The calls to action (CTAs) on a website can make or break company revenue goals. Driving visitors to a page is only half the battle. Once people are there, the site must be engaging enough to move them toward the ultimate objective of converting from shoppers to buyers. If a brand has a CTA not converting, it’s time to check out the following factors and determine what changes are necessary.
Here are some of the principles designers should follow for the highest chance of success with CTAs.
Vague phrases such as “Info” or “More” don’t encourage action. Instead, use actionable verbs, such as “Get Free Report” or “Sign Up” to drive engagement.
Stick to simple phrases or risk losing visitors with shorter attention spans. Try to come up with something that explains what the user will get when they take the action and why it’s specific to the brand.
Some strong action verbs website owners can use include:
VRBO uses a simple “Book Now” command to encourage site visitors to place a reservation with one of their host locations. The button is blue, which pops against the backdrop of black, white and gray. Each property has a CTA button that follows the user down the page, as they look at photos of the property or interact with the listing.
Is the CTA still not converting? Where it’s located on the page can have a huge impact on how successfully it sends users down the buyer’s journey path. Try different locations and use A/B split tests to determine which location on the page works best with a particular audience.
Some users want enough information to make a decision before seeing a CTA button. Others are ready to act as soon as they land and need an option near the top of the page.
Get people to click on the CTA button by making an attractive offer. Give them something free, for a limited time or offer a perk if they convert to a customer.
There are two schools of thought on offering free items to collect leads. Some believe it gives the brand a direct connection to people already interested in what they offer. Others think freebies just attract people who want something for nothing and won’t convert into buyers.
Try different offers and see how the results shake out.
A good example of offering something free so people can see what a brand offers is found on inHub. Note the “Join for Free” CTA button right at the top of the page. If the full signup process is rather lengthy, brands may take action to make a free signup for a trial or download simpler. Collecting only crucial information to stay in touch, such as a first name and email address, encourages users to complete the signup.
For a CTA not converting, increasing the size of the button might improve conversions. A mere increase of 20% in size can draw user attention and improve sales. Try making the button easier to find. Move it around, make it larger, make it smaller and see what users respond to.
Every site and every offer is slightly different. What works for one site or even page on that website, may not work for another. Testing is critical.
Once users leave a site, they aren’t as likely to return. They may intend to but a million other things distract them from coming back. Whenever possible, create a sense of urgency to drive conversions while having their attention.
Utilize words and phrases such as:
- Limited time
- Ends soon
- X left
- Buy now
One note of caution — if the CTA says something is only available for a limited time, don’t extend that time indefinitely. Users should trust a brand to stick to its word. If the CTA or text surrounding it says there are only two hours left to get an offer, it must disappear after that time. The company can create a new offer, but it should not be the initial one.
Hulu adds a CTA to the top bar of their site to really drive home the point that the offer is for a limited time. They even list the end date so users know exactly when the cost goes up. If one looks at the CTA buttons further down the page, they’ll see in small letters it shows how much the price is going up and why users shouldn’t delay in signing up.
One big mistake people make with CTAs is not adding enough white space around them. A bit of negative space sets a button apart and shows the user it’s something important they should pay attention to.
For mobile users, adding white space makes it easier to click on the button on a smaller screen. Since over half of internet traffic is now via mobile devices, it makes sense to create a responsive design.
The CTA may not be converting for numerous reasons. Running tests to figure out what works with the brand’s audience is the number one way to improve conversions. Try changing the color of the button, the size, the placement and even the wording. With a bit of trial and error, designers will find the best combination for their audience and wind up with a high-converting landing page that drives growth.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.