What is a call to action (CTA)? In the context of your business website, they're words on or next to buttons that prompt visitors to join a mailing list, download a lead magnet, watch a video, make a purchase, or share some of your content. The text associated with those buttons can make the difference between success and failure in getting your prospects to take the action you want.
Ineffective Call To Action Examples
Many websites fail right out of the gate, by just leaving the dummy text with the buttons when they're installed. They sound neutral and acceptable, but the truth is, they're so dull and predictable that many web users mentally screen them out and don't really even see them.
- Submit – This is the most generic CTA ever. It may serve adequately at the end of an order process, when the customer is literally submitting an order, but opt-in forms are typically on your landing page. Visitors on your landing page are standing at the "mouth" of your sales funnel, they still have time to bounce, and they're not ready to "Submit" to anything.
- Buy Now – Again, visitors are unlikely to be ready to "Buy Now" when they hit your landing page. This can be an effective CTA on a product page, if your sales funnel has made your prospects ready for conversion, but it's a terrible homepage CTA.
- Click Here – This is not only generic, but it's vague, as well. You're not giving them any reason to do what you're asking, and you've left room for more suspicious visitors to wonder whether clicking here will install a cookie or take them to some spam site.
The Best Calls To Action Grab Attention
Grabbing the reader's attention can be done with simple, honest descriptives, like, "Download the Whitepaper," "Sign Up for Free Weekly Newsletter," or "Watch Video." It can also be done with even more unexpected CTAs, but the more unusual your choice, the more critical it is that you know your most likely buyers. One website that sells video game-related collectibles and clothing often uses feature box on their landing page for items they know will be hot sellers. In the box is nothing more than the catalog photo of the item and a huge button that says, "Shut up and take my money!" They nearly always sell those items out in short order. Their customers and prospects respond enthusiastically to that CTA. Yours may not. You might find better success with text that says "Get our free whitepaper on the latest SEO marketing techniques," with a button that says, "Yes, please!"
Craft Your CTA With Your Audience And Goals In Mind
Developing calls to action seems like it should be easy, but the specific words and tone you use can make or break your campaign. Understand your target audience and what motivates them, then craft a CTA to capture their attention and spur them to action.