Learn more. Start your free trial. Sign up for a newsletter. Buy now! If only converting your website visitors into customers was as simple as giving a basic command. Today’s digitally savvy buyers, more than ever before, need to be wooed before they will simply “click here.”

The CTA, or call to action, is a visual trigger on a marketing asset that shows the intended audience the next steps to take. By guiding people through specific steps of the buyer’s journey, they’re more likely to actually convert.

So, what separates a poor call to action from one that seems almost magical in its ability to convert? It’s not as complicated as you might think.

Ivan Tufek, website developer and CEO of marketing technology company Mevato, and Ryan Erwin of web development company Orbit Media Studios have worked with hundreds of small businesses and shared their insights on some characteristics of killer calls to action.


1. CTA’s Reflect a Benefit to Your Customer.

Everyone loves free stuff, and consumers like to shop around before making their final decision. On Tufek’s company website, there’s a prominent call to action offering customers a free demo. Perhaps your business might instead offer free trial access to a program or a free course that’s relevant to your product or service.

One example of how a small amount of text can be customer-centric can be found on the homepage for LessAccounting, an online accounting software provider. Among videos of customers loving this product, descriptions of what LessAccounting does, and an offer for a free trial, LessAccounting employed a call to action that says, “Get Your Books Set Up.” This copy puts the focus on helping the potential customers.


2. CTA’s Align with an Important Business Goal.

Although it’s important that calls to action reflect a benefit to the customer, it’s also important for them to align with an important business goal. Erwin shares that the most important calls to action to include on your digital marketing media include:

  • Buy
  • Try
  • Contact
  • Call

Each of these calls to action corresponds to important parts of the buyer’s journey, and a customer engages with a call to action in accordance with where he or she specifically is in the process. For example, a CTA that encourages a call targets a prospect early on in the buyer’s journey, whereas a click on a CTA that advertises a free trial, or directly asks for the sale, occurs after the prospect is somewhat familiar with your business. Based on which CTA a visitor responds to, create an appropriate follow-up plan. For example, follow up the free trial with a personalized email or phone call, as well as content that will explain how the prospect can maximize the product.


3. Killer CTA’s are Easy to Find.

No matter how compelling your offering, no one will click on what they don’t see. Placement is critical for a CTA to be effective. CTAs should be “above the fold,” a term that refers to anything that a person can see before scrolling.

Because humans are fickle creatures, another best practice is to include multiple calls to action on your website (even on an individual page). In addition to placing CTAs above the fold, consider these spaces, too:

  • Top of the page or header
  • Bottom of the page or footer
  • Inside content at various scroll depths, using directional cues and action-packed text


4. Killer CTA’s are Tested.

Testing is an important part of creating effective calls to action. Tufek recommends A/B testing to determine what part of a call to action best drives customer response. A/B testing involves comparing two versions of something (like a webpage) to see which one performs better. An effective A/B test assesses just one factor at a time (i.e., two different button colors, two different versions of text, etc.).

Hopefully you now have several ideas for how to formulate a truly killer call to action for your business. As you begin to implement these ideas, be sure to formally track the success.


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