A New Approach to Calls-to-Action
We all know that call-to-actions are meant to encourage website visitors to take a required action. It is one of the techniques involved in conversion optimisation and it is a win-win situation. The visitor receives something they value and we in turn, have a new customer or subscriber.
The problem is that call-to-actions don’t always work and there is a huge industry based around optimising call-to-actions. Maybe however, the simplest way to optimise call-to-actions is to re-evaluate their purpose, so we can craft them to better suit the needs of our customers.
Instead of thinking of your call-to-actions as a directive, aimed at increasing your conversions or as an order that tells your visitors what to do, what if you craft your call-to-actions in such a way as to focus on the needs of your visitor?
This may be a bit left brained here, but with a few examples you should get the hang of it:
- Order vs. Invite: Avoid telling visitors to ‘Submit Now’, ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Click Here’. These are impersonal commands that do nothing to foster engagement or to promote the benefits received by your visitor, if they do as you command.
The key here is to make it all about them and what they receive, so try and tie in the call-to-action to something they want, for example:
- See My Results
- Order My New Book
- Start My Free Trial
- Get My Customised Report
- Estimate My Monthly Savings
- Information vs. call-to-action: If the call-to-action is for the visitor to request more information or to fill out forms, then instead of a call-to-action button in the body of your page or in the sidebar, make it more important and place it in the menu.
This comes across as more of an ‘option’ for your visitor if they want more information, rather than a command or a directive. It is much more user-friendly, to think of their needs rather than as a ploy to increase conversions. So consider including a new menu item ‘Next Step’ or ‘More information’ in your menu.
- Lengthy vs. instant: Don’t make visitors fill out lengthy forms just to receive their free download or quote. People don’t like filling out forms and unless you are giving them something extremely valuable, they are unlikely to comply. So simplify your call-to-actions by asking your visitor for the absolute minimum information. Just don’t forget to also invite them to click the call-to-action (once they have given you their email address and a few other essential details) by making use of the personal call-to-actions mentioned above.
- One vs. many call-to-actions: In some cases, visitors can select different categories within a call-to-action. For example, to check out the price of second hand cars, a visitor can select by brand or type (sedan, 4WD, sports etc.) or for the median house prices, they can select different suburbs.
The point is to make these choices obvious to the visitor, so it is clear how they can take the next step or make their next selection. Don’t just give them a set of links to choose from – give them well defined options.
Call-to-actions are so easy to get wrong, but the one thing to remember is that they are not a call to battle, they should not come across as a command or a directive. The best call-to-actions are focused on helping visitors or customers to fulfil their needs, with conversion optimisation a secondary, but just as vital goal.
Finally, one of the best strategies you can use is to test different versions of your call-to-actions, using A/B testing. As a website owner, A/B testing will help you optimise your call-to-actions for both your customer and for your bottom line.
Co-founder of Cornerstone and web junkie, Michael knows just how to diagnose your online problems and remedy the issue. An online enthusiast who believes in technology as an enabler of growth, Michael worries about all the details so you don't have to.