A call to action is one of the single most important elements of a web page. In fact in many ways it is the most important, especially for a business. That is because a call to action is what actually gets the site visitors to take the desired course of action. Thus, without a call to action it doesn’t matter how great the website is or how wonderful the products and services are, potential customers may not even know what their next step is. What follows is an overview of the call to action and why it matters.
What is a Call To Action?
A call to action, also called a CTA is typically a button or banner on a website that prompts a user to click it. This button or banner could lead the user to a page where they will fill out their information to be signed up for a newsletter or other promos and information, or it could lead them directly to a checkout screen where they can make a purchase. A call to action is an essential part of marketing which attempts to convert a site visitor into a customer or lead.
Why is a Call To Action So Important?
Many people get so wrapped up in making their web pages visually appealing or informative that they can forget about the call to action, or not place enough emphasis on it. It is easy to think that if your site visitors really like the information you are providing or the products and services that you are selling that they will go out of their way to sign up or make a purchase. However, unfortunately this is wishful thinking. Instead there is a good chance that they will merely go to your competitor’s site to take the action or perhaps not not take any action at all. Thus it is very important to make your call to action visible and easy to understand.
What forms does it take?
A call to action will typically appear as a button, banner, text, or link that the visitor can click. When it comes to the appearance of the call to action it is helpful to make sure that it stands out. There are several good ways of accomplishing this such as:
- Placing it in a prominent location on the page, especially near the top.
- Making it large.
- Adding blank space around it and keeping it separate from other content on the page.
- Using a different color scheme for it.
- Giving it even more visibility by adding arrows pointing to it.
- Incorporating a visual effect such as animation or color changes.
The primary goal of the call to action design should be to make it prominent and easy to find. Naturally you will want it to be in harmony with the overall style of your site; however, it should be different enough that it stands out.
How to Determine the Best Type of Call To Action
It is not uncommon for a site to have multiple calls to action. For instance you might want your site visitors to sign up for a newsletter, or begin a 30 day trial. When deciding on what calls to action to use and how many to have, it is important to remember to keep things simple for your visitors. You want them to easily understand what each of the calls to action is so that they can quickly make the determination of whether or not it is the one they want without expending a lot of mental energy. If you overwhelm them with too many choices, or too many options that seem similar there is a good chance that they will just give up and not take any action. Thus, in general it is good to keep your number of calls to action to a minimum and to make them clearly differentiated from each other.
You may also want to consider how forceful your initial call to action is. For instance people are likely to be more comfortable to sign up for a newsletter or a free trial than they would be to purchase a product or full course. You will also likely want to keep the initial amount of information they need to fill out to a minimum. If you ask them too many questions there is a chance that they will change their minds about taking the action because the form feels too intrusive or seems like too much work.
The bottom line, is that the type of call to action that your site utilizes successfully may be very different from the one that a site in a different industry uses. That is because much will be determined by your target audience and what you actually want them to do. Nevertheless the above outline of information about calls to action should provide you with a good starting point from which you can tailor your approach to fit your site visitors.