Everything You've Ever Needed To Know About 'Call-To-Actions'
Call to action - A word you hear from every successful blogger or entrepreneur out there. They talk about it all the time, but never really go deep into detail about what it is, or how to effectively use them to drive more users into customers.
No worries though, I got you covered today!
What is a call to action?
Call to actions, also known as CTA, is a term most often used in marketing and business. They are words that convince a reader, listener or viewer to take immediate action. (source) If you go on just about any website you can see them take so many forms: buttons, graphics, texts, links.
Call-to-actions are meant to turn users into a lead, which later converts them into a customer.
photo: Ashley Ella Design
How to effectively create a call to action
There are so many ways you can make a user take action anywhere on your website. I've put together 11 different and effective ways to create a call to action.
1 | DRIVE CLICKS WITH COLORS
Users are all about first impressions. If your website, images or anything for that matter isn't visually pleasing, they won't continue to look through your website or purchase anything from you. Colors create emotional reactions, for example, the color yellow is bright and energetic. It represents warmth, positivity and cheer which makes you feel happy and excited. Jamie of Spruce Rd. included an incredible post on the psychology of different colors in her blog.
2 | USE DIFFERENT SHAPES
Shapes have so many characteristics where each and everyone of them convey different moods or meanings. There are 3 different kinds of shapes: geometric, organic and abstract.
Geometric shapes are the kinds of shapes that are most often thought about. They come in circles, squares, triangles, diamonds, etc. These shapes often tend to mean organization, efficiency, structure and order.
Organic shapes have more curves to them and are uneven. They most often put off a vibe of pleasure comfort and spontaneity.. These shapes are most often found in nature, for example flowers, leaves, clouds, or trees. When it comes to web pages, they are created as illustration and photography. They are free-form and asymmetrical images that put off the feelings of being spontaneous and add interest as reinforced themes.
Abstract shapes are recognized but aren't real. They are simpler than organic shapes, for example, little stick men that also mean people.
You can read more about the meaning of each shape in this post by Steven Bradley.
3 | USE ACTIONABLE TEXT
When it comes to call-to-actions, using actionable text is important. It helps tell users what kind of action they're going to take. It's recommended that you don't use a word like "submit" because it creates anxiety and friction. Instead, use words such as "Click here", "download now", "buy now" or "start your free trial".
4 | MIX-EM UP!
It's good to switch up your call to actions. Like I mentioned earlier, call-to-actions come in different forms. Think about different ways you can grab your audience attention to continue to look through your website or gain your services.
In your blog posts, give your readers different areas to click through, for example, add a link to some old but related blog posts. Or maybe add a link for your readers to subscribe to your email list in the beginning or middle of your blog post and then add a subscription form at the end. You can download a list of different call-to-actions here.
5 | PLACEMENT IS KEY
Make sure that your call to actions are being used in the proper place and at the proper time. In your blog post, you want to make sure your call-to-action directly relates to your topic. You don't want to be talking about how to cook a certain meal and offer free services on mastering karate because your sharing this free service with the wrong audience!
6 | USE WHITE SPACE
White space is important when it comes to creating effective call-to-actions. Not only is it clean and professional, but it helps give your audience an area to look at when a pop of color does come up. So be sure to use the white space to your advantage!
I love the way Jamie of Spruce Rd. uses her soft yet bright colors to gain the attention of her readers and get them to sign up for her workshop.
7 | SIZE MATTERS
If you're trying to entice someone to take part in your course, make sure that it's not written like regular text. It makes it look like it's just as important as the rest of the things you're saying. Make your words large, uppercase and bold. This goes for images as well. Larger images and texts helps your CTA stand out which increases the chances of click throughs.
8 | ADD CONTEXT
This is SUPER important. If you're too vague, people won't want to know more about what you're trying to sell them. Make sure you're letting your readers know why they need to take action on your website. Most importantly, don't undersell and don't under deliver.
Kory gives a great example of adding context to her call-to-action: Create Irresistible Incentives by explaining what the challenge is and what you get when you sign up in advance.
9 | KEEP IT SIMPLE
Make sure you're not writing too much. Instead make sure your call-to-action is clear, simple and to the point. Think of it this way, peoples attention spans are relatively short and are always looking for the next interesting thing. K.I.S.S - Keep it simple stupid!
10 | MAKE IT SOCIALLY EASY
Make sure that your readers are able to easily comment, share your posts or follow you on social media. Be sure to have it visible on every page, with exceptions to comments; they should only be visible on your blog.
If you have Squarespace, download SumoMe. In the app you should be able to download the shares app. This will create social sharing buttons like those on the left side of my blog.
11 | ENTICE WITH FREE STUFF
Here's the harsh reality. Your audience are selfish. Before they can purchase a product/service or sign up for your mailing list, they want to know what's in it for them. What am I going to get out of this? Giving them a reason to do so in exchange for their contact information, will help convert them into a customer or returning audience.
Above is a great example of enticing your audience with free stuff. Melyssa of The Nectar Collective is giving access to her free library of e-books, worksheets and other really cool downloads in exchange for your email address.