Are your digital marketing results underwhelming you?
Consider your current calls to action (CTAs). Many businesses create awesome content and digital assets only to fail at the CTA juncture. Nothing is more frustrating than moving someone through your marketing journey only to fail to get the order, appointment, sale, or contact information you want.
This guide explains what you need to know to develop CTAs that actually get people to ACT.
What Is a Call to Action?
Your call to action is the part of your marketing experience that tells the people you’re targeting what you want them to do, whether in a digital ad, social post, website, or e-commerce experience. A CTA typically appears as a link or button. It can link to a webpage, appointment scheduling widget, checkout experience, or anything that moves the marketing or sales experience forward.
Ways to Improve Your Calls to Action
Here are proven ways to get people to take the actions you want them to take.
Use a Command Verb at the Start of Your CTA
A good CTA is clear and concise. You typically don’t have much space in a CTA to get your point across. In many cases, it’s only a few characters, so it’s essential to get to the point. Let your audience know precisely what you want them to do at the start of your call to action. Some common action words include buy, shop, order, download, and subscribe. Examples of popular phrases are fill out the form, book an appointment, find out how, and request information.
Use Words That Generate Emotions
Emotions get people to act. A CTA like buy now and get 50% off can generate enthusiasm and urge people to act fast. Plan your dream vacation evokes a sense of romance and excitement. Sometimes it takes as little as adding an exclamation point to add drama. Buy now is quite different from buy now!
Give People a Reason to Act
Here’s a golden rule for great CTAs: always explain what’s in it for the user. Convey whether taking action will, for instance, help them do their jobs better, get healthier or fitter, or save money. Your value proposition or unique selling proposition (USP) can help you determine your call to action. The best CTAs are focused on delivering value.
Click to lose 15 pounds or take the next step to a better you are good examples of value-based CTAs.
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a BIG motivator to act (when was the last time you didn’t attend a party all your friends were going to?). It can be a significant factor in getting people to take action online.
When people think they might lose out on an opportunity that might not come around again, they’re more likely to click.
One of the best ways to use FOMO in a CTA is to reference a time-sensitive sale or promotion. Examples include:
Shop today! Sale ends on Monday.
Buy now while supplies last!
Limited number of appointments available.
These examples of CTAs highlighting time or inventory limits will result in fear of missing out, which will get people to take action.
Tailor Your CTAs to Devices
Consider customizing your CTA based on the device it’s presented on. Laptops and tablets have relatively large screens and typically support longer calls to action, while smaller smartphone screens could break them up or make them hard to read. Always check your CTAs to ensure they’re clear on all devices.
Also, consider tailoring your CTAs to typical buying behaviors on different devices. Consumers are more likely to do product research on their laptops, which means they’re higher up the buying funnel, and your calls to action may need a bit more urgency to drive activity. Smartphone buyers tend to be impulsive, so clear, simple, and direct calls to action tend to perform better.
Unexpected CTAs get attention and often earn clicks. All those buy nows, book its, and click-to-reads tend to blend in. Something fresh often attracts the eye.
An A/B test is a great way to identify which creative CTAs bring you clicks and which aren’t without tanking your results as a total commitment could. It’s critical to have a CTA A/B test plan. You never know if your CTAs are the best they can be unless you test them against alternatives.
Use Numbers Whenever Possible
From a writerly perspective, it’s often correct to spell out numbers. However, consumers respond well to seeing things like pricing, discounts, promotions, and incentives expressed as digits. It helps people decide quickly whether they can afford something — or be able to afford to pass up a discount. Some people may trigger a response to take 10% off. Others may require you to take 50% off to generate a click. In either case, the simple number makes it easy to understand the offer and whether to accept — or reject — it.
Calls to Action: The Last Word
Too many business owners and marketers spend 95 percent (or more) of their time developing digital content and marketing experiences and less than five percent working on their calls to action.
The truth: You can create the ultimate buyer journey, but if you fail at generating clicks or closing deals with your CTAs, it will all come to naught.
Leverage the tips in this guide to nail your calls to action so you get buyers to take the actions you want them to take.