Calls to action can occur anywhere. For example, you’ve probably seen “Call today!” in a number of places: on buses, flyers, TV commercials, websites, and search engine ads. Calls to action can appear both online and off, but with the prevalence of digital marketing today, they are very commonly associated with online channels. As such, calls to action frequently take the form of a link that users click, and even more frequently, that link is in the form of a button. Call to action buttons are found everywhere online: on web pages, landing pages, emails, search engines, Facebook ads, and more. This post will go over what makes an effective call to action button, as well as some best practices that will help you increase conversions for your business.
Effective Call to Action Buttons
Effective call to action buttons are ones that get clicks and generate conversions. What makes someone want to click a call to action button? There are many reasons why someone will click a button—a good offer, a strong message in your call to action writing, and vibrant colors are some reasons people will click a button. Overall, people will click on a call to action button because combination of these factors makes seeing and clicking the button a pleasant experience. The user feels confident in their decision, has a clear idea of what is being offered, knows what the outcome of clicking will be, and desires to obtain what’s on the other side.
Just like with Facebook ad images, call to action buttons are eye-catching but not disruptive. Effective call to action buttons stand out from surrounding content so as to draw attention and catch eyes skimming over the screen. To make an eye-catching call to action button, use contrasting or vibrant colors, but ones that are in line with the rest of the colors on the page. Make the text and/or the size of the button large. That is, not huge, but large enough to stick out from other text and elements on the page.
An effective call to action doesn’t tell users to take action, it inspires them to take action. Stay away from boring, vague, or complicated language, and use descriptive and enthusiastic words. Exclamation points are good, but if every call to action button on your website has an exclamation point, the visitor is likely to get overwhelmed. Save exclamation points for your most exciting offers. Also, a call to action button placed at the bottom of a page after scrolling is not very engaging. Keep your call to action buttons above the fold.
The last thing you want is for visitors to your website or [landing page to be left hanging or in the dark on what to do. If people have to figure something out or make a decision, they are likely to bounce. An effective call to action button makes two things very clear to the user: 1- what to do, and 2-what will happen when they do it.
For example, “Click to RSVP” is not clear. On the other hand, the call to action phrase “Click to get your free pass!” or “Buy your tickets before it’s too late!” provides more information to the viewer on what the result will be of clicking that button.
Call to Action Best Practices
Your call to action button may be eye catching and inviting, but it will not get users to click if they are not preceded by supporting information. The information you provide and the story leading up to the call to action button is just as important as the button itself. Using compelling, informative, and relevant content is a call to action best practice that will encourage users to click.
Use Active Words
The call to action button is the one of the first things that sticks out to the eye, but may be the last element on a page that users engage with. Contextual information and visuals help to reinforce the decision, but be sure to reinforce the action you’re asking them to take in your call to action button. Active words like “buy”, “register”, “subscribe”, and “sign up” quickly and clearly reinforce the action to be taken.
Keep it Simple
When including text in your call to action button, keep it short and simple. A long sentence that the user has to read before clicking is likely to discourage them from clicking. It will also take away from the visual appeal of the button and make it look busy or complicated. You want taking action to be easy and simple, and you want it to look easy and simple too. Follow this call to action best practice and limit the words, and even the number of colors and design elements you use in your call to action button. Save the details for your contextual information mentioned in best practice number one.
Use White Space
Not only should the call to action button itself be clean and simple, the area around it should be too. You may have used contrasting colors and large font size, but if the button is squished between two elements or crammed in with other content, it is likely to lose its effectiveness. In terms of design, a call to action best practice is to give your call to action buttons room to breathe and draw attention to them with with white space.
Another way to increase the appeal of a call to action button is to use icons. You can use an arrow pointing downward for download buttons, a shopping cart or dollar sign for purchasing buttons, or even a pen for sign up buttons. Be creative with your icons, but not confusing. Make sure the icon quickly and obviously supports the action you are asking users to take.
It is a call to action best practice to keep the button above the fold. You want users to see the call to action button in the initial page view before having to scroll. Seeing the button first will help them quickly understand the objective of the page, and will give them something to return to if they have in fact scrolled down to learn more. One of the best places to put a call to action button is at the top right of a page, as our eyes gravitate to the right when reading.
The appropriate quantity of call to action buttons to use on a given page varies. It is a best practice for landing pages to stick to just one call to action, as landing pages are designed to facilitate a single action. Homepages, on the other hand, are designed to accommodate many paths by different user personas, so it may have multiple call to action buttons. Don’t go overboard with them—too many decisions and requests on your business website will confuse or overwhelm visitors. Just stick to a select few, decide which actions are most important, and use size, placement, and language to prioritize those buttons accordingly.
Call to action buttons are an important element of digital marketing. Follow these best practices to create effective call to action buttons that guide users and grow your business!