In my twenties I worked in the marketing department of a large corporation. Looking back on it, it wasn’t really where I was suited to working and I really didn’t feel excited about the products we were marketing. All in all, it was the stepping stone I needed to get focussed on what I wanted to do. I ended up leaving after a couple of years to continue my studies, and eventually found a love for web design.
My time spent working there wasn’t all bad; I learned a lot about putting the marketing principles I’d heard so much about in uni into action. And those lessons have helped me so much in creating effective websites.
I remember sitting down with my boss at the time and admiring the skill she had with words. She’d always say, “How can we say the same thing but with less words?”. She was masterful with a red pen; crossing out unnecessary words here and there until we were left with a short and catchy magazine ad that was sure to capture attention.
“Always craft a compelling Call to Action (CTA).” That was her other piece of advice I received whenever she reviewed my work. No matter the form of marketing you’re creating, the CTA needs to be well thought out. Whether it be an ad, flyer, email newsletter or a website, all your words and design can fall flat if you don’t make the CTA clear. Your ideal customer or client will be left to think about their next step all by themselves and they may use that moment to move onto the next provider of your product or service.
This has always stuck with me. What’s the CTA? What do I want my website visitors to do once they’ve read through my homepage? What’s the next logical step? And that’s just with the homepage… all the pages of my website need to have a considered CTA; that way there’s a logical flow or journey that people will mostly likely take through my website, without them having to ponder it.
With this in mind, here are some tips to make the most out of your invaluable CTAs.
Make them clear
Don’t let your CTA be a wallflower, hiding in the depths of your content. Link buttons are extremely useful in letting people know what you’d like their next action to be. And these days everyone understands what a CTA button is: it’s there to be clicked. Depending on its styling, it stands out like a neon sign that says ‘click me!’.
Don’t be afraid of putting your CTA out there. I hear it a lot from business owners that they don’t want to come across as spammy or too sales-y. There’s nothing wrong with being crystal clear to your customers how they can purchase your product. Your product or service is of value and your target market wants to give you money for it…. Nothing wrong with that. You are only doing your business a disservice by not making it clear as day how people can work with you.
Your action: Make sure there’s a CTA button on every page of your website.
Make them logical
Take the time to consider how you want your ideal client to travel through your website. Take your About page, for example. You use this page to tell your story, to demonstrate your passion for what you do and to detail who you love to work with. Once you have presented this content, what’s the next logical step? Here are a couple of options:
- If people go from your homepage to your About page, they still need to read up on your key services. Therefore, at the bottom of the About page, add some enticing (and short) content about your services and have your button linking to your Services page.
- If people have generally already read about your services and they’re on your About page just to make sure that it feels like the right fit to work together, have your button linking to your Contact page.
If you have an existing website, take a look at your Google Analytics – there’s a detailed section on “Behaviour Flow”. It’ll show you a flow map of how people are generally travelling through your website. Use this information to help inform where your website user wants to go to next. And if they aren’t taking the action that you really want them to take, rethink your content. What information is missing? Is your CTA clear and enticing enough to click?
Your action: Think like your ideal client.
Make them compelling
Creating a well crafted CTA is a skill and it’s not always easy to hit the mark. And it all depends on the page in question as to what the best CTA is. In a few words, you’ll want to achieve a lot:
- Restate the key benefit of your product or service
- Restate its unique offering (such as ‘free’, ‘don’t miss out on our earlybird price’, etc)
- Restate the outcome that will result in purchasing / signing up / etc
Less is more when it comes to a CTA. All the information you’ve presented on your sales page, for example, will already have spoken about the who, what, where, when, why and how of your offering. Your CTA’s job then is to neatly summarise everything and to use keywords to initiate action. The most obvious phrases are “Ready to…”, “Join the…”, “Book in…”, “Sign up for…”, etc.
Having said that, your CTA is really only as good as the information that precedes it. Make sure you have answered the numerous questions that your ideal client will have about your service. This will ensure that when they read your CTA, there’s nothing holding them back from clicking that button. And if you run an online shop, the same applies: preempt all the questions people will have about your product and set the scene for them, like they can already see themselves using the product. Clicking that all important ‘buy now’ button will then come so much easier to them.
Your action: Get creative with your words.
Are they working?
Your website is never finished; I can’t say that enough. It’s an evolving entity that grows and changes as your business does. With a website’s ease of editing, you’re able to experiment as well. If a CTA doesn’t seem to be working, change it. If the layout or styling of your CTA doesn’t seem right, play around with it. That’s the beauty of the internet: nothing is set in stone.
As mentioned above, use the tools freely available to you to know for sure if your CTAs are working. The Behaviour Flow section in Google Analytics is so valuable in seeing which journey/s people are taking through your website. Is it the journey you expected them to take? If not, why not? Revise and check in on your data in the near future to see what’s changed.
Your action: Review your CTAs regularly and experiment with them.
In need of an expert to look over your CTAs?
That’s just one of the things we can discuss during a Website Consultation with me.
75 minutes dedicated to how to make your website better.
See what I did there? Even your blog post can have a CTA!