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Well, Maybe … if You’ve Got Nothing Better to Do: Are Your Sales Pages Failing because Your CTA Is Nothing but a Big “Meh?”

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All your marketing needs to be awesome – but your CTA must be more compelling, persuasive, and creative than everything else. It’s your launch button.

This is not a warning; it’s a certainty. Your online marketing campaign will not be successful unless you have a compelling call to action (CTA). Business success is measured by profit, which is generated by revenue, and a result of conversions. They’re all made possible by your CTA.

It’s your launch button. You need to think of it in binary terms. It’s why there’s not a launch lever or a launch dial. There are no degrees to a successful rocket liftoff. Ask Elon Musk or anybody from NASA. It either happens, or it doesn’t. Want to fizzle out on the pad? Treat your CTA with casual disregard and make it a big “meh.” Want to reach for the stars? Here’s what to know about creating kick-ass CTAs.


Call to what?

Throw it in a centrifuge and spin away all the peripheral gobbledygook, and the CTA is nothing more than an appeal to your audience, inviting their response. You are looking for a conversion. In most cases you want them to take action, such as providing you with contact information, downloading a free PDF, or even just clicking forward to another page that takes them further into a sales funnel. Or, maybe it’s to make the sale. Imagine that.

Meanwhile, there’s some pretty dramatic stuff going on. You’re at a pivotal point. The CTA is what stands between a bounce and a conversion. No pressure. We just want you to know that we’re all counting on you.

Slicing and dicing your CTA

Dynamite comes in small packages. For something with such a massive responsibility, a CTA can be one of those things you might be tempted to take for granted. As in, “Sheesh, it’s just a button.”

A tragic assumption. All your marketing needs to be awesome – but your CTA must be more compelling, persuasive, and creative than everything else. It’s your launch button. Don’t break out in a performance anxiety sweat. For something so powerful, a CTA has relatively few moving parts:

  1. Its location
  2. Its design
  3. What it says

These three elements determine two crucial things:

  • They help visitors find them without any trouble
  • They help visitors instantly know what to do 

Placement

Where you put your CTA will determine its performance. But, guess what? There’s no universal CTA g-spot. Okay, here’s a helpful suggestion. The preponderance of research shows that a typical online viewer’s eyes start in the upper left-hand corner. Then they generally make two horizontal sweeps before looking or scrolling vertically down the left side.

With this in mind, you can start off by placing your CTAs in headers, side panels, and the left-hand side of the bottom of your page.

Did you notice the reference to CTA in the sentence above was plural? Use more than one CTA on each page and have CTAs on every page. Your conversions will increase – as long as your CTAs don’t compete with each other. Have one CTA expressed multiple ways.

Design

Vogue models are paid to be gorgeously invisible, playing second fiddle to haute couture. Don’t ascribe this responsibility to your CTA. The rest of your marketing copy and design can win you creativity awards up the wazoo, but your CTA has to be instantly recognizable as something people recognize and know to click on.

This is so important we’re going to repeat ourselves. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Your CTA is too important to be left to the arbitrary whims of creativity. Make it recognizable and well defined. It works with your marketing message as a whole but set it off from your main body text. Draw attention to it with negative space.

Color choices are key – but an objective to find the perfect hue that resonates with your target audience’s retinas shouldn’t be your Holy Grail. It’s one of the ingredients in a master recipe, though. Experts agree that successful CTAs use a combination of sans-serif typefaces, bold colors, and the image of a person looking at you. Why do you think those Vogue models are always giving you that stare?

Copy

We all know the statistics about how images and videos blow engagement sky-high. Your website must still rely on words for conversion. You still have to ask for the sale. As you dangle precariously between a bounce and a conversion is the words in your CTA that the user’s going to interact with.

This means – above all else – that you must be clear. Your CTA must concisely communicate what will happen if they click or tap the button. A CTA is not an instruction. So, if you’re asking for a first name and an email address, a button that says “NEXT” is about as compelling as the terms of use we all say we’ve read and agreed to before we submit.

Say what you mean and mean what you say with your CTA. Which, consequently suggests you stop using “SUBMIT.” How does that icky word even remotely being to explain what will happen if you click or tap on the button?

Effective CTAs contain strong, active verbs. They also communicate value. Mash these two together, and you get a value proposition wrapped around an action statement. Build trust while you’re at it by adding a short and concise statement assuring them that they can disengage if they choose.

Never-ending quest

What a relief it would be to know it’s possible to stick a fork in it and call it done. There’s no such thing as a perfect CTA. The only certainty is that your conversion rates will rise if you continue to test different versions of your CTA.