5 First Steps For Creating A Call to Action

by Renee Warren on Apr 25, 2011

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Call To ActionYou know those websites that are litered with content, font too small to read, and are just too confusing to even be bothered with?

The 1990’s style put-every-word-imaginable-on-our-site sites? They are long gone.

The purpose of a website or landing page today is to get visitors to take action, whether you’re asked to submit your email, make a purchase, share a post or simply continue to the next page, the call to action is a core element to online success.

Of course, we don’t respond to every call to action. Some will immediately catch our attention and successfully motivate us to act. Others will miss the mark completely and go unnoticed. So, what makes for an effective call to action?

Here is a list of five things to remember when crafting an effective call to action:

1. Make it stand out!


Chances are there is a lot of information on your website. That’s why it’s important that you make your call to action pop.  It should be one of the first things you see when you land there. The two best ways to achieve this are with placement and design.

Placement – On a landing page, make sure your call to action is in the top right-hand corner or in a pop-over. Naturally, the first place the human eye is drawn to on a website is the top right-hand corner, so it’s the optimal location for your call to action.

On a sales page, you want to put your call to action at the bottom of the page. Your headings, photos and text should be the first to capture attention. Of course, sales pages tend to be quite long, so don’t lose someone ready to act half way through because you didn’t put an additional call to action in the middle.

Design – The design of your call to action is just as important as the placement. Just because it’s in the top right-hand corner (Or on the right hand side of the page) doesn’t mean everyone will act. Make it stand out by designing it to be both large and contrasting to the background.  It has to “pop”.  Use color, direction, and BIG words.

Here is an exercise to test out your website or landing page:  Step back five feet from your computer, squint your eyes and look at your landing page.  What is the one thing that stands out the most?  It should be your CTA!

2. Use specific language

Don’t get fancy with your words when it comes to your call to action. You want to be as clear and specific as possible.

Visitors should not be confused about what they are supposed to do next. Be sure your call to action highlights an obvious next step. Believe it or not, a lack of clarity can seriously hurt your click through rate (CTR).

Finally, you should be very specific about what will happen after acting. Landing pages lose an average of 5% of traffic because they do not explain this thoroughly. Don’t leave out any details.

Also, steer away from using ‘submit’ or ‘click here’ for your button copy. Rather be more specific as to what will happen once it’s clicked, like ‘Save 30% now’ or ‘Get your coupon.’

3. Highlight the benefits

If you’re still highlighting features, stop. No one wants to know why your offer or product is great. Instead, they want to know how it will benefit them personally.

Be sure to immediately identify the benefits (in a list format, if possible). This point is especially true when it comes to sales pages. Benefits should come long before the call to action. Remember, no one will act if they don’t understand what’s in it for them.

4. Watch for continuity

This is a big one that many miss! The language and design of your pages need to be consistent and continuous. The last thing you want is a visitor jumping to a new page after acting because they think you’ve sent them to a different website.

If you’re sending traffic from a branded Facebook page, for example, mention the Facebook page in your call to action. Also, keep the design and language between your social media platform and website consistent. If you have to, make a landing page for each social media platform you’re using.

5. Always split test


Split testing can change everything! The smallest tweak can mean significantly improved results. That’s why it’s so important to split test anything and everything.

Have you tried changing the color of your call to action button? What about the size, text and position? Try as many variations as possible to ensure the best results.

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Post Author

Geek in stilettos. Founder of Onboardly. Chocolate lover. Traveler. Tall. Canadian in San Francisco. www.onboardly.com...

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