What is a Call to Action (CTA)?

You’ve probably already clicked on one today without realising it, the Sign-Up button on a Social Media advert, the View More button on the news advert on a website – CTAs are everywhere.

Call to Action
noun

A piece of content intended to induce a viewer, reader, or listener to perform a specific act, typically taking the form of an instruction or directive (e.g. buy now or click here).

Call to action graphic

Why Should I Use CTAs?

You spend time and money getting customer to your social feed, your website or your email newsletter. Maybe you have been content marketing for years and these people have been eating up your content.

You can use a well-placed, clear CTA to turn some of these readers into customers. The right CTA can make all the difference, people expect their journey with you to be easy.

You’re expecting potential customers to think for themselves they like the product you’ve mentioned and then actually find it on your site? You need links, you need buttons, you need to make it simple.

What Makes the Best Call To Action?

One Size Does Not Fit All

Unfortunately, there is no one right answer to this question, as using ‘Buy Now’ for a newsletter sign up is clearly not the right call. What you need to consider here is:

  • What you want the customer to do
  • When you want them to complete that action
  • How to say this simple

So, there are the basics, that’s the root of the ‘Buy Now’ ‘Sign Up Here’ and ‘Contact Us Today’ style buttons that you see all the time. There are some other things to consider with your CTA that we’ll walk you through but at the very least popping one of those at the bottom of your content will boost your conversion rate.

Motivation

You can also motivate your customers, the time element of the above is a start. Maybe your content has some motivation – if there is a succinct way to capture that in your CTA then use it. For example, you are talking about a sale, you could try ‘Shop our Sale Now’. Remember that FOMO (Fear of missing out) is also a great motivator, ‘Buy not while stocks last’ or ‘Sale ends Monday so shop now’ can work for a longer, text link for example.

Length

As we’ve mentioned above the CTA should be stated simply, and all of the classic examples are but a few words long. Your CTA doesn’t have to be short, but it does need to be succinct. Keep it brief, so customers don’t get distracted with unnecessary details and sidebars, but if your content calls for a CTA that’s a whole sentence then that’s your move. This then leads in to presentation – as that will look odd on a button.

Location

There are two key options, at the end of your content or above the fold. If your content isn’t too long and your content is so engaging people are really likely to reach the end, then pop your CTA button/text link/contact form at the bottom.

If people are probably not going to make it to the end then summarise at the top with a CTA, then continue with your content and pop another CTA at the bottom, maybe a longer text link rather than a button.

Advert Type

Which ad type you’re looking for a CTA for makes a big difference, for example a social advert which leaves you short of space and even shorter on customer attention span – you need to be to the point. You’ll be best served by a DO THIS because OF THIS ad content followed by a Learn More, Buy Now style CTA. Depending on the look of your ad, on platforms like Facebook the text below your image can be smaller and less likely to be read, so considering pushing your CTA sentence to the top in the post content to get more attention even though the actual button is lower.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

What Not To Do

As usual, there are many right answers and many wrong ones, with a whole world of CTAs in between. Here’s some things we don’t recommend:

  • Don’t mislead people, a sale, bargain or chance to win something must lead directly to the relevant page unless you want to double your bounce rate
  • Create a CTA button or link that doesn’t stand out – it needs to work with your design but it also needs to be visible at first glance
  • Use the same CTA over and over again – visually that’s quite assaulting
  • Use loads of punctuation or emojis – Buy Now!!!! Looks quite desperate

Test, Test, Test!

There’s no right answer, and the answer you might think is right may not have the best results. If you’re working on an important landing page or an advert that you plan to spend a lot of money on, then test it.

The simplest way to do this on your website is to choose two options, use one until you’ve had a certain amount of website visits then swap to the other, then use your tracking software to tell you the click through rate. If it’s for an email campaign you can set up an A/B test where a small portion of the recipients get each CTA and then the best CTA is selected and used for the rest of your email list.

There’s also software to run A/B tests on your website and plenty of testing possibilities for Social Media and Google Ads.

Too Complicated?

If it all sounds a bit much or too time consuming, then it’s time to outsource your marketing. We are here to help, so if you’d like us to help with your CTAs and improve your conversion rate we can help, we also have retainers available to help with your CRO (conversion rate optimisation) and make improvements every month. Just get in touch for more details.

Posted by Becky Cockman on May 4th 2020

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