Calls to action are everywhere. You see them every day, and there’s a good chance you don’t even notice them any more! They’re all over websites, online stores, newsletters, in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and they should be your trusted ally to drum up business online.
THINK ABOUT THE CLIENT’S ACTUAL NEEDS
People often go to a website because they are sent there by some other web content or site: advertisements, newsletters, social media publications, web engine searches, etc. It’s important that you understand that your clients are not always on your page or digital tool just to buy. They also want to find information, compare, understand, view, etc.
I recommend that you take the time to really think about your clients’ needs in order to figure out the reasons why they’re coming to that particular communication tool. Their needs can be more specific than buying: they can be wanting to compare products, to buy an affordable gift, to get a coupon or to learn more about your products.
You might end up losing sales if you don’t think appropriately about the client’s actual needs. On the one hand, you can be too aggressive (e.g. trying to sell when the client just wants to get information). On the other hand, you can miss a sale (e.g. by simply entertaining when you could have closed a sale). It’s all a matter of finding the right mix, and there is unfortunately no one-size-fits-all recipe.
The trick is to write lots of different hooks and to link each of them to a specific task: to sell, to inform, to subscribe, to redirect, etc. Make a list of all the possible actions visitors can do on your website and select the ones that seem the most important to you.
Calls to action need to tell the user exactly what to do. The clearer the action that needs to be taken, the higher the conversion rate will be. You don’t wanna create a call to action that’s going to attract a lot of people without converting any.
This call to action is rather blunt and direct. The message is clear and will have a high conversion rate because the path to reach the goal is straightforward.
ADD TO BASKET
This call to action is softer and less direct. The message is clear but will have a lower conversion rate because the path to reach the goal takes more steps.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR CALLS TO ACTION
I personally don’t like “best verbs to use” lists. I think calls to action should always be tailored to the industry, finding a way of evoking the brand even when addressing clients directly. Take care of my skin, Brighter Skin Tone and Understanding Age Spots are much more relevant calls to action than any generic list of verbs for, say, a pharmaceutical company selling beauty products.
Wouldn’t you agree that Read More, Shop, or Contact Us are a bit bland? The phrasing is quite generic. Try to find a more original way of talking about your products and its benefits even in your calls to action!
Here’s a good example of information from Wikipedia:
ANTICIPATING USER PATHS
A user visiting your platform will go through an average of 2 to 8 interactions before leaving your site. You need to grab his or her attention during that short timeframe so that he or she clicks on your call to action. Problem is, not all users will take the same path.
If you think of your website as a house, not all visitors will enter using the front door. Moreover, once they’re inside, their goals in visiting your house will differ. Nice puzzle isn’t it when you wanna invite all those wonderful people for dinner?
To take a Cartesian approach, I recommend you design user paths for each type of client et need. You therefore list the various navigation scenarios for the website and its peripheral tools (social media, newsletters, emails, etc.). You will then be able to find the call to action that best fits each user path.
TEST, TEST, TEST!
In closing, I would advise you to A/B test your calls to action to figure out what works best for your particular industry.