Why should your website visitors provide their informaiton or purchase something from you? Does your website clearly communicate what you want your visitors to do? We come across far too many website owners that cannot answer these questions and it’s no coincidence that their websites do not convert visitors into leads or sales.

In this article, we are going to teach you how to pick an effective call to action to start getting better results from your website.

How to Pick an Effective Call to Action

What is a Call to Action?

Just having a website, or even driving lots of traffic to it, is not enough to get the return on your marketing investment that your business needs to grow and be competitive online. Today, more than ever, websites must be more creative, genuine and resourceful to produce the results needed to maintain or increase market share.

One of the best ways to remain competitive and get tangible results from your website is to use effective calls to action. A call to action is…

A prominent, targeted statement, offer or question that compels your visitors to convert into a lead or a sale.

Very rarely will come you come across a website that generates a good amount of leads or sales without a strong call to action or two. This is because website visitors need to be enticed, engaged and led down a conversion path. If these elements are missing from your website, then you’re allowing your hard-earned traffic to navigate around aimlessly and left to hope that they will know what to do or remember to come back when they leave.


How to Create a Call to Action

Every business is different, even if you’re in the same industry and location. What makes your business unique, and hopefully better, than your competitor down the street or across the country is your company’s “why”. You cannot expect to gain market share, or remain at the top, without getting people to buy into why you do what you do – as opposed to just what you do.

Better Faster Cheaper

Find Your Why

Once you establish your “why” you can’t stop there though. Now you must articulate your “why” throughout all of your marketing and customer service channels. And the hardest part is doing so on one of your most important assets – your website. Knowing that visitors make decisions about a business within seconds of landing on a website means that your messaging must be clear, concise and properly placed. And last, but not least, it must be very enticing to produce conversions.

This is where an effective call to action comes in.

Tie In Your USP

Knowing your “why” will give you a jump start on determining what your main calls to action are. Another thing that will help is your USP, or unique selling proposition. Your USP should help prospects understand what you do better, faster or cheaper.

Combining your “why” with your USP should get you on the right path to determining your most effective call to action – along with a lot of testing.

NOTE:
A business cannot be better, faster and cheaper than it’s competitors – usually only 1 or 2 of the 3 apply – so please don’t insult your audience by claiming all three as your USP.

Test Different Offers

The best way to solidify an effective call to action is to try different offers and test them against each other. More times than not you will find that the combination of copy, design and placement that you may not have initially thought of will be your best performing one.

To formulate these different offers, the best question to ask yourself is…

What can I offer to my visitors that will encourage them to convert NOW?

An “offer” can be a lot of different things too, such as…

  • Discounts
  • Bundles
  • Information
  • Access
  • Exclusivity
  • Status
  • Rewards
  • Competition
TIP:
 Don’t think about what you want to give away or offer as a business. Instead, think about what your customers and prospects would want and need to be compelled to convert.

Effective Call to Action Examples

Call to Action Examples

Hopefully the three steps provided above will help you make some headway when you’re picking an effective call to action:

  1. Find Your Why
  2. Tie in Your USP
  3. Test Different Offers

Finding and using the perfect call to action is never simple. It takes creativity, patience and a lot of testing. However, we know how much easier it is to get things rolling when there are some ideas to start with. With this in mind, we have provided two great resources for you below:

  1. Examples of Real World, Effective Calls to Action
  2. Bonus Offer: Free Call to Action Examples Worksheet
NOTE:
 Don’t be lazy and just replicate the real world examples or templates we have provided. Many times a call to action’s success will not translate to another business (even if it’s in the same space).

Calls to Action Done Right

Keep it Simple. One of the best examples of a simple, effective call to action is from Dropbox. Their landing page is so simple that the user has almost nothing else to do, but watch a short video on what Dropbox is and then download the application (their primary call to action). The offer is clear, the copy is concise and the CTA itself lets the user know exactly what they’re going to do.

Dropbox Call to Action

Be Specific. Known for their intuitive interface and easy to use products, MailChimp provides another fantastic example of a call to action done right. What makes their primary call to action so effective are their large, specific headlines and use of community to validate their product. This sign up CTA sits prominently on their homepage and helps them convert a large percentage of their visitors into users.

MailChimp Call to Action

Be Giving. One of the best ways to get visitors to convert is to give them something for free. Wistia does this very well, by forming their call to action around their free offer of hosting for 3 videos. This is a great way to reel visitors in and then let the product upsell the customer on its own.

Wistia Call to Action

Make it Painless. Users don’t like making commitments or taking on new obligations. They hate putting in their credit card information or email in fear of committing to a long-term relationship with a company they don’t know that well yet. Sprout Social does a great job with their call to action by removing this fear of commitment and obligation to allow visitors feel more at ease.

Sprout Social Call to Action

Make it Urgent. Although most people don’t like to be pushed sometimes creating a little urgency could create more positive effects than negative ones. Golfsmith does a great job of this by presenting visitors with an enticing call to action of 25% off, but also couples that with some urgency by making the offer only good for a limited time.

Golfsmith Call to Action

Make it Different. If you want your call to action to work, then sometimes it just needs to be different. Small things like humor or sarcasm can make a boring, common call to action stand out and actually capture the visitor’s attention and interest. New York Times Bestselling Author, Ramit Sethi’s site, has a very clever – and different – way of capturing conversions.

I Will Teach You to be Rich Call to Action

Make it Convenient. One of the easiest ways to get conversions is to make the process convenient for your users. Square does an excellent at job of this by allowing visitors to convert by providing their mobile number to get texted a download link for their app.

Square Call to Action


BONUS OFFER

Call to Action Example Template

Creating effective calls to action does not have to be difficult. Get access to our CALL TO ACTION EXAMPLES WORKSHEET for usable templates.

Access the FREE Worksheet


The Best Call to Action is…

We’ve provided a lot of information along with actual examples of effective calls to action that should keep you busy for months.

However, if you want to skip all of the trial and error and start using the best call to action for your business, then here you go…

Provide an amazing product and couple it with even better customer service

Leads and sales will flood in if you’re able to do these two things. Very few companies have nailed this though so testing different calls to action is still necessary. We’ll be the first to admit that we have not perfected this yet either so conversion optimization is a critical element to our marketing strategy – as it should be for yours too.

So, if you’re not there yet either and are ready to start using more effective calls to action, then hopefully this article will get you there. And if you’re looking for some personal attention and help with defining and using effective calls to action, then we are always available to help.

Are you ready to get some professional help with your calls to action?

Yes, Let’s Strategize


Venn diagram courtesy of KarmaBlast

Vinny La Barbera

I’ve been working in online marketing since 2000 and have helped thousands of companies improve their online presence and grow their business through better web / mobile design, development and online marketing. Learn more about me or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn.

  • brendon david

    Great post, guys. The “finding your why” is a great, simple point. It would be interesting to learn how this can be applied at scale.

    • http://www.imforza.com/ imFORZA

      Thanks Brendon!

      When businesses come to us with failed marketing campaigns this is usually the first place we like to start with them. If they can’t talk passionately about their business, then how would we do so for them?

      As far as applying this at scale, assuming you mean for a company with many business units / divisions, then it would probably be more about culture and leadership than anything else. These things being established would trickle down to all employees and thus the end experience / product for consumers would be consistent. “Finding your why” is difficult for small businesses, it sure would be even more so for a large company that had to get this to spread throughout its hundreds or thousands of employees. From our experience, great leaders tend to do this well (e.g. Tony Hsieh of Zappos)