Beyond “Click Here”: How to Create Irresistible Calls to Action

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call to action button

It’s time to give your “click here” buttons another look.

Your calls to action (CTAs) are what turn your website traffic into sales (aka, what makes you the big $$). They’re what inspires your prospects to engage with, learn about, and shop with your brand. That’s why the language, context, and design of your CTAs are so important. Even the most ridiculously minor details can dramatically affect your conversion rates.

“Simple changes can make a big impact to conversion rate” explains Rick Perreault from Unbounce, “more recently we had a huge impact on our conversion rate by simply changing the wording on a CTA from ‘start your free trial’ to ‘start my free trial’.”

Marketing Has a Heart

“As content marketers, we spend a lot of time obsessing over increasing traffic,” wrote Greg Digneo in a blog post for Copyblogger. “It’s the sexy thing to do. However, the number of leads fails to match our expectations because we don’t spend enough time creating a killer call-to-action.”

Never forget that people and relationships are at the heart of all online marketing (or at least, they should be). You want to inspire trust, curiosity, and loyalty. A kick-ass CTA goes beyond a surface-level relationship with potential customers – it draws them in and connects with them on a basic human level.

It’s the Little Things

call to action, unbounce

Image: Unbounce.com

Design-wise, CTAs have four key components: color, shape, placement, and message.

But here’s the catch: those 4 elements aren’t stand-alone. To create a brilliant CTA, you have to make them play nice together.

1. Color – Fact: red plates make you eat more. That is because colors inspire different feelings and moods.

Yellow – focus
Blue – serenity, integrity, tranquility (often used in medical settings)
Green – fresh, vibrant (often associated with environmental products and brands)
Purple – luxury, opulence
Pink – sensitive, loving, beautiful

When choosing the colors of your landing page and CTA, you need to look beyond the Pantone colours of your collateral. Take care to connect your aesthetics to your core brand, in a way that will make sense to customers in deeper, subconscious way. But beware, colors can stop people from clicking too. Red is the worst color to use if you want someone to take action.

2. Shape – CTAs and ‘click here’ buttons are the doorbells and crosswalk buttons of the internet. The best ones feel familiar and easy. Rounded corners are welcoming and inspire action — studies have shown that people are averse to sharp edges. If you want people to click, give them something that’s clickable. Remind them of something in real life.

3. Placement – You can’t literally hold your customer’s hand, but a well-placed CTA can have the same effect. Give your CTA a prominent spot, distinct and separate from other design elements. But don’t exaggerate. By cramming your CTA down people’s throats, you are creating a negative brand experience, and potentially driving customers away.

4. Message – Psychological triggers are key to effective copywriting. Play to people’s need to feel empowered and in control. Don’t just ask for clicks, inspire direct actions — start, learn more, get, increase. Your message should inspire energy and convey influence.

Warning: Buyers May Vary

A HelpScout infographic tells us that there are three types of buyers: tightwads, average buyers, and spendthrifts. (and yes, you have to connect with all three!)

It’s the tightwads (24% of the population) that are going to need the strongest push. A simple way to convert the tightwads is to reframe product costs for them (i.e. $100 per month vs. $1,200/year). Don’t tack on fees as separate values, either. Make them feel like they’re getting a deal.

You’ve got to be prepared to segment your audiences and use custom CTAs for each group. If you’re not sure where to start, this is a great opportunity to start A/B testing your copy — keep refining your language.

Clout Counts

Your reputation is one of the most important factors in selling and building trust. There’s no better way to communicate your sheer awesomeness than showing your strength in your market. From a consumer’s standpoint, it’s much more comfortable to be customer #100,000 than customer #1. Social proof boosts buyer confidence.

Value is the Secret Sauce

Your ability to convert visitors is all about your ability to present value.
It’s all about showing that you can provide the best solution to a real problem.

“I think marketers need to remember that us end users are easily confused” says Rick. He explains that, at it’s foundation, “a good CTA should typically complete the sentence: ‘I want to… [CTA]”.

Remember, customers are people. And if you want the privilege of solving those problems, you’ve got to learn to connect at the most basic level. Human to human.

What is the most unique and inspiring CTA that you’ve seen?

Renee Warren - January 24th, 2013 / 1 Comment

One Response to “Beyond “Click Here”: How to Create Irresistible Calls to Action”

  1. From scrutinizing CTA case studies. Here is what I’ve discovered.

    People read unconsciously! the unconscious mind reads words individually. for example:
    “get my book now” will perform better than ” get your risk-free copy now”.

    the next CTA contains a negative word: risk. even though the meaning is positive.

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