Okay, so you’ve got yourself a well-designed, mobile-friendly and fast loading website. You’ve got excellent content, clear and well-defined navigation and an SEO strategy. But there’s one thing that turns visitors into customers and that’s a clear and strategically positioned Call to Action.
What is a Website CTA?
A Call to Action can be either text, a banner, a button, or an image that encourages a visitor to take immediate action. It’s most likely the next step you want your audience to take while viewing one of your pages. This can vary between Buy Now, Subscribe to an Email List, or Get in Touch. It can essentially be anything you want to encourage your visitor to click on.
For a CTA to be effective they need to be well designed, engaging and well placed to convert visitors to customers.
Website CTA Do’s and Don’ts.
You are never limited to one CTA and it’s common to have a primary and secondary CTA on each page, but they must be clear and well-positioned. Poor implementation would be a popup displaying immediately when a visitor arrives at your website asking for their email address before they’ve even had a chance to work out who you are.
Speaking of pop-ups.
Pop-ups are a controversial form of CTA as their use requires a delicate touch and incorrect use may harm the user experience. The most common view is that they are perceived as a form of advertising instead of their intended use which is to encourage user engagement. According to a recent survey of over 400 people, a massive 82% claimed they disliked pop-ups. The two most common reasons offered were that they appeared immediately, and they were everywhere. You have been warned so tread carefully.
Call to action Design.
The design of any CTA needs to fit with your website branding. They should be consistent across your web pages, but you still want them to stand out clearly from the main content to encourage users to act. It’s important to make sure all the interactive elements appear clickable. Bigger is not always better and some balance is required so that the size of the buttons is noticeable but not so large that you ruin the design of the page. Also, make sure that there is sufficient contrast between the background colour and clickable elements. Probably the most important aspect of your CTA is the copy you choose to urge your user to take the intended action. A few carefully selected words are far more effective than a long paragraph.
Website CTA positioning.
Placing your primary CTA above the fold is a very effective way of grabbing your visitor’s attention. Above the fold describes the first part of the page visible without scrolling. You can never assume visitors will scroll down past the first screen so it’s a sweet spot to dangle a virtual carrot.
The middle of the page is an effective place to position secondary CTAs like learn more, watch a video, explore more features and signup for the newsletter.
The bottom of the page is prime positioning to repeat the primary CTA used in the above the fold section and to conclude your marketing story. An often-neglected area for placement is in the footer which is unfortunate as it appears on every page and is prime screen estate. An ideal footer CTA may be for newsletter signup like Sign Up for Offers. Visitors may feel reluctant to offer up their email address unless they feel like they are getting something in return so make it compelling. It’s also no harm to mention email frequency so you’re letting them know you won’t bombard them with annoying emails daily.
It’s important to think through positioning to maximise conversions and the good news is that CTA placement is fluid. Through A/B testing you can ascertain whether above and below the fold positions are working effectively. It’s a good idea to implement heatmap software to help understand how visitors are interacting with your website. It will allow you to track visitors’ mouse movements, where they click and how far down the page they scroll. You can also record their sessions and replay their interaction on your pages. This will help give insight into areas that are being ignored and you can address them accordingly.
The path to successful conversions includes continuous A/B testing, and strategically blending primary and secondary call to action buttons on your sites. Even small, easy-to-make changes can have dramatic effects. You could also play around with adding a subtle sense of urgency to the action such as time-limiting an offer. Also, consider that the natural reading flow of a typical web user is top and down and left to right.