YOU get a CTA and YOU get a CTA and YOU get a CTA .Oprah, probably.
Call to action. I already talked to you about how to write these (go here to get a refresher). The basics of writing CTAs are:
- Don’t be shy (seriously, TELL PEOPLE WHAT TO DO)
- Be clear
- Be compelling
But once you have this sweet little treasure chest full of action phrases and invitations, what do you do with them?
I’ve been writing a lot of webpages lately. There are so many missteps you can make with CTAs, especially if you get knee-deep in pillars or other long-form content. Heck, even the average webpage probably goes too long without giving you an opt-on (not opt-out) opportunity.
Bottom line: people need off-ramps and direction or they will leave your page. The average web user is not willing to put effort into finding information on your site. If you don’t deliver them an opportunity within a couple of seconds, they’re going to leave.
So, I wanted to revisit this. As we craft compelling marketing copy and optimize it for SEO, we can’t forget the all-important goal: interaction. There’s a paradigm you need to get into and some action steps you need to take. I’ll tell you what they are if you keep reading.
Not sure you’re committed to the read? Watch the video below instead. (See what I did there? That was an off-ramp. You’re welcome.)
How Do You Know You Need CTAs?
First, assessment. Always a good place to start. If a bit boring.
You know your website doesn’t have enough call to actions if your BOUNCE RATE is super HIGH. In other words, people land on your site, have a look around and then bounce. Outta here. Bye.
This could mean they didn’t SEE right away what they were supposed to DO. It could also mean your website has subpar information and layout. It’s kind of like creating a landing page without a form. Hubbawhat? No one would do that.
So, figure out what your bounce rate is and then revisit your copy: do people have frequent opportunities to move on from text into a point of interaction or conversion?
How Often Should You Have a CTA?
This is a bit of a subjective point, but one on which I (unsurprisingly) have an opinion. Most webpages are organized into blocks. You have text blocks, image blocks and the super-creative text + image blocks (so fancy). This may sound excessive, but for the average website, I strongly suggest having a CTA with pretty much every block. Now, OBVIOUSLY this doesn’t apply to blogs, which are meant to be read. But, honestly, even blogs do this sometimes (I’m looking at you, Hubspot).
The general layout should pretty much look like this:
That’s because the goal of someone coming to your website (and the only way you have of tracking what they did there) is for them to go further. Otherwise, they’re ringing the doorbell and think no one’s home. Open the door and don’t stand in the foyer. Invite them further in. This engagement is the only way to really nurture leads and ultimately convert.
What Should CTAs Lead to?
There are two primary types of CTAs on your website:
- CTAs that lead to a form
- CTAs that lead to other pages
Both of these have value and should be a part of your website.
The first type is created to procure email addresses, which are super valuable. Most often, this kind of CTA will be a trade: get a FREE download, MORE info, FREE tip sheet, etc. The trade may be necessary because people are hesitant to be subject to spam or get on an email list (I know I am). To get them to commit, you need a carrot. You’ll decide what is a valuable enough trade to push this transaction.
Internal linking is a part of your website’s SEO strategy. This is when you have prompts, or CTAs, throughout your site that lead to other pages. Note, this is not anchoring. For this, you want clicks between individual pages. To drive this, you create a lead-in for related content or additional information:
Click here to learn more about SEO linking strategies. (That was both a CTA for you and an example).
How Many Different CTAs Should Your Site Have?
This is an important question. I’ve worked with brands before that simply have too many streams. As visitors scroll through your site, they have the option to CLICK NOW, CONTACT US, GO HERE, GET A FREE DEMO, SCHEDULE A CALL… it can lead to decision paralysis. This overload creates unnecessary complexity.
In most web design programs, you’ll configure a batch of CTAs to use throughout your site. These will usually be linked to a form of some kind.
I suggest no more than three different CTAs for your entire website.
I’m not kidding. NO. MORE. THAN. THREE. Simply put, your tracking will be diluted and your interaction reduced if you have an overwhelming number of options. Keep it simple.
Last Step: Tracking CTAs
Lastly, and this really does feel a bit oversimplistic, you must track your CTAs.
First, you need to test the copy. Hopefully, you’ve done demographic research and know the kind of language your ideal client responds to. If not, please bookmark this and do that at some point. Figure out which CTAs work. Test them on different pages.
Second, test them in different deliveries. Change the button color and shape and placement. Play with where these fall between copy or image blocks. Maybe it works on top of an image, maybe not. Be willing to change it and monitor the results.
Third, don’t forget to be on top of response. If you get an email, that is a precious commodity. Cherish it, take care of it (RESPOND TO IT). Don’t miss connections and the lead cultivation you need to do to create a community of customers. Lots of Cs in that sentence.
The Power of Your CTAs
At the end of the day, your website is about engagement. You want people to come (traffic) and you want people to stay (health). Your site success depends on your ability to thoughtfully guide people as they navigate your website. CTAs provide the off-ramps people need. Once they’ve got their fill of info, it needs to be crystal clear where they should go and what they should do next. CTAs are the guideposts for that.
Also, I’m on IG. Needs must.