Boy Yelling Through Megaphone in a field

As a business that does its business online, your digital marketing focus naturally lies in conversions. That is turning visitors to your site into paying customers (or taking an action that keeps them on your radar and sends them in that direction anyway). And to achieve those all-important conversions, there’s one element that stands out amongst all others in its importance – the Call to Action.

A Call to Action (CTA), is a term describing a (usually) written statement with the intent of spurring someone into taking an action, through something like clicking a button or filling out a form. The CTA may invite would-be customers to add a product to a cart, sign up for an event, download a report, subscribe to a newsletter, interact with the brand in some way, or generally complete the next stage in a process.

The CTA should stimulate that action only after the website visitor has been exposed to preliminary content that builds awareness, intent and desire, whether it’s a brilliantly designed product page or a slick video. The CTA exists to nudge the customer to take the next step to take action and complete the process. 

Because a Call to Action is so vital, it must be crafted carefully. If it isn’t present, or it doesn’t work well enough, the work that underpins it and leads up to it – the copy, the messaging, the imagery, all the other elements – will have all been for nought. 

So, here then are our seven steps to crafting that compelling CTA that drives your would-be customers to action and seals the deal.

1. Have you understood your audience?

It’s vital to understand your audience so that you can tailor your CTA to the specific needs, wants and behaviours of your target customer. If you design a CTA that is too broad in scope, it won’t sufficiently appeal to your target audience and won’t feel meaningful or compelling enough to them for a click. By understanding the detailed characteristics of your target audience, you can personalise your CTA and make it far more relevant and appealing to the user.

2. Is your CTA clear and concise?

A key aspect of a good CTA is its clarity. This means brevity, concise messaging and zero fluff. The CTA must explain what it is being offered or what the user is expected to do in a direct, non-ambiguous way, usually in three or four words. To do this, use persuasive, action-oriented language which clearly and succinctly explains the value proposition (or, ‘What’s in it for me?’ from the customer’s perspective).

3. Is my CTA well-designed?

Design is so important in online interactions, so your CTA graphical elements must be carefully designed with elements like the button colour, size and placement of the message and action button or link all carefully considered. Visual contrasts can be used to draw attention to your CTA and placement can maximise visibility and click-through rates. One technique to draw attention to CTAs is to use a completely unique colour that allows it to stand out from the background and other copy and any other on-page elements.

4. Have I tested and optimised my CTA?

A/B testing is a great way to understand what version of your CTA is working best for your audience. This simply means creating two or more versions of a proposed CTA and then testing them to see which one works best. This gives you vital data that helps you to get your CTA right and provides a starting point for future similar work.

5. Have I created a sense of urgency and scarcity?

By using devices such as urgency (“limited-time offer”), or the notion of scarcity (“only a few left in stock”), users feel motivated to act quickly rather than putting the decision off for another day. Use these devices carefully, however, as they must be credible. Keeping urgency triggers across all your products on 365 days a year, may quickly get you rumbled and could actually damage your reputation. We’ve written a whole article on urgency and scarcity triggers, so check it out.

6. Have I used social proof?

Leverage social proof by adding elements such as customer testimonials to give credibility to what you say and to build trust with your customers. When customers feel that they are engaging with a credible, reputable brand that their peers value, they are far more likely to convert.

7. Is my CTA accessible?

The concept of accessibility is absolutely crucial in the world of modern commerce, so make sure your CTA is accessible to users living with disabilities. This means looking at elements such as button size, colour choices and contrast and the use of alternative text for screen readers.

Together, these elements will help to ensure that your CTAs actually work and convert your would-be customers into genuine customers. And remember to trial, test and improve until you see the results you want. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all. 

And here’s what you’ve all been waiting for…Our CTA

Kid shouting through megaphone

Of course the last section of this article was always going to be our call to action, wasn’t it! 

And this is to download our fantastic FREE e-commerce CRO checklist.

Conversion rate optimisation – or CRO – is all about maximising the percentage of website visitors who convert by completing a purchase. Pivotal to this, of course, is how you frame your calls to action. 

The checklist breaks all this – and so much more – down in actionable checklists so your CTAs and website are super-powerful conversion machines. We’ll even give your website a CRO Health Score so you can benchmark future progress.

If you think we’ve shed some light here on why and how CTAs work, then you cannot miss the CRO checklist.

Free CRO Checklist

Increase your revenue by getting more from your website traffic.