A CTA, short for a Call To Action, is online marketing buzzword which refers to any request, or directing people to do something – like take an action, or move on to the next step towards purchasing a product, a commodity or a service that is on the offer.
So in effect, a CTA is virtually anything – words, a phrase, or even a picture or a video that urges the viewer, or reader to take an action, usually aimed at closing a transaction, such as a sale.
Example of call to actions include banner advertisements that say ‘click here’, popup adverts which ask you to visit a website or ‘call now’, email ads with a ‘click here to buy now’ or a ‘click for more info’ text and so on and so forth.
Every marketing and advertisement campaign – online or offline – comes with a CTA and is considered to be incomplete and virtually useless if it is without one. Because at the end of your advertisement or promotion, you would ideally want your viewer to take an action which you had intended him or her to take – such as making a purchase, downloading your software or app, subscribing to the email list, filling out a form, or registering a vote.
At this point, it is essential to note that a CTA is not just limited to websites trying to sell something, every website has (or should have) a CTA, where it would want its viewers to take an action – it could either be clicking the ‘buy now’ button, a call for donations, liking your Facebook page or subscribing to your Tweets.
Devising a CTA like ‘click here to buy’ or ‘visit out website’ or any other CTA is easy; the tough part is actually coming up with one which closes the deal!
Importance of CTA
It depends on what marketing strategy you employ, but CTA is usually an important factor in all. For instance you would have a CTA in email marketing, as well as if you were running a e-commerce website.
CTA provides focus to your website and your marketing campaign, by providing direction to your users. And perhaps most importantly, it makes it easy to measure the success rate or failure rate of your campaign and website in general.
Having the Perfect CTA … That Works!
So how can your website have a functional and effective call to action, that really does what it’s supposed to do?
1. Start from the Beginning
Before starting off with asking your viewers to do something it is important to know and understand why they would want to do that. Your CTA will then be as simple as identifying a problem, and providing a solution to your viewers – be it in the form of a product or a service. Tell people the benefit(s) or anything else that they would get by responding to your CTA.
2. Back-up Your CTA with a Strong Product
If you have a strong product, service or a solution behind your CTA, you will have a higher chance of success in terms of people taking an action on your website. Think about it – if you were to go on your favorite website right now to see it offer a 75% discount on one of your favorite product, it will most probably take you seconds to click on that ‘Buy Now’ button. Give your visitors an attractive value proposition, which brings us to…
3. Offer More for Less
Offering something extra almost always guarantees a higher CTA, and urges visitors to complete a CTA. For instance you could offer a limited-time discount, a freebie like an e-book with every purchase, throw in a wrist-band and a tee with every purchase or offer the developers version of your product for $10 more.
4. Have a Clear CTA
A clear call to action is important. Make sure that your CTA is clearly defined, consistent on all parts of your website, and that your website focuses on as few as possible, yet well-defined CTAs. Leave visual cues in various places, all pointing towards your CTA. Well defined CTAs are important, as they clearly tell a visitor what to do. And someone who might not know what to do will probably end up getting confused, affecting the success-rate of your CTA. The same applies to having too many CTAs.
5. Create Urgency
Creating a sense of urgency among your viewers is a well-accepted way of closing down deals, or in other words, improving your CTA. Make limited-time offers and promotions, limit them to participants or places, by adding text like ‘offer closes down tonight’ or ‘first five participants get a free bonus/half-price’.
6. Location Matters
Your CTA should be the central object of your website (and all its pages) and your on-page marketing strategy in general. For instance a ‘buy now’ button should be the center of attention and focus on your landing page, should be large and prominent and placed in the center of your page, preferably high up. Refrain from putting too much information around your CTA, as it will just take attention off it, and give your website a cluttered look. Additionally, make sure the CTA is present on all pages, instead of just the homepage. This is important as the user might want to take an action at any point of time while browsing a page, and if your CTA is not omnipresent throughout your website, the user might leave before taking the action.
7. Using Other Visual Cues
Using visual cues, such as giving your CTA more prominence by giving it an attractive and attention-grabbing color is a good idea. But don’t go too overboard with this, as too many crazy colors on a single webpage can be distracting and can put off visitors, negatively affecting your CTA. Using a simplistic theme with light colors and CTA with slightly darker shade of the same color is a safe bet. Furthermore, as mentioned in the previous point, your CTA should be large (not overtly large, just bigger than the rest of your on-page elements) in order to make it immediately noticeable and attract attention towards it.
8. Monitoring and Evaluation
Assess the effectiveness of your CTA from time to time. A good effective call to action is the cornerstone of all your marketing efforts, and it is a combination of all the above mentioned factors. Therefore evaluating how well it’s doing is important. And of course, altering and adjusting your marketing and CTA strategy accordingly – equally important.
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