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The Power of a Call to Action
5 Ways to Get What You Want from Your Audience
If you’re like most small business owners, you’ve reached that point where you’ve finally secured a steady stream of visitors to your website. In order to ensure continued growth for your business, you’ll need to effectively convert those visitors into paying customers. That means, now that you have their attention, you’re going to have to tell them what you want them to do.
Visitors to your website, or your social media channels, are looking for some direction, so don’t be afraid to give it to them. When a visitor lands on your page, be sure to show and tell them exactly what you want them to do. Corey Rudl, President and Founder of the Internet Marketing Center, has some advice on why you should do exactly that:
“You know, it’s amazing how many people simply neglect to ask for the order. This simple oversight can be deadly for your business; in fact, studies show that you can increase your sales by at least 80 percent by clearly instructing your visitors how to make a purchase!”1
It seems pretty basic, to ask for the sale. Yet, you’d be amazed at the amount of websites that fail to do so. After you’ve spent countless hours and, likely, plenty of money getting your website where you want it to be, make sure it’s equipped to do what you need it to do. Make sure that the content you’re using is able to turn visitors into loyal customers.
Are you having some difficulty getting started? It could simply be that you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to creating your Call to Action (CTA). Here are five tips that will keep you headed in the right direction and help you to get what you want from your audience.
1. Getting the sale
In business, getting the sale is the ultimate goal. Getting there is the challenge. That’s where your Call to Action comes in to play. Sometimes, your CTA can be cleverly disguised, allowing you to bring your customers to the point of purchase without actually telling them that’s what you’re doing.
For example, “Target uses Tumblr to show customers the fashion backstory and how to style their clothes. There’s no “Buy, Buy, Buy” in their content. They use social media sharing and notes to build customer excitement and engagement pre-purchase,”2 says Heidi Cohen, Actionable Marketing Expert.
With your goal in mind, you can lead your customers to the sale in a variety of ways. Using your social media channels to build excitement, while offering a clear call to action on your website, is a great way to tie in all layers of marketing to lead you to your goal.
2. Be clear and get to the point.
There are two things on which you need to be clear, when designing your Call to Action. First, tell your customers what you want them to do. Let them know exactly what you expect from them. Once you have established visitors to your site, be clear on the services and products you can offer them and how they can be purchased.
Second, be clear about exactly what your customers will get when they click, sign in, or join. This is where you need to be up front, and guide them to the desired outcome. The use of verbs and immediate action signals are imperative in a Call to Action. People really need to be told what to do, says Author and Entrepreneur Craig Simpson:
“We may think we’re so fascinating that all we have to do is introduce ourselves, and folks will come running, begging us to tell them more. But it doesn’t work that way. People will not take the time to figure out on their own what you want them to do.”3
In business, as in life, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. You need to ask your customers to take action, to join now, or click to buy. The ‘sale’ is the reason you have brought them here, don’t drop the ball now. While you’re at it, make sure they make that purchase in a timely manner, which brings us to our next tip, a sense of urgency.
3. Include urgency in your request.
People will visit and view your website for such a small amount of time; especially when accessing from a mobile device. That means you have a small window in which to get your point across, and get the desired action. Don’t waste it. Create a sense of urgency and encourage visitors to click or sign up, right from the start. When communicating a sense of urgency, it’s important to tell visitors what you want them to do and how you want them to do it. Strike the balance between urgent and necessary, by including the benefits they will receive when they do so. Content and Social Marketer, Aaron Agius explains:
“Creating a sense of urgency is a good way to encourage visitors to take immediate action. Using time-sensitive terms, such as “Now” or “Today,” generally leads to higher follow-through rates.”4
Speaking in such urgent terms, may appear to be a pressure tactic. However, as consumers, we’ve really become accustomed to this type of sell. Think about it, how likely are you to respond to a website that encourages you ‘bookmark this for later’? It’s a good idea to get the sale when you can. Create the urgency and encourage them to ‘act now’ and share with them, the reasons why.
“Whether you want people to subscribe to your list, buy your product, pick up the phone and call you, like you on Facebook or Retweet your Tweets, asking them to do so in no uncertain terms is one of the most powerful ways to do so.”5 This sound advice, from the writers at yourwebdesignshop.com.au, speaks to the need for an urgent request in every Call to Action. This is not the time for friendly suggestions. If you want your website to do its job, make sure it is equipped with a clear and urgent request for action.
4. Be clever with verbs.
Verbs incite action, so, of course, your call to action will need a few verbs. Words like click, join, add and order are a few fine examples of bringing your audience to the desired goal.
“There’s a reason mega-sites like Amazon use verbs on each call to action. Verbs correspond to action, so wording such as “add to cart,” “add to wish list,” and “sign in” stimulate visitors to do something. Your CTA should be in the same place on each page for consistency, especially if the action item is something a user might want to complete from any page on your site, such as “add to cart” or “check out.”6 John Boitnott, journalist and entrepreneur
These action words are clear and direct.
5. Be colorful
Almost as important as the words you use in your Call to Action, are the colors you choose to accompany them. Cynthia Price, Director of Marketing at Emma, Inc., has some useful advice when it comes to choosing colors for your campaign:
“For example, orange encourages immediate action. Consider orange for asking people to sign up, buy or join right away. It’s also the color most associated with cheap or inexpensive things. And, we all know green means “go,” which is pretty handy when it comes to CTAs. It’s also the easiest color for the eyes to process, so it’s often used to relax the mind and promote growth.” 7
Plenty of researchers have conducted studies on the human brain and how it reacts to colors. Use their hard work and expertise to your advantage, and tailor your Call to Action color choices to the ones suggested. Whatever the desired outcome, there is likely a corresponding color. Cynthia Price also encourages you to consider a color that simply makes your message stand out:
“Color matters, probably more than you realize. 85 percent of people say color is the main reason they buy a product. There’s no magic color that converts best, so pick a button color that contrasts with your design to make it stand out (think: orange on blue). Or, use a color that promotes a certain feeling.”8
In order to get what you want from your audience, you need to ask. You will need to be clear and direct in the asking. It also wouldn’t hurt to use some action-inducing words, along with an inspiring splash of color. You’ve mastered how to gain views on your website, now get the sale.