Go Beyond 'Click Here' for a Winning Call to Action
Whether customers are browsing your website or reading your marketing missives, you ultimately want them to buy something. The process by which this happens is known as the “call to action,” or CTA. Regardless of how elegant your site looks, or how well your email or newsletter content reads, the CTA is probably the most important element of any marketing campaign.
Placing copious “Click here!” links is a popular strategy, but their CTA tends to be vague and, frankly, boring. Today's web shoppers want to know more before they spend money. So, before you start sprinkling links everywhere, think carefully: What would you like customers to do? Here are six tips for creating a winning call to action.
- Manage the customer’s expectations. Your CTA should clearly state what will happen when the customer clicks on a link, such as "See the latest version here." Everyone wants to know where they'll be taken after responding to a call to action.
- Express ideas clearly, with a sense of urgency. An effective CTA succinctly answers the buyer’s implicit question, "What's in it for me?" You may offer a solution to an existing problem or to some challenge the customer senses lurking on the the horizon. The CTA should also feel urgent, such as "Act fast!" or "Limited time offer!" These goals are best achieved using active language.
- Offer shoppers an incentive. Everyone likes to receive a little something extra, so try providing an incentive for clicking on your CTA. Free shipping, two-for-one deals … whatever makes people feel like they’re getting more than they’re paying for.
- Optimize your website. Most marketing experts advise having a call to action on every page, because you never know how visitors will arrive at your site — or where they’ll go when they get there. Web users most frequently scan information located “above the fold” (i.e., details they can read without scrolling down), so position at least one CTA where visitors will see it right away. Create hyperlinks from logos, product photos, and brand names to send visitors where you want them to go.
- Include CTAs in blog posts. Blogs add a personal touch to your business; the informal posts help you connect with customers. While you’re sharing news about the business or other more personal information, drop little calls to action throughout the text to promote your products or services.
- Focus your email campaign. The goal of most email campaigns is to drive traffic to your website (versus making sales). You want to entice, intrigue, or interest people enough to click on your CTA to learn more. Frame the CTA accordingly, as in, "See all models" or "Learn more here." Link to an image of the product on your site or to a product description.
Lee Polevoi is an award-winning business writer specializing in the challenges and opportunities facing small business. He is former Senior Writer at Vistage International, a global membership organization of CEOs.