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For any internet business, call to action buttons (CTAs) are a crucial gateway to successful conversions and sales. Yet many companies overlook the importance of getting the CTA right in the web development process.
Without CTAs that actually encourage clicking, your online website or landing page could struggle to get your users to:
- Add items to the cart.
- Sign up for free trials.
- Download your app, white paper, etc.
- Or register, sign up, or join your mailing list.
This makes it a challenge to get potential consumers into your sales funnel, which only makes the job of your sales, marketing, and business development teams tougher than it needs to be. With better call to action buttons, you can not only see better conversions and higher sales, the other parts of your organization will also be able to do their jobs better.
All it takes is a few simple steps during the development process to ensure your CTAs are doing their job and encouraging your users to click.
Action-Focused Button Copy
Many call to action buttons consist of only one or two words, such as “Subscribe,” “Sign Up,” “Get Started,” etc. So you’d be forgiven for not giving too much thought to the words used to direct customers to click your CTA.
However, you don’t want your CTA to be the “Please Clap” of buttons. You want all your web copy — but especially your button copy — to spur clicking and converting. Action-focused button copy is key. Use imperative verbs, use first-person possessive or determiners like “my,” and use action words like “shop,” “get,” “download,” “sign up,” etc.
Copy That Creates Urgency
One thing that can inspire more people to click on your CTA is to give visitors the sense that your offer won’t be available for long or that it’s easiest and best to start now. This sense of urgency can translate to big gains in conversions and sales, and again, all it takes is a bit of thought about the copywriting that goes into your CTA design.
And there are all sorts of sales psychology tactics you can use here to create that sense of urgency. Loss aversion and fear of missing out (FOMO) can get a user to click now so they don’t miss out on your sale or special offer. Reciprocity, such as offering an ebook for signing up now, can also encourage clicks.
CTA buttons that internet visitors can’t see get clicked less than buttons they can see. This is a simple idea, but if you expect customers to click on your CTA button as soon as the page loads, you don’t want to hide your button below “the fold”. True a website doesn’t really “fold” in half like a newspaper, but anything button a user will have to scroll to see is a button they will have to scroll to click.
If your CTA is for an email signup, a free trial, a special offer, a quote request, or anything else a user should be willing to do when they first land on your page, above the fold is a smart idea. If you need to do some convincing or need to offer value before requesting a user’s click, a CTA further down the page may be a better option.
Natural CTA Hierarchy
Sometimes the right CTA design requires making decisions about your top business priority before the design work even starts. You may want your users to be able to take two or more user journeys from your homepage. Maybe you have an app for them to download, a free version of your product as well as a paid version, an email list sign-up, etc.
You’ll have to choose which of these user journeys is your top priority, then design your buttons accordingly. Too many similar choices can mean no button gets clicked. You’ll want to use color and position to make a natural hierarchy of options clearer for your users.
Natural User Flow Placement
If you do need to put your CTA button somewhere besides front and center above the fold, you need to ensure it ends up in a logical, natural position. For a U.S. audience, that means reading content left to right and top to bottom, that sometimes looks like an “F,” “E,” or “L” pattern.
CTAs work very well for most purposes on the right of content, or, at the bottom of a piece of content that adds value or “sells” the button click. This is because a CTA placed in the upper left corner of the screen doesn’t have enough established context to get a user to click. It would be like a Girl Scout asking how many boxes of Thin Mints you want before introducing herself.
Give CTAs Room to Breathe
The first time a website visitor arrives on your website, there could be a lot to take in. Graphics, videos, text, buttons, and more. For your CTA, you want to make sure your button has room to breathe. A call to action crowded by other copywriting, blogs, graphics, etc., is going to get lost. And a lost button does not get clicked.
There should be sufficient “white space” around your button that it stands out as a singular entity. You may have your button over a darker color or on top of part of a background image, but the button area is uncluttered such that it still draws attention and encourages a click.
Test, Measure, and Iterate Your CTAs
As with many things in web design, there’s no one size fits all solution. It’s true that green and orange buttons do well, but this is only true when green and orange are appropriate colors for a CTA in context of the rest of the website. If a website was mostly orange, an orange button could get lost. If a website had a sophisticated black and white color scheme, green could be off-putting.
That’s why it’s important to test out your CTA button choices, measure how well a new button text, color, or placement is performing, and make changes as needed. Call to action buttons are a great opportunity for A/B testing that can have a huge impact on your conversions and sales.
A call to action button may seem like a trivial design decision to obsess over, but the impact the right, or wrong, CTA can have on your conversion or sales rate means it’s something you can’t ignore. A little extra attention to CTAs during the web development process can save you and your team a lot of frustration later.