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The Anatomy of an Awesome Call to Action
December 4, 2017 •Stephanie Fisher
You probably view no less than 27 calls to action (CTAs) every time you log onto your computer. (I might have made up the statistic.) If you happen to be viewing this blog post on our website, you've seen at least 10. Regardless, they're everywhere - on web pages, sidebars, landing pages, at the end of blog posts, etc.
And though they may be small, they're incredibly mighty. In fact, I would contend that these tiny treasures aren't taken as seriously as they should. After all, visitors who don't click don't convert.
Still, some companies pay little attention to them for the following reasons (er...lame excuses):
- It’s hard to get creative when you’ve only got room for two or three words on a button
- Everything seems best summarized as “Learn More,” “Sign Up,” or “Buy Now”
- If people really want my stuff, the button isn’t going to make or break a conversion
- Buttons are small — we’ve got bigger fish to fry than that!
I would implore you to not ignore the small things, especially when conversions depend on them.
So what is the anatomy of an awesome CTA? Let's dissect it, shall we? (I feel like I'm back in Biology class saying that!)
Before we dig into the details of what makes up a great CTA, let's take a step back and examine the bigger picture by looking at what a CTA is first.
So, what is a CTA?
A CTA is a button or link that you strategically place in order to drive prospective customers to become leads by filling out a form on a landing page. It acts as a link between the regular content that people read and a page with a more high-value offer on it (a landing page) that is hopefully relevant enough to persuade your visitor to do something, like compete a short form.
We might be offering a free eBook or a webinar or a podcast - some content piece that we know our readers want. Make it easy for your visitors to buy, download, or sign-up. Whatever it is you're offering, a CTA is an invitation to move your prospect to the next level.
Here's what you need to make your CTA awesome:
You obviously want to draw attention to your CTA by making it stand out. If your CTA blends in with the rest of your page, you won't get much traffic to your landing page. Make it contrast with your website's color scheme so that it catches the reader's eye.
If you're not sure how to pretty it up, you might include a picture of the download you're offering. You'll want some text (we'll get to that in a second), and obviously a button that people will click on.
As much as you want the CTA to draw people's attention, you don't want it to do so obnoxiously. An example of this would be having dancing clip art. It may catch your eye, but it will also drive people away.
Put CTAs on your most relevant web pages, in each of your emails, and in your blog posts.
I'm pretty sure a kitten dies every time a blog post is published without a CTA. If you post a great article then leave your readers with no where to go, they will simply go away. Look for every opportunity to give them supplemental information to go with it. Don't publish great content without leading your readers to the next logical step.
We always include CTAs at the end of our blog posts, but some companies opt to place them mid-post (arguing that people don't usually read the entire post).
If you’re opting for a CTA button rather than a text link, make sure there’s plenty of space around the CTA and don’t position it in the middle of a load of text.
Sometimes people assume that more CTAs = better, but that's not the case. They end up competing with each other and often overwhelm the user.
Isn't it overwhelming? Less = more.
You'll want short, persuasive wording that will encourage the reader to perform a particular action. To help achieve this, consider using punchy, direct copy to create a sense of urgency and stir your customers into action. Also, make it clear, so that people know what they're getting out of it.
A great rule of thumb when writing a CTA is to make your button copy complete this sentence, "I want to _____________."
Some examples include:
- Get a free consultation
- Download now
- Make an appointment
- Sign up here
I recommend avoiding buttons like Register to Learn More … because no one wants to register to learn more. (Ever.)
Test, Test, Test
All aspects of your CTAs should be tested to find out what works for your marketing efforts. Try different colors of buttons. Use varied wording on the button (Go vs Download). Place them in different spots on your homepage to see what gets the most action.
You don't know what will resonate well with your audience until you try, so do some A/B testing to help figure it out. Even when you’ve found a winning formula, keep testing new ideas or the results may end up diminishing over time.
While there's no precise formula for creating awesome CTAs for every company across the board, of this I am sure: awesome CTAs are made up of ideal placement, great design, and compelling copy. (Now, check out our amazing CTA below!)
Steph leads our client delivery team and is obsessed with delivering quality work, creating an efficiency machine, and mastering the tools and disciplines to achieve success for our heroes. At home, she loves listening to true crime podcasts, playing with her daughters and two pugs, and singing in a local rock band with her husband.
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