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A Guide to Creating Effective Call to Actions

Our increasingly digital world means that today’s consumers are inundated with more marketing messages than ever before. You know the feeling – how many ads per day do you see? How many could you recall? Businesses are saturating their audiences with information and consequently losing touch with customers. All because they are failing to offer value and clarity in their marketing messages – with Effective Call to Actions!

An effective call to action:

  • allows a business to break through the clutter and better connect with individuals
  • provides a clear path and better user experience
  • accelerates users through the marketing funnel and
  • delivers more conversions (eg sales or leads) – and that’s the goal of most marketing activities

What is a Call to Action in Marketing?

A call to action (generally referred to as CTA), is a digital marketing tactic that instructs the target audience to take a desired action. It is typically written as a subtle command – for example ”Shop Now”, “Learn More”, “Download this eBook” and is generally displayed in the form of a button on digital ads, emails, landing pages and websites. This short but valuable piece of content creates a direct path for users to arrive at their destination – like a landing page – and clearly informs them the next steps they should take.

Contrary to popular belief, less choice is actually better! With less paths to follow – consumers are more likely to be led in the direction you want them to go. Providing a clear, direct and compelling guide for users will help to eliminate any uncertainty or decision fatigue by encouraging potential prospects to stay engaged with the website and thus moving them further down the sales funnel. Ultimately businesses can strategically guide the actions of their users by creating effective CTAs.

Why is it important?

Powerful CTAs should be seen as a major factor in the success of most marketing initiatives. Without a clear CTA users may be unsure of the next steps to take, or less persuaded to follow through with their initial intentions. As a result, this will negatively impact businesses from maximising KPIs such as leads, sales, conversion rates and traffic. This is because the call to action ultimately underpins these success metrics. By directing users to take a specific action and/or guide them towards a destination, you naturally bring your business closer to creating one more lead or conversion. Thus, it really does all depend on the influential call to action.

Where to include a Call to Action?

A call to action can be included across the entire marketing funnel. By presenting a clear CTA any time you want your customers to take a desired action, you can dictate consumer behaviour right through to the end of the purchasing process. The following call to action examples reflects some best practice locations to place a call to action.

Website / Landing Pages: Powerful CTAs in different sections of your website, will increase likelihood of a conversion. Regardless of the nature of the website, you want to give all visitors ample opportunity to complete actions that will support your business goals. The example below from Party Help has a CTA in three different spots on their landing page. Naturally this will increase the likelihood of a user clicking through.

Blog Articles: Blog articles are an essential marketing activity for many businesses. You can entice your readers to go further than simply reading with a call to action. What exactly do you want them to do after they have read the blog? What platform should the user end up on next? This is where your CTA has all the power to ensure users are guided towards taking a step further, closer towards the business’ end goal. At Business Assist, we include this form with a noticeable call to action at the end of every blog post, to ensure readers are guided towards their next step.

Social Media Ads: Sponsored ads on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram should always include a CTA to support your initial marketing message. Including a CTA will naturally help encourage the audience to take a straightforward action after their interest has been captured through the ad. Common ad CTAs may display a “Learn more” or “Contact us” button. You can also include a CTA in the creative. Here Rent Busters has opted for ‘Click here to never rent again’.

How to Create Effective CTAs?

There are many different elements to consider when creating a call to action. The best call to action is one that is clear, valuable, and compelling enough to provoke the need for action. Here are our top tips to consider when crafting a call-to-action strategy.

1. Create a value proposition

Marketing is largely about identifying customer problems and/or needs and delivering various solutions to satisfy the customer, ensuring they have a valuable experience in the process. Your call to action should stick closely to this.

Whilst an ad campaign should ignite a problem, or ensure a new need becomes apparent to the target audience, the job of the CTA is to ensure that on the other end, there is a valuable solution ready for the customer to welcome with open arms. Creating a clear value proposition that directly relates to the needs of the customer is an effective and compelling way to stimulate action.

Often there may be a disconnect between the message of an ad and the call to action, which does not compliment the overall desired goal. For example, an advert promoting low-cost holidays with a CTA for ‘download’ is disjointed and may cause confusion, where a CTA like ‘book now’ would work in conjunction with the ad content. Further, any possible uncertainty around the value of what the CTA button will bring, will often discourage users towards performing the action. Therefore, writing a value-orientated CTA that seamlessly coincides with the customers initial problem or need, and the message of the ad, will ensure that users clearly understand what they can potentially gain from the action, and how it can help to solve their problems. In turn this will increase the likelihood of the action being performed.

The example below by PorterVac clearly indicates the value proposition being delivered to the audience. The CTA (Get a Free Quote) depicts what users can expect to gain when they click through – a free quote. They know when they click that button, they will be sent to a page that will deliver exactly what it says it will. The value proposition is clear, direct and practical for users.

2. Create Urgency

A CTA that creates an immediate sense of urgency amongst users is a highly effective way to persuade the audience towards taking an action. The CTA should be compelling enough for the user to feel urgency to click through to the next destination and complete the desired action.

CTAs that include a deadline are likely to spark action and act as an instant motivator to encourage clicks. Provoking a sense of immediate action amongst users can also be delivered through the design and copy that surrounds the CTA. For example, large copy offering a time sensitive sale with engaging and colourful design, is likely to be more difficult to ignore.

These tactics will also compel customers to take certain action to avoid the fear of missing out – a common feeling amongst online users. The thought of missing out on an opportunity that may not arise again is the perfect way to entice action.

3. Offer Emotion and Personalisation

Understanding the power of marketing on consumer emotions will significantly assist in boosting your CTAs from good to outstanding. Creating an emotional pull can act as the ultimate super weapon in marketing messaging, and it all boils down to the key concept that reveals that emotional connection predominately underpins consumer decisions. This is because user decisions are primarily driven by their feelings and experiences rather than information. Thus, evoking emotions will inspire customers to take notice and demonstrate action.

The emotional message in a CTA will typically be implied rather than directly stated, as you want to stimulate imagination for a specific but emotional response.

You can try incorporating powerful and meaningful adjectives in your CTA strategy to get the desired effect. For example, “Find your dream home with us.” Here, Real Estate businesses can tap into realistic feelings of consumers and emotionally connect with their desires. Get creative with the language and verbalise impactful and meaningful actions.

Another way to evoke emotion is to ignite a sense of personalisation through emotional triggers such as trust, belonging, and connectivity. Crafting the CTA message in a way that taps into these emotions, will entice a higher click through rate and encourage action on the other side.

The example CTA below offers emotional triggers such as inclusiveness and trust, to encourage users to click through for help.

4. Captivate Users Through Design

An effective call to action not only needs to include the right language but it must utilise a great design. The CTA should stand out immediately to the audience and capture attention so that it cannot be missed. The following 5 techniques can be considered when designing a CTA and compare these with the example that follows.

Shape: The CTA should be shaped to look exactly like a button. That is, elongated and rectangular. CTA clickability needs to be obvious at first glance to stimulate conversions and traffic (ie. the user understands they are to ‘click’ that rectangle).

Colour: There are at least three colours that should be synced together to maximise the effect of the CTA. These are, the platform background, button background and button text. Using contrasting colours for the button against the background of the platform, will draw attention and noticeability. Further, the colour of the copy within the text should also standout against the colour of the button.

Note, the CTA is the top priority, so other buttons should be less flashy and have a lower contrast colour scheme to increase focus around the CTA button.

Text: Ensure that the text inside the call-to-action button is large enough for users to read easily and draw attention but not too large to be off-putting to users.

Size: Typically, objects that are bigger in size will get noticed first on the screen. Therefore, the CTA should be bigger than the less important buttons.

Placement: The placement of the CTA should always be considered. Creating empty space around the CTA button will draw the eye to gain attention and also make the button seem more significant.

5. Continuously Test and Improve

We have emphasised the importance of creating an effective CTA strategy – however – how do you know if you have got it right or not? The answer is A/B testing.
A/B testing allows you to compare two versions of a variable, which in this case is the CTA button, to determine which variation creates the maximum amount of impact from users.

CTA buttons are a great place to start A/B testing, as the smallest and most simple changes could have dramatic effects. A/B testing allows for data-supported decisions to optimise your CTA strategy and improve your KPIs.

There is no way to fully determine what will deliver the best results when crafting an effective CTA, therefore testing different elements of the CTA button is required. Start simple by testing colours or text size, to determine the effect on your audience. Which colours attract more attention or which text size encourages a higher click through rate? Continue to ask these questions and find the results.

Ultimately, the only way to keep improving, is to keep testing as it is the most effective way to ensure that you are maximising all possible opportunities to gain the desired response from the audience.

Conclusion

Call to actions need to be strategic and compelling to trigger impactful results from the target audience. A weak call to action will significantly affect quality leads and conversions because there will be no desire for a user to continue.

A good call to action means exactly what it says you are calling your users to undertake an action. Tell them exactly what you would like them to do. In today’s digitally saturated world, too many options can be overwhelming. It’s a win for everybody when you’re clear on what you would like someone to do after seeing your message.

The powerful strategies highlighted in this Blog Post will ensure that your call-to-action is well and truly placed to help you connect with your audience and meet your business goals.

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