If you own a small business, every page on your website should have associated with it an action which you would like the user to perform.
It might be subscribing to your newsletter, or clicking "book now". It might just be clicking a link to a product page.
But you should always know what you want them to do and the page should be designed to encourage that one, single action.
When you encourage them to take that step, it's termed a "call to action" or CTA.
The most common example is a big red button. But that's just the most obvious. Headlines, written instructions, video content - even just a phone number. These are all call to action and their effectiveness is key to the success of your business online.
Perhaps the surest way to make a potential customer take action is to show them that, by doing so, they are getting better value than their peers. In most cases, that's what a special offer does. For example, if a garment is marked as 50% off it much more likely to sell than if the seller just removes the original price and adds a new one with the same 50% reduction. Why? Because everyone likes to think that they got something special which most people didn't get. Think about it: how often do you think somebody gets 50% off and tells nobody about it? It's pure bragging rights. So make your special offers clear and make them seem as special as possible.
Ever noticed how some websites include a countdown to the expiry time on their special offers. Or a notice that says "only 8 left". Or perhaps you have received a newsletter saying, "this offer expires at midnight". All these examples have in common an attempt to make the user fear that they are going to miss out if they don't take action right away.
"Click here" might be a clear instruction, but it doesn't inspire you to take action. So make sure your CTAs include strong verbs like join, unlock, discover, download, reveal, save, access and so on. Ideally, the verb should emphasise a move from a position of weakness to a position of strength. I.e. before I click the button I don't know the answer, when I do click the button I will lift the lid on the big secret.
Here, we'll take our own advice. Call us now. Make your appointment. Subscribe today. Get a quote. You get the picture.
An effective call to action needs to grab the attention. So give it strong colours, a big bold font and plenty of white space to separate it from the surrounding content. If you squint at the screen, this should be the one thing you could easily still read and click.
You know your customers best. That means you also know their pain points, i.e. what problem they're trying to solve when they visit your website. Make it very clear how taking this action will make their problem go away. "Get more tips like these in our weekly newsletter". "Book now to experience this for yourself". Clicking that button should feel like a relief.
The good thing about CTAs is that they are easy to change. Try a few options and see which ones customers like the most. You can even do A/B testing using a service like Google Optimize.
If you're working on your website content and would like to talk about the best calls to action for your niche, why not steal our best ideas in a free 20-minute consultation call?