTAs (calls to action) on your website

February 6, 2020 / Web Design

We all want more conversions, whether that be growing our email list, booking discovery calls or selling products. Our websites aren’t working if they’re not driving our visitors to take action. Every page on your website should include a well-crafted call to action or CTA designed to drive your website visitors to connect with you in some way. Today we’re going to get clear on what calls to action are, common mistakes you should avoid and how to create irresistible messages that work for your business.

What is a Call to Action

A call to action is an invitation for a user to take some desired action. It’s the sentence, button or form that closes the deal. It’s the part of your web page that all other content leads up to; it needs to be relevant, stand out and relate to your business goals. Call to action buttons should be found on all pages of your website; they may be in a banner, in the sidebar, or even in or above the navigation.

Why you Need CTAs

When used successfully a CTA will develop your relationship with your customer and maximize the chance of conversations now and in the future. All CTAs involve a conversion, which is getting your customer to respond in a certain way to the information you’ve given them.

Many businesses simply add a basic “sign up here” CTA on the end of their page and these often fail to drive conversions. You put a ton of time, energy and perhaps money into crafting your message, your content and your offer just to slap a half-hearted call to action on the end of it.

What you need is a strong message that convinces people to act. Tell someone what to do, why they should and motive them to do it, this is the stuff of high-converting calls to action.

Common CTA Mistakes

Not Using a CTA

Having no CTA buttons on your website is a completely missed opportunity! Not only are you missing out on connection with your potential clients but you’re leaving your website visitors stranded. If a visitor gets to the end of your page and there’s no clear path to some other content, to sign up for more or connect with you in some way then they are going to leave and probably won’t return. 

Too Many Calls to Action

Be careful of adding in too many different actions, we all like simplicity so keep it simple. Decide on the most important action you want your website visitors to take, guide them to do it and make it irresistible. 

Your homepage may have of a few CTAs that lead off to different parts of your website or social media but you should still have one definitive and clear CTA, the most important action visitors should take and it should stand out amongst any others.

CTAs That Aren’t Relevant

Customers are used to seeing and actively using CTA buttons, even if they aren’t aware of what the definition of a CTA is. They will come across these buttons on most websites they visit. Your customers will have come to expect your buttons to follow a familiar pattern, such as: If you are offering a subscription to your newsletter, your button needs to be phrased in a way that it is obvious the reader will receive a newsletter for no cost. A good example of this would be ‘Grab a Free Copy’. By keeping your CTAs relevant you will see a higher conversion rate and increase customer engagement.

Hiding Your CTA – It Doesn’t Stand Out

Consider the placement of your CTA button, place it with intent and at a size that is big enough to be noticeable without looking out of place with the rest of your content. Another consideration is the design of your button, if it’s hidden in your content or doesn’t stand out then you’ll get less engagement. 

Technical Failure – Your CTA Doesn’t Work

Having a CTA that doesn’t work, defeats the purpose of the button entirely and could lead to customers bouncing off your page completely. Broken links can be frustrating and could cost you an interaction with a vital customer, always update your links and spot check all your buttons, forms and links on a variety of devices.

How to Create Irresistible Calls to Action on Your Website

Core Messages that Make Website Visitors Take Action

Consider your action text carefully, ‘Submit’, ‘Click Here’ or other words that lack priority will lead to low conversion rates. Alternative choices could be ‘Get Started’ or ‘Join Free’ or ‘Get a % off’, all of these phrases demand action and remind clients what they’re getting for engaging with you. The most important message to take from this list is make it relevant! Decide on your core message for each page, what do you want the client to do, as this will help guide you in the word choices you should be using. You want to put pressure on your customers – use a strong declarative sentence and summarize the benefits for maximum effect. 

Putting Your Calls to Action in the Right Places

The location of your CTA is vital, always attempt to add your button at the decision making point in your content and at the bottom of the page if your content is long. This will command your customers’ attention at the right place and also entice customers who haven’t yet decided if they want to commit to your CTA.

Make Your Website CTA Stand Out

The main function of your CTA button is for your customer to engage further into your business, don’t make this a difficult task as the button is there to benefit you! By making your CTA bold and brightly colored or even simply adding a shaded border could make all the difference to your success. Make your button appealing and obvious in the hierarchy of your text, using it as a focal point for the section. Make sure you keep your buttons formatted the same for brand continuity, including the same font and color choices.

Make Sure your Email, Contact Form or Sign Up is Working

Although it seems like an obvious point – testing out your CTA is perhaps the most critical item on this list. Always give your button a test drive, whether you have used your CTA on an email/contact form, a newsletter subscription or product purchase. One last thing to test is any links you send out, make sure they are working and directing to webpages correctly.