The importance of Calls to Action (CTAs): Turn your visitors into buyers

Most of the things we do in the digital world are entirely different to how we do them in the physical realm. The way we buy however, seems to share a lot of similarities.

How many new customers would restaurants and casinos miss if they didn’t have that billboard saying “Turn right on the next exit”?

Salespeople can talk about features and benefits all day, but they’d all go home empty handed if they never pulled out that contract and pointed the pen at the dotted line.

That being said, it’s striking to me how 70% of small B2B websites are omitting this crucial part of the buying process which is closing the deal (this deal can vary by niche; it can be lead generation, an actual sale, appointment setting, etc.). 70%! Crazy, right?

This opens up a huge window for your business to step in with a nice looking responsive website, with a well-crafted message for your audience and a clear Call to Action (CTA) to close the deal.

This is how you turn your website from a passive bystander to an active sales tool that, not only answers your visitors’ questions for them, but it leads them to conversion, which means more business to you.

Let’s dive into what CTAs are, how they influence user behavior and I’ll share some tips for designing compelling CTAs that will increase your chances of conversion.

Call to action section on a website
Photo by hookle.app on Unsplash

Understanding Calls to Action (CTAs)

As we’ve said, CTAs are like the deal closers of your website. They’re that friendly nudge or gentle push you give your website visitors to take a specific action. Whether it’s signing up for your newsletter, making a purchase, or scheduling a consultation, CTAs guide your visitors on the path from casual browsers to actual buyers or new leads in your CRM.

Back to the billboard example, just like drivers are paying more attention to the road than to that billboard ad, your website visitors are also going to be receiving stimuli from their surroundings, their social media, message notifications… you get it. Your CTA needs to be catchy and compelling, and it needs to lead to specific actions, otherwise you’ll likely miss them.

Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

The psychology behind CTAs

For a Call to Action to be effective, it needs to be surrounded by the right context. This context should vary depending on your audience and your offering, of course, and it plays an interesting role in touching some psychological buttons in your visitors’ minds.

Think about that countdown for a limited-time offer with a “Get it Now” button standing out from everything else; or a group of testimonials from happy customers right after you showcased your best work and just before a call to action saying “Become the next happy customer”.

Context can be powerful when used correctly around your CTA, as it can help you influence the user’s behavior and bias their decisions in your favor by implementing psychological concepts such as urgency, scarcity, and social proof.

Now here’s the thing: Creating highly effective calls to action is definitely NOT about manipulation or sleight of hand. It’s about understanding your audience, empathizing with their needs, and guiding them towards a solution that genuinely benefits them.

With that point being made, you should be able to create really compelling and need-oriented CTAs by going back to your notes from the very first strategy session when planning your website. If you didn’t go through that part, you’re going to have to do a bit more legwork and try to find who your users are and what is important for them (I’ll write a post covering how to do it soon and link to it here).

Once you know who will be reading your CTAs and how can your product or service genuinely and uniquely solve a pain point they have, now it’s time to get creative and explore different ways to convey that value proposition into a compelling action-driven CTA that leads them to conversion.

Tips for creating highly converting CTAs

Here are some tips that I personally implement and now share for you to also keep in mind when you’re creating your next Call to Action in a website.

Keep it clear and concise

It is very tempting, when writing our CTAs, to add some insider terminology or clever metaphor to make our expertise evident in some way. This can result in ambiguity and can confuse your users. Always remember that a confused user will never take action.

Stick to every-day action-packed verbs and concise language that tells visitors exactly what you want them to do. Whether it’s “Shop Now,” “Get Started,” or “Sign Up Today,” make sure your CTA leaves no room for interpretation.

Inject a dose of urgency

Yes, countdowns are a great way to inject some urgency into our CTAs; they tap into that FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and push users into action. A case study by SaleCycle reported an overall increase in conversion rate of 200% when using countdown timers in Black Friday offers.

Also, this is a point where context can be used in your favor, and not necessarily relying on countdowns. For example, you can position your call to action right after making evident the consequences of not taking action towards a solution like yours. Like a tax consultant would, for example, right after helping you realize in his messaging that you have a hot tax mess to clean up and that, with every day that passes, it snowballs into a Goliath you’re eventually going to have to slay. Perfect timing for a call to action making it feel urgent, wouldn’t you agree?

Make it eye-catching

This doesn’t necessarily mean your CTAs should always be super flashy, with lots of colors, bells and whistles; but it does mean it needs to stand out from the rest of the content. If you have mosty a white background, then maybe give it a background image and let your text incorporate nicely with it; or if your design is content-heavy, you can dedicate a fullscreen, blank-background section with a layout that makes your text and button stand out.

Here you can also experiment with elements of your brand, like parts of your logo or some patters from your brand handbook to make this section look different than the rest of the design and it makes the users stop scrolling to check it out.

Leverage social proof

People are more likely to take action when they see others doing the same. Here’s where you can bring social proof around your CTA for that “me too” feeling that we love as humans.

Whether it’s glowing testimonials from satisfied customers, star ratings, or user-generated content, incorporating social proof around your CTAs can help build trust and credibility with your audience. After all, if other people are raving about your product or service, it must be worth checking out, right?

These are some of the tips I implement most frequently when writing and designing CTAs for my clients’ websites, and now you can use them too, or take from them whatever fits your process. Just remember to keep your messaging clear and concise, inject a sense of urgency that motivates action, make your CTAs visually appealing to stand out, and leverage social proof to build trust with your audience.

Now armed with these tips, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start crafting CTAs that pack a punch. And remember, if you ever feel overwhelmed or unsure, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Together, we’ll transform your website into a conversion powerhouse that leaves your competitors in the dust. Here’s to your success!