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Though they may seem insignificant, CTAs (short for ‘call to action’) play a crucial role in your online success. Fail to give your CTAs enough attention, and you’ll undermine your entire operation. You’ll gradually build up interest as you convince people to read through your content, only to waste that interest (and your time) by having it lead nowhere useful.

Of course, we know that it’s not as straightforward as creating the ‘perfect’ CTA. There are all sorts of different CTAs. Companies vary in their style, tone, goals, products, and so on…  consequently, there’s no CTA that will reliably convert in every scenario.

That said, there are certain similarities that good CTAs typically share, and you can learn from them to improve your CTAs in general. Whether it’s through your social channels, on your website, or for your email campaigns, here are eight great ways to improve your calls to action.

1.   Keep your CTAs brief

Don’t ramble with your CTAs — keep them brief and to the point. To create an effective CTA, you need to engage your audience and grab their attention. Realistically, your customer is going to get bored if your CTA goes on for too long. In this digital age, human attention spans are decreasing rapidly. The timeframe being bandied around at the moment is about nine seconds — similar to that of a goldfish. Avoid writing long CTAs. It’s unlikely that readers will read them entirely, and they may not recognize them as CTAs at all. Keep things short and snappy. Ask a question, give an order; the aim of the game is for your CTA to be quick and easy for users.

2.   Make them stand out with contrasting color

Regardless of whether your CTAs are on your site, on a monthly newsletter email or on social media — they need to stand out. The best way to do this is with contrasting color. This is particularly effective if you’ve created a button CTA or a background. Changes in font color won’t necessarily blow anyone’s mind, but it will at least draw attention to the fact that there is a CTA there. So which colors should you shoot for to improve your CTAs? Orange in particular is a strong CTA color — especially if the rest of your site is full of white space or muted greens and blues. Red, green and yellow are also highly effective, because they’re bright, eye-catching and elicit different responses (check out this article on CTA color research findings). Avoid white, brown, and grey, as these have minimal impact.  Your CTA should stand out as much as possible.

3.   Add urgency

Establishing a feeling of urgency is reliably effective for improving CTA conversion rates. If an offer is open-ended, consumers may delay action indefinitely, leading to frustrating lost sales. You can boost the feeling of urgency by including words like ‘now’ and ‘today’ — ‘Buy now!’ or ‘get started today!’. Additionally, adding a deadline such as ‘Offer expires tomorrow!’ will is a reliable tactic. Customers are far more likely to click on an offer and buy it if they think the offer is going to run out soon, all because they’re afraid to miss out on something great.Deadlines are good for improving your conversion rates, but don’t use them all of the time; you don’t want to end up looking spammy or desperate.

4.   Use action words

You need to motivate your reader into taking action — after all, a CTA is quite literally a call to action. By using action words, you can convince them to get moving and take advantage of whatever you’re offering. Some examples of good action words/verbs to use are:

  • Download
  • Submit
  • Send
  • Start
  • Try
  • Reserve

Focus on the action you want your audience to take, and try to turn this into an exciting and motivational CTA. Avoid passive or weak phrases that don’t direct the reader. Taking a leaf out of video marketing can be especially helpful here. Similar to your brand’s videos you need to make the CTA attention-grabbing and relevant if you want to direct your users.

5.   Link to a landing page

You don’t want the reason that your leads don’t convert to be because your would-be consumer got lost on the way! Be very clear where you’re directing them, and make sure you follow up on the other end. What you’re linking to needs to match your CTA. If you’ve promised something to your readers if they click on this button, then you need to deliver. Great CTAs have consistency. Link to a landing page or product page so that your reader can dive straight in and buy if they want to, or collect their offer.  Instapage is a great option for anyone looking for an easy landing page builder.

6.   Include alt text or coding

If your CTAs are images rather than actual buttons, then you can include alt text or coding so that readers can still see your CTA. Some of your consumers or clients may have images turned off or disabled in their inbox, so you need to make sure that your CTAs are still visible in these situations. The best way to do this is to include alt text for your CTA images, which won’t look amazing, but will at least improve user experience. You can also use HTML and CSS to code your CTA button. (If this all sounds a bit daunting, you can hire a developer to help you with this!)

7.   Location, location, location

Location is really important when it comes to your CTAs. It needs to be clear where your CTA is — after all, you don’t want your reader getting lost or missing it. Place your CTA somewhere obvious, with plenty of white space around it so that readers don’t get distracted. Your CTA needs to be clear and accessible. It’s up to you where you put it, and you can even have multiple CTAs dotted around your email or website. If you’re going to include a few, then we’d put one right at the top of your site or email so that it’s nice and easy for consumers to see and click on. You can also include one at the bottom of your content so that consumers have a chance to read through, and then click on your CTA.

As an exercise, check out where other businesses have put their CTAs. If you’re stumped for how to look for these, local businesses are a good starting point, as well as searching for your top keywords on Google and seeing how the top 20 websites do theirs. Are their CTAs obvious? Can you find them easily, or do you have to keep scrolling? You’ll soon get a feel for what is a good CTA location and what isn’t. There are a variety of different places you can put yours, so experiment to see what works best.

8.   Keep testing and optimizing your CTAs

To ensure that your CTAs are working as well as they could be, keep testing and optimizing them. Experiment with things like color, location, shape, size, and even the text surrounding them — all of these things will contribute to the success of your CTA so it’s worth having a play around to see what works best. You can use A/B testing (or split testing) to optimize your CTAs in an email or on your website. Lots of email marketing tools like Moosend have A/B testing functions so that you can track and improve the performance of your email campaigns. And if the idea of optimizing your website sounds a bit scary, then you can always hire a digital agency to help with the trickier stuff.

As you can see, there are some really easy ways to improve your CTAs. You don’t have to practice every single one of these methods — it’s more a case of finding what suits your style, and your CTAs. The main things that you need to remember are that your CTAs need to be bold and noticeable — which you can do with location, color, and action words. You also need to add value to your CTAs: provide useful context, link to a decent landing page, and follow up on your promises. Follow these top tips, and you’ll have awesome CTAs that convert.

 What did you think of our advice? Let us know in the comments below.

Image credit: Pexels