Are you getting a lot of traffic on your website but not enough conversions? Are people leaving your website without taking any action?
Well, if you answered yes, the problem could be with your calls-to-action (CTA), or the lack thereof.
Yes, you heard it right. A lack of enough or effective calls-to-action could be the main reason why your site is facing low conversion rates.
CTAs are what prompt a user to take a desired action when they navigate through your website. If you don’t add the right CTAs at the right places, your website viewers might find the site difficult to navigate and leave. Even if they navigate through the website easily, adding a call-to-action at the right place might just be what you need to get more conversions.
So, if you want to know how CTAs can help your business and how to create the perfect call-to-action, you have come to the right place.
In this in-depth article, I will elaborate on the various nuances of creating the perfect call-to-action that you can use for your business.
Here are some expert tips and techniques on how to create a perfect call-to-action for your business:
1. Use Command Verbs
The number one rule for creating a perfect call-to-action is to use strong command verbs that demand the desired action. Preferably, use such action words right at the beginning of your call-to-action to get the maximum impact.
The choice of action words depends entirely on the action that you want people to take:
- If you want people to shop use words like “shop,” “buy,” etc.
- If you are offering a free resource that you want viewers to see, use words like “download,” “read,”, “check out,” “get,” etc.
- If you want people to join your mailing list or an online community, use words like “subscribe,” “join,” “enlist,” “sign up,” etc.
Image Source: Plated
You get the gist, right?
Use strong action words relevant to the desired action, and prompt viewers to take that action using your action buttons.
2. Generate Curiosity
One easy and effective way to design a perfect call-to-action is to generate curiosity in the viewers so that they will want to take the desired action.
Keep the audience engaged and generate the curiosity to learn more. Whether it is about your product, service, or the brand in general, making people curious is a good way to get the desired results.
Ask a Question
One way to generate curiosity using CTAs is to ask a question and ask viewers to provide their details before they can get the answer to that question.
For example, if you want people to provide their email address so that you could build your mailing list. You can ask people a question about a topic wherein your expertise lies. Then you provide the answer to that question but ask people to provide their details before they get the answer.
It’s a neat trick, right? And it is an effective one in that it gets the desired result—getting the email addresses of your website visitors.
Check out this example of a call-to-action that generates curiosity among the readers and prompts them to find out more.
Image Source: Beachway
Instead of just saying “find out more,” which is a very commonly-used CTA, they asked a question. Anyone who has that same question, (which in this case would be most viewers), will want to find out the answer. Brilliant, isn’t it?
Keep the Audience on a Hook
Another effective way to generate curiosity is to share an intriguing fact, but only provide incomplete information. This will act like a cliffhanger or a hook to keep viewers interested and wanting more. To learn more, visitors will have to take the desired action.
For example, Grey Goose uses beautiful pictures and incomplete recipe details to generate curiosity about their cocktails. They then add a “View Recipe” CTA to get people to check out their cocktail recipes.
Image Source: Grey Goose
3. Create an Illusion of Choice
What is the best way to get people to do what you want? Make it seem like it’s their own idea.
I know that it sounds manipulative, but it is actually brilliant and, more importantly, it works.
To leverage this technique, you should provide two calls-to-action—one which you want people to click and another that gives the viewers a choice to leave and not perform that action. The trick is to phrase the desired CTA in a way that viewers will almost always choose that.
In the following example, RazorSocial has phrased the prior statement in a way that makes the first CTA the obvious choice. They have also used the colors green and red to show that the first CTA is the right call to make.
Image Source: RazorSocial
Another way in which you can create an illusion of choice is by giving two positive call-to-action buttons, both eliciting a desired response from the viewer. In the example below, BarkBox has done just that. They have given a choice between two actions, both of which are good for their business.
Image Source: BarkBox
Or you can get a bit more creative and do something like the following call-to-action from my website. Here I have phrased the positive and negative action buttons in a way that encourages positive action.
Image Source: Shanebarker.com
4. Evoke a Positive Emotion
This technique is all about using positive words and phrases to evoke an emotion instead of a cold CTA demanding an action.
Using positive words, providing giveaways or free benefits, or simply using an exclamation mark are some of the best ways you can make a positive CTA.
See the example of Madwell below. Instead of just saying “contact us,” they have used “say hello” in their call-to-action. This elicits a much more positive response from the viewers than a cold contact us button would.
Image Source: Madwell
5. Highlight Your USP
While designing the perfect call-to-action, you need to give your viewers a reason to take the desired action. Highlighting your unique selling proposition (USP) and making your brand stand out from others is a good reason for people to follow you or buy from you.
Unless you tell people what makes your brand or product special, they will never know. So, you need to sell yourself better and clearly highlight your USP.
For example, Madewell’s specialty is that they have sustainable and environment-friendly manufacturing processes. They highlight this fact clearly, as seen in the example below, and make the consumers feel privileged by getting a chance to make this product theirs. And don’t miss the creative “MAKE ‘EM YOURS” call-to-action, instead of a simple “Buy Now” or “Shop Now.”
Image Source: Madewell
6. Alleviate Consumer Concerns
Identify the common concerns that hold people back from taking the desired action on your website and alleviate those concerns in your CTAs.
Are people worried there might be some hidden charges if they buy your product? Are people not trying your product for free because they are unsure of the cancellation policies? Are there any such concerns that are preventing sales conversions on your website?
Remove any such concerns right at the beginning by giving an answer to these questions or disclosing information that can alleviate these concerns.
One brilliant example of this is from Netflix. They clearly mention that Netflix subscribers can use the service from any location and are free to cancel their subscription anytime. This way they removed two obstacles from the path to conversion. And by telling people that they can try the service for free for a month, they further encourages them to subscribe.
Image Source: Netflix
7. Provide Social Proof
You can also use social proof as a way to persuade your website viewers to join your community, subscribe to your services, or buy from you.
By telling people how many subscribers or loyal customers you have, you can influence others to join them.
In the example below, The Positivity Blog gives social proof by mentioning the 80K subscribers they have. This not only tells people that this blog is useful, because so many people are reading it, but also creates a sense of community.
Image Source: Positivity Blog
8. Provide Incentives
We all know that incentives can motivate people to take action and it applies to this scenario as well. You can provide some incentive to customers in exchange for them performing the desired action on your website.
For this, all you have to do is mention the incentive in your call-to-action and give them a reason to click on the CTA button.
See how Ugmonk has given a free tee-shirt as an incentive for customers to provide their email details, in the example below.
Image Source: Ugmonk
9. Get Creative
When trying to design the perfect call-to-action, sometimes you need to get creative. What if your CTAs don’t look like you want customers to perform an action? What if you design it in such a way that the actual purpose remains hidden?
That is the beauty of creative CTAs, and a lot of businesses are now designing such CTAs for their websites.
See the example of AYR below. They have creatively hidden the desired action and used “It’s a need” instead of “Shop Now.”
Image Source: AYR
10. Highlight What’s in it For Them
If you want people to read your content, sign-up for your newsletter, or anything else, you need to give them a good reason to do so. Telling people the benefits that they will get out of performing an action encourages them to take the action.
So, to create an effective call-to-action, you should clearly list the benefits that users will get from completing the action. It will set the expectation right from the beginning on what they can expect from your product and decide if it’s relevant to them.
Grammarly uses this technique to showcase their benefits before asking visitors to download their app extension. By clearly listing the benefits, they convince the reader that their product is useful and relevant for them.
Image Source: Grammarly
11. Challenge People to Take an Action
This technique is a brilliant example of how an understanding of human psychology can help businesses elicit certain responses from their customers.
Why ask people to do something when you can challenge them to do it? The latter is probably going to be more effective anyway. So, challenge people to take an action to get a better click-rate on your CTAs.
Nerd Fitness has done just that, in the example below. Instead of just asking people to join their fitness program, they challenge them by asking whether or not they are ready to take the next step. They also used the positive CTA, “I’m ready to ramp it up,” to further encourage people to enroll in the program.
Image Source: Nerd Fitness
12. Offer a Free Trial
This is probably the best tactic for a service-based company—offering a free trial of their services. The hard task is to get people to try your service. Converting people who have already used your service and liked it is not as difficult.
Offering a free trial is an excellent way to remove that initial hurdle of getting people to enroll. Once they have enrolled, you can use email marketing to ensure conversions.
So, if you are offering a service, add CTAs on your website that offer a free trial of your services.
Image Source: Pipedrive
Although this tactic works brilliantly for service-based companies, it can also be applied to product-based companies. All you have to do is offer a free sample of your product, instead of a service.
There is no definitive guide for how to create a perfect call-to-action. But the tips mentioned above will definitely help.
Whether you choose to get creative with your CTAs or just keep it simple and explain the user benefits, is up to you. You can take your pick and use one or more of these techniques the next time you want to create an effective call-to-action for your website.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.