If you’re reading this post and weren’t simply scanning the blog page, chances are some form of call to action (CTA) lead you this way. Which one? We won’t know until we dig back through analytics and find out. But, for now, the important thing is that you’ve been delivered here.
CTAs are interesting like that. They are amazingly complex in that knowing just what will trigger people to act is often a mystery. But, when they work, even the simplest call can produce great results.
Tailoring CTAs involves knowing one’s audience well but there are general things you can change now to help start increasing interaction.
Does your CTA actually compel?
A quick look around some small business sites and you’ll see a common theme: implied calls to action. These are areas where the designer or business owner obviously wants you to click or fill something out but aren’t exactly telling you that.
Danger phrases in this category include: read more; click here; more information; learn more.
Each of these phrases seem like natural requests for interaction but in reality are soft, indirect invitations to action. There is simply nothing compelling about them. They don’t attract attention. They don’t provide extra information. They don’t intrigue.
Ditching this mild language for active speech can instantly change that.
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Here we’ve replaced the tired, overused examples with something that the consumer might not read on every site or ad. The difference here is like a visit to your grandma’s where she politely asks you to stay for dinner and one where she shoves you in a chair and starts piling a week’s worth of home cooking on the table. Don’t invite, compel.
Give the people what they want
If you’re selling a product, people want to know two things:
– What is it?
– How much does it cost?
If your not directly selling something and your CTA is aimed at information collection, it isn’t much different. They want to know:
– What am I getting in exchange for my information?
In pretty much any other scenario – information distribution, calls to vote or provide a service – the basics will be the same. If the message is unclear or seems like it will lead to an overly complicated process, you will lose people consuming the message. Make it obvious.
Don’t offer quotes. Tell them the price. Don’t describe the newsletter you’d like to send them. Show a copy and tell them to sign up. Keep the steps between a consumer recognizing a CTA and completing it few and clear.
Make it personal
There is a big difference between talking at people and speaking with them. Consumers are far more likely to respond well if they feel like they are part of the conversation.
This honestly doesn’t have to mean much beyond reworking generalized prompts into personal ones.
Instead of saying “Get your copy,” say “Get my copy.” Instead of “Buy This Tool,” say “Get My New Wrench.”
The difference is subtle but it can provide the slightest psychological edge needed to convert that click through.
Move it up
I’ve left this final tip ironically at the bottom with the hopes that if you remember anything from this blog, this is it. Placement matters.
Once you’ve incorporated the other concepts and crafted the informative, clear and personal message, the last thing to do is move it up. If it is an ad, compel first, then explain. If it is a website, put your CTA high on the page and make it clear.
You can even consider moving CTAs all the way into your headers. See the examples here:
You can see how clear the language is here and that they tell you to try it early, in the header.
Again, here all the language compels and the CTA is direct. There is almost little to see on the page without clicking through.
Here, like Netflix, they keep the information concise. Their CTA stands out dramatically and pushes the user’s focus to it.
The thread these all have in common is that they approach the user quickly and push them to interact. Each of these examples have minimalist approaches and show how easy it can be to make a simple, effective CTA. Use these techniques in your work and see how they will improve interaction.
Caleb is a communications graduate from the University of Texas at Arlington, with a focus on journalism. Caleb has worked in a variety of fields including journalism, geographical information systems and marketing.