The call-to-action (CTA) is undoubtedly the most important element of any landing page or website. As Michael Aagaard succinctly puts it, it is the tipping point between bounce and conversion. It’s just as simple to create a stellar CTA as it is to create a #CTAFail. One A/B button copy test by Aagaard showed that changing a single word on button copy (Order Information-> Get Information) resulted in a 38.26% increase in conversion rate. Wow, right?
Make sure your CTAs get clicked by paying special attention to these 6 key elements:
1. Compelling and relevant copy
In the split second your audience looks at your CTA, they should know exactly what is being offered to them and what they need to do to get it. Your copy should include a clear instruction (‘click button below’ or ‘click here to subscribe for free’) and create a sense of urgency to make it more actionable (‘start your free trial now’). In order to entice someone to click on a button and gift you with their personal information, your copy better be pretty seductive. Words that convey value (get) are much more successful than those that imply that an effort is required (order).
And please… PLEASE… avoid generic button copy. It really grinds my gears when I see a CTA button that says something like ‘Subscribe’. Subscribe to what? Throw your readers a bone and be as relevant as possible. Something like ‘Get your free eBook’ describes exactly what’s coming their way if they click the button. Keep your copy simple, straightforward, and feel free to sprinkle in some humor if it makes sense.
This CTA button by Freshbooks is a great example of relevant and compelling copy. It clearly outlines the value for potential customers and eases any potential anxiety for commitment-phobes like myself by urging customers to ‘Try it’. I also really like the smaller, secondary CTA next to the primary one offering readers to ‘Take a Quick Tour’ or learn more before signing up.
Here’s another great looking example from the masters of the heat map, CrazyEgg. The copy clearly communicates the no-obligation nature of their offer and the value that it holds.
2. White space
And no, by white space I don’t mean space that is white. Also referred to as ‘negative space’, it simply refers to space where there is no graphic or text. Sometimes less really IS more. White space helps readers know where to focus their attention and makes a visual connection between page elements.
Wistia is an application that allows you to add video to your website quickly and easily. They have placed a super simple CTA at the bottom of their long form website that looks like this:
So after they have told their story and hooked your interest, they present you with this super sexy CTA. Your eye is drawn directly to the instruction ‘Start Adding Video To Your Website’ and the impending value ‘Create a free account’. Using a simple flat visual and abundant white space, there is zero confusion as to what happens next. Spoiler alert: I clicked the button.
3. Make it large and in charge
Use of contrasting colors, prominent placement within the page and increased size is sure to get your CTA noticed.
Your CTA should be larger than less important elements on the page. So yes, in this case, size really does matter. Make the CTA as easy as possible for people to click through by placing it in an obvious location on the page and using contrasting colors to make it ‘pop’ and stand out. The button itself should also have a contrasting color to the rest of the CTA.
This totally ‘in-yer-face’ example from MarketingProfs is all kinds of loud. Its yellow hue, use of bright color and sheer size in comparison to the page text make it impossible to miss!
4. Strategic placement
Typically, CTAs have been located ‘above the fold’- otherwise known as the space on a website that can be viewed without scrolling. People generally like this placement because it makes the CTA readily available and uber easy to access. While this is still a totally kosher placement for the CTA, it’s now becoming equally as common to place it…*gasp*…BELOW the fold.
This method is known as AIDA. Using this tactic, you first tell a story and build excitement around your product and THEN display your actionable CTA messaging. AIDA stands for:
I may be just a tad biased, but I happen to think Uberflip does a pretty snazzy job of this on their site. They open with a couple of pretty solid CTAs above the fold, but the reader can then scroll down to discover a compelling story which includes social proof in the form of testimonials as well as clear and visual representations of the features which will help add value to their life. Then, lo and behold, way at the bottom (far below the fold) is an eye-catching, simple, Uberflip-pink CTA with a simple, direct and actionable button to ‘Subscribe Now’.
5. Social proof doesn’t hurt
Who are we kidding? If all the cool kids are doing it, we want in! Including some element of social proof helps build credibility and excitement around your product.
This CTA from Powtoon, a ‘free and awesome’ software for animated video creation, has a real-time counter that lets you know how many videos have been created. They also give a shout out to other credible sources who endorse them which can help build trust around a product.
6. Testing… testing…
If you’re still not sure which path will lead you to CTA superstardom, why not try out a couple of different ones? You can conduct your own A/B test to gain insight into what CTA copy, design, size and placement will work best with your audience. Remember, there is not just ONE set type of CTA that is universally successful. Awesome CTAs come in all shapes and sizes so don’t be afraid to try out a few. Embrace CTA failure – it will only help ensure your next version is that much more clickable!
Not to get all mathematical on you, but based on all his testing, Michael Aagaard has distilled successful CTA creation down to a simple formula:
If you build a CTA that conveys clear value to the reader and has a relevant and actionable button, they will click it. And that minuscule movement of finger-to-mouse is the difference between conversion and a lost opportunity for your business.
Do you know of any other examples of epic #CTAWins or #CTAFails? Share with us!