How To: Craft Action-Inducing CTA's

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Compelling CTA's are a game-changer for your pages.

Digital marketing is not immune to business specific jargon. From an outsider's perspective, it appears to thrive on it. This makes breaking into the marketing world somewhat daunting. If you're reading the right articles, you'll see certain terms pop up again and again. This is because they are vital to understanding and working in digital marketing. One of these essential terms is the CTA. In this article we'll explain what it is, why it's important, and how to make it as efficient as possible.

What is the Call-To-Action?

The CTA or 'Call-To-Action' is one of the most important terms in digital marketing. What it means is simple: the CTA is what you want your audience to do. It's the goal of your website's page. For instance, it's the Sign Up button at the end of an introduction. It's the hyperlink directing readers to the next page. It's the contact sheet on your About Page. The CTA is a clear instruction designed to prompt immediate action on the part of your audience.

This simple idea of 'every page has a goal and an ask of the audience' might seem straightforward. Yet, 70% of Small Businesses B2B lack a Call-To-Action. If you allow this to happen, you're not decreasing the efficiency of your webpage. You're making your webpage pointless.

All roads lead to the CTA

To craft an action-inducing CTA you're going to need to use persuasion. Regardless of business or website, how persuasive your CTA always depends on three different elements:

  1. The Offer

  2. The Text

  3. The Look

Getting these three elements right can make or break your Call-To-Action. If even one of the above is sub par, your audience won't convert. Here's how to make sure each element strengthens your CTA.

The Offer

What you can offer your audience depends completely on the kind of website you're running and what you're aiming to achieve with your CTA. But the things that draw an audience in stays consistent. Everyone is looking for the Three Free’s: Obligation free. Hassle-free. Free of charge.

Adhering to these three terms will help you construct an attractive CTA.

'Obligation free' means you never make a user feel like they need to put any effort into this beyond the CTA. You won't hold them to anything, you won't make them agree to anything, and you won't make them regret clicking.

'Hassle-free' means you're going to make this as painless and possible. Make clicking (or interacting with) the CTA the sole action for the user to do before they start reaping the benefits.

'Free of charge' means the benefits you're bestowing unto the user for clicking your CTA. Think free trials, product discounts, free sign ups to your newsletter, and everything in between. Whet their appetite with something good and you've got yourself a conversion.

The Text

The copywriting on most CTAs are clear and to the point. But don't dive head first into the Call-To-Action without optimizing the rest of the page. If you do, your audience might not even make it to your CTA in the first place. Make sure you nail the headline to hook your initial audience. Give your copy an even flow towards the CTA with a description of the benefits for your audience. The copy of the CTA itself should be compelling enough for the user to give it a click. We know you want the user to click on the CTA, but you need the user to want to click the CTA. Don't beat around the bush.

Avoid jargon on your CTA copy. Be clear about what makes it beneficial to your audience. '50% Off' and 'Download Now' are concise descriptions of what the CTA will gain the user. But a button that says 'Submit' or 'Buy Now' is less so. In the case of the classic 'Buy Now' button, it might even deter users altogether. You want the user's process to be painless and brainless. The words 'Buy Now' will create friction by making people think about losing money. They might hesitate. Word choices like these are important, so keep that in mind with every word you write. Focus on the benefits and use action-oriented language to make your audience feel in charge when clicking your CTA.

The Look

Your CTA needs to be the siren call of your webpage. The more you can make it stand out, the higher the prospect of people clicking it becomes.

Most of the time your CTA will be a button. You can, and should, use color theory to make your button stand out on the page. You want it to contrast with the other colors around it to make it visually appealing. However, you don't want those colors to clash and become unpleasant to look at.

You're going to want your button to be big. How big? This case study documents a website's conversion rate increasing by 51% after they dramatically changed their button size. This same tactic might not work for your particular web page, but it does point to a common lesson. Make your CTA stand out. Keep its surroundings clutter free so it doesn't compete with incidental buttons or hyperlinks on the page.

Of course, your CTA isn't always a button. Sometimes it's an image, which requires a different approach. Text is always read from left to right, but images have their own organic path that your audience's eyes will follow. Take advantage of that by determining the strength of your image. Does the image point your eyes towards somewhere specific? Are the colors contrasting with your background? Does the image look clickable? These are all determinations you need to make if you want to use an image as your CTA.

The Takeaway: Call-To-Action's are one of the many bits of psychology a good digital marketer has to master. By knowing your website and your audience, you can put the right message in front of the right people at the right time. This is the way to get a consistent conversion on your website. If you're still having trouble, research and analyze your audience and their needs. Fine tune the copy and design of your website. And, of course, A/B test the shit out of everything.

elizabeth mcintyre