All websites, blogs and articles must include a “CTA” or a “Call to Action” statement. It is important to generate leads, conversions and ROI.
What is a Call to Action Statement or CTA?
A call to action is an instruction to your reader to perform a certain action in order to produce a pre-determined desired result.
A great “Call to Action” or “CTA” statement should make the reader feel compelled to follow that instruction.
These are the statements that you find accompanying most advertisements.
Statements like these below.
“Click here” or,
“Buy now” etc…
CTA’s can typically be found as,
- Buttons on web pages or blogs,
- Anchor text,
- Buttons or links in emails, &,
- In social media posts
Why is a CTA Important?
It is quite easy to ask the reader to do something but quite difficult to make them want to do it.
A “Call to Action” statement is sometimes the sole reason why a particular article or content was even written.
If you have written an exhaustive review about a product or service then it is most likely that you want people to subscribe or buy that product.
Why is a Call to Action or CTA required?
All digital marketing campaigns, websites and blogs must generate ROI. Right? That is the goal of any blog post or article on any website.
There is no point in waxing eloquent about a product in a wonderfully well written review, seo optimized and all if, at the end of the day you cannot get the reader to buy.
So an effective and powerful CTA is necessary to get the reader to take the desired action like signing up for your mailing list or purchasing your product.
Make no mistake, it does not matter how well written your blogs are, how compelling and enticing your offers are if you are failing to get your readers to take the desired action.
A powerful CTA is necessary if you have to create ROI or generate revenue.
What are the Techniques for an Effective CTA?
An effective CTA must draw attention to itself and present a compelling argument to buy.
So, how do you achieve your objective of drawing attention to your CTA?
More importantly, how do you instill that sense of urgency and and make your audience want to follow your CTA?
Make no mistake, this is no easy task.
Some of the ways to make your CTA effective are listed below.
- Offer free stuff (like a free trial).
- Use action words
- Offer benefits.
- Create a sense of urgency.
- Create a sense of scarcity.
- Offer instant gratification.
- Offer exclusivity.
- Make it pop.
Let us discuss each one in detail.
Offer a Free Trial.
Nothing can beat a free trial when it comes to showcasing to your customers the value that your product can offer them.
The more the customer uses the product and can see for themselves the value proposition, the more likely they are to turn into paying customers.
This approach is much better than asking the customer to buy the product after the initial approach itself. Chances are they are still not ready to buy as they may still have unanswered objections which can be addressed as they try the product themselves.
Care must be taken not to lose the customer at the end of the trial period.
Various touch points must be established at different times during the course of the trial period to highlight the various benefits of the product and prodding the customer to highlight any issues or difficulties that they may be facing.
Offer a limited time discounted special offer at the end of the free trial to encourage users to sign up.
Use Action Words.
Use action words like “Click”, “Join”, “Start” etc.
The goal of an effective CTA is to push your readers to take action.
Action words like the ones above do exactly that.
Let us consider some examples.
A website that offers a technique that promises to make you better at stock trading and make more money can have a CTA statement that looks like this,
Our course will give you a better understanding of how the stock market works along with tips and tricks that will help you get better at stock trading and make you rich faster – START by joining today.
Here, the action word “START” helps build the expectation that the process of getting better at stock trading and subsequently getting richer is put into motion or started by clicking the CTA button.
Similarly, other action words have the same effect e.g.,
STOP – to stop something undesirable,
GET – initiate the process to get something valuable,
GROW – initiate growth (personal, fiscal, etc.)
Offer a Benefit.
One of the most common human responses when asked to do something is, “What’s in it for me?”.
Most people will initiate an action only when they see a possible benefit as a result of doing it. In other words, your CTA will have to explicitly show some benefits that accrue from following the CTA.
Nothing works better in this case than giving away something valuable in return for free.
Something like “Get the Free Ebook” or “Get the 30 days Free Trial” often works very well.
“FOMO” or “Fear Of Missing Out” is deeply rooted in the human psyche.
Smart marketers must endeavor to use this to their benefit. No one likes to lose a great deal so if the reader thinks that they will miss out, it will force them to take action before it’s too late.
Something like “The first 50 readers get 50% off” or “Get the special deal, only for today”, works fine.
Create a Sense of Scarcity.
The is closely related to the taxtic of creating urgency above as scarcity creates urgency.
If people believe that your offer may run out, they will be more likely to take action.
A call to action (CTA) to get visitors to enroll in an online course might say “Join now – Only 25 seats left”.
Offer Instant Gratification.
It is a universal truth that no one likes to wait. So a CTA statement that promises instant gratification is bound to work very well.
This works well for online products like software, music, images or files.
A common but effective CTA statement is something like “Download Now” which enables the reader to download instantly.
Most of us like to think that we are somehow different or better than others.
The opportunity to belong to an exclusive group is very tempting and powerful.
A CTA that leverages this can be very effective.
A CTA statement like “Join our exclusive club” can be a very effective tool to increase conversions.
Make it POP.
There are three things that are important to make a really effective CTA.
- Design, &,
For a CTA to be effective, it must be possible for the visitor to spot it without too much effort and once it is found the message (and benefit) is found, it carries much be crystal clear so the visitor knows instantly what action to take.
The placement of the CTA button or link on the page is very important in order for it to be effective.
It should be eye catching, easy to find and preferably placed above the fold so that it is one of the first things that a visitor notices even before they start to scroll.
There can and should be many CTA’s on a single page so even if the visitor misses out in locating a few, there are others that can grab their attention.
But be mindful not to confuse the reader with multiple or conflicting messages.
Just as you must use multiple CTA’s on a single page, you should also make it a point to have CTA’s on every single page of your website or blog.
Since most people scan webpages instead of reading every single word on the page you should try a include CTA’s at different positions of the page.
Some on the right hand side (in the side panel), others the middle and some on the left hand side and on different levels of the page and become visible as the visitor scrolls.
There is no perfect position for the CTA to be most effective so experiment with various positions and A/B test your pages until you arrive at the most optimal solution.
The CTA, whether in the form of a button or a link, should be well defined and recognisable>
It should look like it is meant to be clicked which is why CTA’s in the form of buttons are very effective and popular.
While the CTA should flow with the rest of the text… it should also stand apart.
Experiment with various shapes, sizes, colors and fonts until you are satisfied.
There is not one color that can increase the effectiveness of the CTA, but make sure the colors are contrasting enough to make the CTA stand out.
There is some research which favors red colored CTA buttons and if it fits in with your overall color scheme there is no harm in using it.
For a CTA to be effective, the message it carries must be clear.
The reader must not be in any doubt as to what happens after they click.
The way the message is delivered also makes a huge difference in conversions.
Firefox did an experiment with the message on the CTA button on their landing page and found an increase in downloads when they changed the message on the CTA button to “Download Now – Free” instead of “Try Firefox 3”.
This is because the message “Download Now – Free” is very clear, you are asking the visitor to download the software and also letting them know that it is free.
The alternative message which elicited a lessor response namely “Try Firefox3” is confusing for a number of reasons,
- It does not mention that the download is free, so the visitor may hesitate to click if they feel that they may be directed to a payments page soon after clicking.
- The word “try” puts a doubt in the mind that maybe this is just a trial or timebound version hence again creating hesitation to click.
This just goes to prove that a simple message that is straight to the point is a much more effective way to increase coversions.
Which is also the reason why you should never use a CTA statement like “Click Here”, because you are asking the visitor to do something without explaining the consequences or benefits that will accrue if they click.
Where Should You Place CTA Statements?
One obvious place to have a CTA is your landing page. Even here place it above the fold, so it is noticed easily without the visitor having to scroll.
CTA statements and buttons can be used on,
- Landing Pages
- Pop Ups
- Web Pages
- Blog Posts
- Social Media Posts
So go ahead and use CTA statements and buttons to convert your visitors into leads and get them to subscribe or even become your paying customers.
Remember that a great CTA statement has to be accompanied by supporting text to reinforce and make them effective.
To write effective supporting text or simply super effective blog posts, I suggest that you refer to these two blog posts.
How to write attention grabbing headlines.
How to write a great blog post in 7 easy steps.