When you think about it, we sign up for things all the time on the Internet. Spotify, Evernote, email lists, Amazon shipments and rewards programs all rely on one thing: a call to action. Chances are, if you have done anything important on a website, it’s because the website asked you to.
What do we mean when we talk about a “call to action?” Calls to action are responses you want your site visitors to complete. They may be buttons or links on your site that prompt the user to take some specified action. This may be as simple as providing you with some information, signing up for an email newsletter or even scheduling a consultation visit. The ultimate result of an effective call to action is to improve the conversion rate for your site, to change a site visitor from one who merely browses to one who is actively engaged.
Why do you need a call to action?
A good call to action is often overlooked because a site’s intended response is often assumed to be obvious by the site owner. If the marketing site for your office is advertising your services, it should be obvious that you want your site visitors’ business. But do you actually ask them for it on the site itself? In obvious terms?
Calls to action give the site a rationale for existence. If marketing is the site’s purpose, then asking your users to take specific actions is a good way to measure the success of your site. If you aren’t getting much office activity resulting from your website, chances are your main call to action could be improved.
Calls to action are also crucial for any marketing site because they add focus and direction to your site. Internet users often wander aimlessly around a website (and only for a few minutes) until they find something they might not have even known they were looking for. Actually, asking your users to make the first step in forming a relationship with you is a great way to move the relationship forward.
Writing good calls to action
Here are a few tips that will help become more intentional about your calls to action.
- Focus on a clear benefit. Why should anyone go into business with you? What is a problem that you can help them fix? Focusing on your strategic advantage will encourage users to say “yes” to your call to action.
- Be clear! Avoid ambiguous or overly technical language that may confuse your site visitors. Concise language can be descriptive and persuasive if crafted with intention.
- Location, location, location. Place your call to action high up on your site, and use a large font. You don’t want anything this important to slip by someone’s line of sight.
- Go for the multiplier. Having the same (or similar) call to action on every page of your site adds a level of consistency and urgency that is hard to miss.
- Use good tools. Relying on the useful tools that come with your content management system can be part of your “ask” in your call to action. Signing up for eNewsletters or using a lead generator is a great way to ask your site visitors to take one step forward.