Eight Tips On Using Call To Actions To Increase Your Conversions
Today’s tip is a simple one to sales and marketing types, though even these professionals can find themselves slipping when it comes to applying this fundamental action. Whether you are talking about your bookmarks, business cards, advertisements, web sites, blogs, or any piece of communication you have with your prospects, you need to always make sure your call to action is there.
By: T. Eldidge
What is a “Call to Action?” Simply, it’s your instructions to your visitors or prospects to take an action. For example, if you have a book for sale, your call to action might be a graphic button that says, “Buy Me.” If you have a mailing list, it’s not enough to tell people how wonderful your mailing list is, or what tremendous benefits they will receive if they join. You must take the deliberate step to instruct them to join your list.”
Here are eight tips on how to increase conversions by using call to actions on your page (or on your offline business collateral).
1. Use them- Sounds simple enough. But as I already stated, many people don’t have them. No matter how great your product is, or how eloquent your ad copy is, without a call to action, you will be leaving conversions on the table. Study after study has been done to show that this is the case.
2. Use them on every page- Think about this: every page you create on the Internet or every business card or bookmark you print has a reason for existing. And that reason is ultimately to convince someone to do something. Tip number 3 will help make sure you use these call to actions on each message you communicate.
3. Make it easy on the visitor by cluing them in to what you want them to do- Don’t assume that people will know what you want them to do. Tell them what you want them to do on each communication you create. A call to action is not always about buying a product. You may simply want someone to visit the next page on your site. If that’s it, tell them. If you hand out business cards in the hopes that someone will call to make an appointment, say on the card, “Call today to set up an appointment.” If you just published an article you want people to read, tell them to read the article today, followed by a link (if it is online) or a printed copy (if it is offline).
4. Use a variety of “Call To Action” mediums- As stated earlier, all call to actions are not “Buy Me.” Neither are they big red buttons on your website. Here are some variations you can use:
Direct Message- i.e., Buy Me
Hyperlinks- They are a way of calling to action. When I use them, I make sure they are underlined and blue if I can help it. Many programs now take out the blue underline so that the only way someone knows that there’s a link present is if the mouse rolls across it by chance.
Graphics- Arrows pointing to a location to take an action or a flashing text are all ways to grab someone’s attention and say, “Look at me; I want you to do something.”
Bold or using color will often cause text to stand out. While they may not be pure call to actions, they can definitely enhance a call to action
5. Mix The Hard/Soft Call To Actions- Sometimes it’s easy to think that if we say things like Buy Me, we might come across too salesman like, so we opt to use inference to get people to take action. Big Mistake. Buy Me messages are everywhere because they work. They are simple and unambiguous to the visitor. However, you may want to also use softer calls to actions as well as the hard ones. Phrases like, Try Me, Visit This Page, and Check Out This, are more subtle call to action messages that can still be effective for you.
6. Create Scarcity- Want to ratchet up your conversions? Couple your call to actions with scarcity and you will be engaging in a time-honored and very effective marketing strategy. What is scarcity? It’s creating a limited time to take action in order to receive a benefit. That’s what sales are all about–Scarcity. “For two days only!” “Order before midnight tonight.” In many businesses, planned sales create the lion’s share of their profits. It’s not the lower prices, but the fact that the lower prices are temporary (until they inevitably run the sale again) that cause people to buy. Otherwise, business would lower the prices permanently if that would maintain their profits. Presales are another great marketing tool if used by someone who knows how to market them and create powerful call to actions.
7. Test- Yep, this one is back again. And I imagine it will be back time and time again. Why? Because it’s one of the single best ways that will help your business grow its revenues while slashing its expenses. You can try to use a variety of call to actions, but if you really want to know what combination is working best, then you have to test.
8. Placement- Try your call to actions in different locations on a web page. You may have a powerful call to action, but if people are not seeing it, how valuable is it? Here are some of the hot-spots for call to action placements, coming from a Marketing Experiments study done on visitor eye path across a web page:
Top left of the page, in the banner area
Across the page, on the right just under the banner.
Down the left margin of a page
Bottom center of a page.
We have looked at some of the basic elements of using call to actions to increase your conversions. Understand, that if you really want to sink your teeth into the science of call to actions, there are more resources available to you than you probably can imagine. But if you remember to use call to actions on each of your communications, you will have a great start over many others who are content to rely on inference to get their visitors to take actions. In other words, if you want something done–just ask.