6 Steps To More Compelling “Calls-to-Action”

You see them all over the web:

  • “Sign Up for This Amazing Webinar”
  • “Get on Our Newsletter List Here”
  • “Reserve Your Copy of This Special Report”You want your prospects to know what to do next with these call to action tips

They are the directives that are intended to move you along a marketing funnel, ultimately most often having some kind a sale or transaction as the goal.  In other words, their job is to help you take the next step toward becoming a customer.

You do use them right?  I hope you are not sending out marketing messages (in any form) without clear calls to action.  If you are, you are confusing your prospects, you are leaving it up to them to try to figure out what they are supposed to do next.  Have fun with that.  Well, we’ll deal with that in another post.

For now, let’s assume you are using calls to action, and you would like to improve their effectiveness.

Point #1: Make sure that you are abundantly clear on what any given marketing message or piece is intended to accomplish.  Really, apply that ever useful rule of starting from the goal and working back to the start.  So, before you create a video piece to put on YouTube, answer the question: “What do I want the viewer to do after watching this?”  Once you know what they are being led to do, you will be able to create a more effective piece and call to action.


Point #2: To the greatest extent possible, never have more than one call to action visible at a time.  Remember, you are looking to make your prospect’s next action as clear to them as you possibly can.  Giving them “dueling” calls to action on the same page water’s down their effectiveness and can lead to confusion.  (When I say confusion – it’s not that the prospect is sitting there at your web site and saying: “Duh – I’m confused!  What should I do?”.  It’s unlikely that an indistinct path to action will raise that level of mental gridlock, but subconsciously, they just aren’t really focused on what they should do – and in those cases, users generally do one thing:  Nothing.)

If you must present the user with multiple paths forward, use graphical aids to establish the most desirable path.  (Bigger button, bolder color, etc.)


Point #3: Research shows that at least for the English language, top left of page is best placement for your opt in call to action.  That said, studies have also shown that putting it in the same place can make it lose its “visibility” to repeat visitors – it is as if they get inured to the presence of your calls to action if they are always in the same place.  So, mix it up on your pages.  Just be sure to keep them “above the fold” (no scrolling!).


Point #4: Use “white space” accordingly.  If the call to action doesn’t have a very direct connection to the content on the page, put more space between the call to action and the other page content.  If the call to action is actually very much married to the content – than less white space.  Oh, and warmer colors – reds or oranges – feel “closer” to the reader than cooler colors like blue or green.


Point #5: Create visual contrast using color, button/graphic size, and visually different fonts for greater effect.  A color that is strikingly different than the rest of the page will command more attention, as will an over sized button.  Use discernment of course – screaming purple or pink does indeed attract attention, but it may not be the kind you want.


Point #6: Measure and track results.  Do A/B testing  Create your page, and then create a duplicate where the only difference is the call to action.  Use Google’s Website Optimizer with the pages to see which call to action is more effective.  After an appropriate amount of time, discard the lesser call to action and set up a new test pair using the winner against a new variation.  Keep repeating, hopefully seeing your click-through rates improving as you go.

Perhaps you are already doing some of these things.  There are more ways to do your best to “stack the cards” in your favor, and I will keep sharing them here as I learn them myself, so be sure to get on one of our email lists so that you don’t miss out!

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