When you're trying to build conversions, one of the most important aspects of your digital marketing strategy may be the smallest: your call-to-action. You've brought your customers all the way down the funnel, and now they only have to push the button. But what message should your button send? Here's a call-to-action checklist to make sure your CTA helps your customers across the finish line.
1. Be Specific
What do you want your customer to do? The vague days of "Submit" and "Send" are gone. Use your button to communicate with your potential customer — ask him or her to "Download free e-book," "Subscribe" or "Get directions." A MECLABS study found that subtle differences in wording can make a huge difference: "Get started now" had a click-thru rate of 22 percent, whereas "Try now" had only 14 percent.
2. Be Colorful
Your button should pop, so make sure it's in a contrasting color and has enough white space around it to stand out. It doesn't have to be neon, but it should be eye-catching.
The days of annoying pop-ups are gone, but you can still use a CTA in a pop-up by adding a small box that attracts the attention of users after they've interacted with your site and shown some interest.
4. Be Big Enough
Your button doesn't need to be massive and certainly shouldn't overwhelm the page, but making it too small and too hard to find will make your prospect bounce. A clear, prominently placed CTA creates a sense of urgency and promises that the click has value.
5. Give It an Edge
Adding rounded corners, shadows, arrows, beveled edges or a hover effect to a button with a little white space will do the trick to make your button stand out from the rest of your content — just don't revisit the '90s.
6. Be Immediate
A sense of urgency is more likely to encourage follow-through — for example, "Offer expires January 31," "While supplies last" or "Free to the first 10 customers."
7. Pick a Good Location
These days, presenting compelling information that's useful to your customers' lives is more important than stockpiling CTAs above the fold. Present your information in the main section of the page, and add your CTA with instructions for your reader some place clear but unobtrusive. For example, the Content Marketing Institute uses a form field in the sidebar that creates simple directions the user can follow.
8. Spring Clean
Put a CTA on every page — but make sure they're not overdone. If you overwhelm your customers with options, they'll most likely opt to bounce. Declutter your pages. If your button is lost or confused, so too will be your customers. When in doubt, less is more for CTAs.
Ultimately, the purpose of your call-to-action is to convince the user that clicking brings more reward than cost. A properly designed CTA can make your customer desire what's on the other side.