Optimizing Your Calls to Action for Sales

“Customers are bombarded with more than three thousand commercial messages per day, and unless we are bold in our calls to action, we will be ignored.” 

These words from Donald Miller's, modern marketing classic, BUILDING A STORY BRAND, are particularly important for small business owners who may be used to giving their customers a little space to make key decisions.

Unless these owners run eccentric boutiques for demanding Hollywood stars with no time, they wouldn’t dream of stalking their customers around the store with a checkout on wheels, to allow store visitors to instantly buy anything they want.

Yet In the digital world this is effectively what all good eCommerce sites are doing with their calls to action: Customers online already have as much time as they need to decide what they want. When they are ready to buy, subscribe, or whatever their goal is, they won’t wait around. 

The customer journey may begin much earlier on search engines, social media, or local maps, but until that customer makes their first purchase or decides to visit your store, your website is just one of many at the start of the sales funnel. This is why calls to action (CTAs) are so important. They transform visitors into customers.

Digital Marketing and eCommerce require a more direct approach to selling: Not the hard sell —  the easy buy. CTAs must be primed to get the best results possible, this means paying special attention to their wording and positioning. Good calls to action are inspiring and always in reach of the mouse, but never overbearing. If you don’t get this right you are leaving the door open to thousands of competitors and alternatives who are just two clicks away. 

How to Word A Call to Action

Getting the wording of calls to action right is key. Here are some examples of CTAs:

  • Buy Now

  • Subscribe 

  • Book a table 

  • Add to cart 

  • Schedule appointment 

All of these CTAs are short, simple, and begin with verbs. This wording creates a sense of agency and urgency: the user can complete these important actions with just one click. The simple wording is crucial for clarity, users can intuitively spot a CTA, they know that clicking it will make a commitment, they will only do this if they are completely sure what this will mean, so it’s important to make sure that the meanings of your CTAs are always crystal clear.

This doesn’t mean your CTAs have to be as simple as the examples above. Some marketers use more complex CTAs to appeal more to users’ desires. For instance instead of book guitar lessons now, They will say: take my guitar playing to the next level! The use of the first person here (my) puts the consumer in the position of power and gives them a greater sense of the benefit from guitar lessons.

CTAs like this can boost conversion rates if they are used in the right context and don’t sound too overblown or ridiculous, For example, a plumbing website shouldn’t go for: take my toilet to the next level, but might have success with FIX MY PLUMBING TODAY— note the use of eye-catching all caps and the inclusion of a time phrase, creating a greater sense of urgency. These are all techniques that websites are using every day. If you want to sell more, you need to put more thought into your CTAs. 

How to Build Calls to Action into Your Site Design

When browsing through products on Amazon, after you have finished reading a product description, with all of its most appealing features, the add to basket icon slides up to fit perfectly on the right-hand side of the screen. This isn't by accident, By structuring the CTA to appear in the perfect place immediately after seeing the product in the best possible light, Amazon is maximizing its chances of making a sale. This is why effective eCommerce websites always position calls to action after descriptions, features, or just below appealing product videos.

It’s not just written content that pushes the user towards the CTA. Many websites line the eye line of people in the images they are using with a call to action. Now you know this you will notice that most people featured on eCommerce websites are staring straight at the call to action. This unconsciously makes the user want to do the same. 

When the visitor scrolls over the call to action, the rest of the site is structured to support the argument that the user should click. For instance for ‘buy now’ CTAs you often find a summary of a product's best features nearby or the logos for Paypal and Visa to make the user feel secure. Take a closer look at any successful eCommerce site and you will always see these techniques in play. 

Where to Place Calls to Action 

Regardless of the type of website, There are classic places where you will always find calls to action on sites that are well optimized for sales. These spots have been proven to work through years of testing and tracking conversion rates. They are also supported by research on eye-tracking behavior that argues consumers tend to view websites by following either a Z or F pattern with their eyes. This is why you always find calls to action buttons in the top right corner and the bottom middle of pages.

The top menu of your website is another key location for calls to action. This is why many site designers refer to the bottom menu as ‘the junk draw’. Any menu that could lead to a sale needs to be in the top menu,  any content on the background of your company such as about us, jobs, terms & conditions, should be in the bottom menu of your website so it doesn’t distract from the power of your CTAs

Final Considerations for Calls to Action

We hope these tips on calls to action will help your site to boost its sales. Don’t forget to make sure you optimize your calls to action on the mobile and desktop versions of your site. Make sure you track your conversion rates on Google Analytics, rankingCoach users just need to complete the task to set up Google Analytics and integrate it into their homescreen. 

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21 Oct, 2020