In marketing we talk a lot about the importance of having an effective call to action. Whether marketing via a website, newsletter, social media, print advertising, video or audio, the goal is to bring the audience to a point of doing whatever it is the advertiser wants them to do. While most of what is said here will pertain to any type of marketing, we will focus on the the purpose of having strong calls to action on your website, what happens when you don’t have them, and how you can be sure that your calls to action are compelling and result producing.
By definition, a call to action is a directive to prompt an immediate response using words that urge a reader, listener, or viewer of a promotional message to an immediate action.
Since the ultimate goal of a website is to sell something–a product, a service, or an idea–I like to think of the call to action as a “mini-close” of the sale. Keep in mind, the close of the sale is a logical conclusion to a well-planned and a well executed presentation, so every call to action needs to answer two important questions for your visitors: What do you want them to do? and Why should they do it?
Once a potential customer is on your website you will want to keep them there by arousing in them such an "eager want" they literally can’t wait to learn more. Obviously the well-planned design of the website will be crucial for this to occur, since you only have a few seconds to capture the prospective customer’s attention. Creative photography, dynamic videos, informative blog posts, chat apps can all keep prospects engaged, leading them on their way to “buying” whatever you are selling.
Ease in navigating the website also contributes to this process. Clear calls of action will make it easier for people to get around on your website, and easier for them to make informed decisions.
Perhaps the biggest downfall of any website is a weak call to action that doesn’t motivate visitors to follow through. But then again, you don’t want to come on too strong because people usually resent being told what to do. That’s why proper phraseology and descriptive copy is so vital to building the desire in your site visitors so they will want to go on to next step. Keep in mind, in some cases it may be better NOT to tell them everything at first, but only enough information to cause them to know they need to connect with you for more detailed information. Having said that, you do want to be sure you tell them everything they will need to know to take action.
Now that we better understand the purpose of having a strong call to action for your website and how everything on your website serves to keep potential customers engaged, let us get to the fun stuff–that of creating compelling calls to action. There are of course the tried-and-true standbys, and I am in no way suggesting you shouldn’t use them, because after all, they do work. But is there a way to get beyond “Buy Now”, “Call Now”, “Click Here” to something more creative, fun, even enticing?
The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Just be sure that your message is clear and creates a sense of urgency.
Here are a few strategic and specific call to action to guides prospective customers through the sales process:
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Of course the list is literally endless, so let your creative juices flow. And while you’re at it, don’t forget how very important design is to creating a good call to action. In addition to compelling wording, the size, color, contrast with the rest of the page, and position will all come together to create a favorable experience for your audience and increase your chances of success.
By now, I hope that you realize how important the call to action can be, and that they indeed are the stuff that sales are made of.
Call In closing, I cannot resist ending this post with a call to action of my own. Got a marketing challenge? Vicki at 605-450-0808 or Micah at 605-936-2155 for Creative Marketing Solutions!