When it comes to interacting with your audience, one of the most important features of your web page is its call-to-action prompt (CTA).
It’s one of the ways your audience will register for a service, express interest in your product, or share information with others.
But how do you make it really enticing so that they are compelled to click? The obvious answer is to make it visually appealing but that alone isn’t enough. To be really effective, turn things around and approach it from their point-of-view!
Make it about the customer
No one is going to follow through unless they have a reason to. Therefore, the first step is to be the audience!
1. Appeal to their self-interest; what do I achieve if I click? One of the ways to really make it personal is to use first-person words i.e. “Begin my trial” rather than “Subscribe for a trial”
2. Throw in a sweetener. Everyone likes getting something for free so how about giving a bonus? If you are offering a book perhaps offer a free bonus chapter. Or if it is a service you are providing, how about giving them a free trial period just for following through?
3. Make sure it’s action-oriented. Give the audience a sense of action and participation rather than just a static command.
Words like download, get, open, or begin are more effective than overly used words like subscribe or register because they imply doing something.
4. Add a sense of urgency. We don’t just want you to follow through, we want you to follow through now! Sometimes you’ll be able to add a degree of urgency with a fixed time-frame (such as “Offer ends Friday, 10th September”) but words like soon, now, or only while stock lasts can still deliver the same effect.
5. Only ask for what you need. Nothing turns someone off more than being asked to give completely irrelevant information. People care about their privacy and they know their personal information is valuable!
Make it visually enticing
Once you thought about it from the audience’s viewpoint you can now work on the visual aspects.
1. Keep it simple and uncluttered. The more information your audience have to read through the more likely it is they’ll miss the point. This applies not only to the web page but also its embedded call-to-action.
2. Make it impossible to miss. We don’t mean adding in-your-face flash animations, because that will drive your audience away!
Instead, design the web page using white-space and graphics to “guide” the eye in a logical path from the supporting content of the web page to your call-to-action. One trick is to focus your eye off the screen and see if your unfocussed gaze ends up where you intend it to be.
3. Use contrasting colours. You can make the CTA button really stand out by using a colour that contrasts with the rest of the page’s colour theme. Good colours for CTA buttons are oranges and greens but be careful not to introduce a clash of colours.
4.Use additional information sparingly. It’s OK to add more information to the CTA. Bullet points and short phrases work well as long as you maintain the simple and uncluttered look we’ve outlined above.
Sometimes this might be a testimonial quote or an award. Just be sure to abide by the less is more motto when adding information inside the CTA. Ask yourself if it needs to be in the CTA or whether it might be better in the main body of the page.
5. Make it mobile friendly. These days it’s not always enough to build a one-page-fits-all solution because lots of people are using mobile devices. That means catering for smaller screen sizes.
Finally, don’t forget to regularly assess your CTA’s effectiveness. Sometimes a subtle tweak can generate a much higher conversion rate.
The change could be as simple as changing the colour scheme or wording. If your changes have the opposite effect don’t be afraid to fall back on to the tried and tested version. Once you have a winning layout any tweaks are likely to be minor!