You have one or more social media pages to have a social online experience. This social information reaches dozens, hundreds, and maybe even thousands of people. This reach on social media can be organically (free) or through paid advertising/boosting your posts to achieve a specific marketing goal. If you are lucky your Facebook page will even show on the search engine result pages (SERPs). You keep your social media sites updated weekly, you monitor and respond to questions and inquiries daily, hourly, and more. Is that enough for your digital online experience? If you want to control your name and brand on the internet it regretfully is not. Whether you are on Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook or another site you do not control the look-and-feel, information, or how many times the information shows. You often have to pay for the placement you want on the platform. What you can do is establish yourself as an expert in your field by having a professional website with quality content, a blog that allows you to showcase your expertise, and make certain all your good information gets out. Additionally, with a website you can further market your business beyond just listing your products and services by showcasing your company colors, your logo, and none of your competitors information will show. To achieve this you need a website and not just any website. You need one that is designed to "Convert" your visitors into customers. To achieve this you need a Call to Action or CTA. Let's take a look and see what an effective call of action is and how it can benefit your business online.
What is a call to action?
A call of action is a way of getting your site visitors to respond to and complete a specific action you want to see happen. This action could be driving to your location, ordering a product or service online, picking up the phone and calling, filling out a form, sending an email, or even going to certain pages within your website.
Call of actions are a huge part to every website that we create. Whether your website is a brochure website, eCommerce, customer service, or other style you need to think of how people will interact and use your website. You need to think of who is coming to your site (often called personas). When we talk with people who have an eCommerce site they instively know they need a call to action so people purchase products from them. Many of our clients are restaurants, industrial, government, and service organizations and often don't think of a call to action. They need a CTA as much as any eCommerce business selling online. In restaurants, the menu is the focal point on these sites but often is not the primary CTA. Directions, specials, phone numbers, and events happening are equally or more important. All of these items are all CTA's. A restaurant needs their menu to be clear, concise, accurate, indesable on the search engines, and ideally have pictures showing people exactly the wonderful food they will be receiving.
A great call of action will provide your visitors with:
- A focus on your site (who you are, products, and services you offer)
- A way for you to measure the success (analytics is only the start)
- Be clear in the direction you want visitors to follow
The path a user takes in your CTA is part of your sales process (e.g. sales funnel). You have a process for sales, right? If not, start developing one! A person comes to your website based on a piece of marketing material they ran across, word of mouth, from your social media pages, or performing a search on one of the search engines. A CTA is all about sales plain and simple. You want to convert your visitors into as many paying customers as possible. This is true whether you are a not-for-profit or a for-profit business. You want people to purchase from you (even if what you are offering is free you want them to purchase).
You need to focus your call to action on the value you are providing. Your visitors of your site need to gain your trust you before they recognize the need to move onto the next step in your sales process. We live in a society where people want to know what they will be getting out of moving through your sales process. They do not want to give you information without knowing they will be getting something of equal or greater value. You need to provide them this information. You need your call of action to be obvious and emotional (you need both) to your visitor.
As you focus your CTA you need to also remember the adage of "less is more". Having too many CTA's can hurt that trust you are trying to build. If someone comes to your page, sits there as they have to take a phone call and comes back a minute or two later and they have a "popup" saying "give us your information" you may be in for a rude awakening as many people will just leave and go to your competitor. If your page has more than three CTA's does it really need that many? Would two be better? What about just one? By eliminating excess you are removing stress on your visitor to make a decision. We have seen several sites that have had five CTA's on a page and it actually fits their model perfectly and works well for them. Each page needs to be looked at and optimized for your intended audience. You need to constantly update and refine your CTA process and the use of analytics will help you do this.
Solve the Problem
People arrive at your business trying to solve a problem they are having either "right now" or know they soon need to solve. You need to address this and help solve their problem quickly, easily, and as cost effectively as possible. By showing to them your expertise and your willingness to help you are building trust with them.
As kids we always loved hide-and-seek (at least I did). You were with your friends and you knew people you were seeking are hiding. When a person has a problem you don't want to hide from them. If you are selling a product clearly state what your return policy is. If you are asking them to join a mailing list clearly state how to unsubscribe from the mailing list. If you want them to proceed to the next page for more information let them know. Be as clear and precise as you can through every step of this journey.
Positioning your statement
When you write great content you want people to read it. Your placement should be as high on the page as possible. Even above the fold (before a user has to scroll) is a great place to have a CTA.
Utilize Technology to Improve Your Results
Technology is truly a blessing today. We can use some very sophisticated techniques to determine what is working and what isn't. Beyond using Google Analytics to determine what pages a person is going to, what devices they are using, how long they are on our site, and more we also love when we can incorporate heat maps into the sales process. With a heat map you can see where someone is clicking. You can also see where the mouse is moving. Many people will move the mouse to where there eye is moving and this is a great way to see where the users attention is on the screen.
Analytics are key to the success of any CTA campaign. You will be able to quickly see what is and isn't working. Google Analytics is a great source for determination of what pages users are using as well as what path they are taking when they are on your site. Programs like LuckyOrange allow us to see where people are clicking, how far down they are going, as well as see any pain points they are experiencing on forms.
CTA Tips and Tricks
There are several things we do that you can as well that will help in maximizing your CTA efforts.
- Use negative space around your call to action so that it draws your visitors attention more.
- Utilize complementary, yet contrasting colors, to help it stand out. Reds, Yellow, and Greens are very common colors for drawing peoples attention.
- Have an offer with your CTA. Common items are
- Offering limited time discounts
- Limiting the supply to increase the demand
- Highlight how many are left to be purchased
- If someone clicks on your CTA and doesn't finish filling out a form have you captured enough to contact them or left a cookie on their computer so when they return you can keep them moving positively through the sales process?
- Have a call to action on every page -- even if it is just an email or phone number
- Don't annoy your visitors!
When it comes to getting leads and sales from your website a call to action should exist on every page. When creating your page don't just focus on the conversion of the visitor. It can take a while for that conversion to take place. Don't force them into the CTA process. Provide a value to them that allows them to easily contact you on their terms rather than yours. If you design your call to action affectively you will build trust, instill confidence, and create an improvement to your bottom line. Like search engine optimization (SEO) a call to action and lead generating website is a long-term investment to success.
If you would like help in building your web presence and are a small to medium-sized business we would love to talk to you. We specialize in helping small and medium-business appear BIG on the internet through agile marketing methods that are designed to increase your user engagement and instill trust over time. You can reach us at , email through firstname.lastname@example.org, or through our online contact form here.