The attention span of the average website visitor is getting shorter by the day. This means that drawing visitors into your site is now only half the job. Getting them to stay and perform a desired action like buying a product or subscribing to your newsletter, is the other half. This is where “call to actions” come in to your aid. A “call to action” is a way of getting visitors to undertake some kind of action as a result of reading or seeing something on your site. The purpose of the button is to effectively focus your visitors attention on the action you’d like them to make. ‘Sign up’, ‘Buy now’, or ‘Find out more’ are a few popular examples.
So, how do you create an effective call to action? We’ve put together a few tips to help you do just that.
What Do you Want your Site Visitors to Do?
Once you get your target audience to enter the site, ask yourself “what’s the most important thing I want them to do/see?”. Next, ask yourself ”how do I keep these visitors engaged over the long term?” A site’s call to action doesn’t have to be all about selling a product. It can simply be a button that directs your visitors to see what you consider a valuable page on your site. So what’s the next thing a visitor should do? Read more info? Subscribe to your news letter? Click a banner? Leave their contact details?
Less is More
Too much information can overwhelm us. The average visitor spends about 10-20 seconds on a website before moving on and it is your job to make it easier for them to stay. A limited number of choices will make the user decide quickly and perform the action you want, without getting distracted along the way. Think of one or two actions you want your site’s visitors to perform on a page and make those blunt and clickable.
Creating a Sense of Urgency
A call to action button should have minimal and clear vocabulary. Some call to actions are as short as: “Subscribe” or “Donate”. However, creating a sense of urgency in a simple and direct manner can help generate more clicks. Use phrases like: “Limited time only”, “Offer expires July 31″, or “Get 20% off Today”.
Size and Position
In the language of the web, size conveys importance. The larger an object it the more weight we assign to it. Make sure that your call to action is large in relation to other design elements. Also, the use of whitespace (clean space) around a call to action button is an efficient way of making it stand out. Another important factor is your call to action’s position on the page. Call to actions need to go above the fold where visitors can easily spot them without having to scroll down the page. For another take on the size of a call to action, read this interesting article.
Call to Action on Every Page
The role of a call to action is also to give direction and lead the visitor to the next page. To make sure visitors don’t reach a virtual dead end, place call to actions on inner pages of the site as well. Your call to action doesn’t need to be the same for each page. Instead you can use smaller actions that lead the user towards your greater goal. Sometimes visitors want to get more information before committing themselves to a newsletter. Once they’ve browsed an inner page on your site, make it easy for them to click and sign up right away.
The Post-action Part
Finally but importantly, what happens once users click that button?
We all have our online experiences of clicking a “Find out more” button and then arriving on a page that doesn’t quite deliver what was promised, or just looks too darn confusing, “I guess I’ve taken a wrong turn…”
Make it painfully easy for users to understand what to do right after clicking the call to action. If giving personal data is required, limit it to a short & friendly form. You also create a little pop up message that confirms the action and thanks your client.