How to Include Effective Calls to Action on Your Web Site


How to Include Effective Calls to Action on Your Web Site

Tod Browndorf | Mar, 13 2013

Years ago, effective marketing tactics included “cold-calling” prospective customers by making a lot of phone calls and ringing many doorbells. Today, technology has taken away the in-person or voice contact we used to have, and placed the ball squarely in the customer’s court. That means, if you are selling goods and services online, you must have written calls to action (CTAs) on your site that will effectively get visitors to do what you want them to. That could mean getting them to the next level of the purchasing cycle by encouraging them to get more information, or make the actual purchase. An effective CTA can be thought of as the pushy vacuum cleaner salesman of yesteryear, and if written correctly, it will produce the same results (no, not doors slammed in your face).

The Key to Effective CTAs is to Keep Them Short and Sweet

Ask a knowledgeable social media marketer about CTAs, and he or she will tell you that the most important elements are to keep the message clear and concise. You don’t get the luxury of time when you’re issuing a call to action, so it must get to the point as quickly as possible.

Here are some dos and don’ts to be aware of when considering CTAs for your site:

Start off with a verb that will facilitate the end result.

When we comparison shop, we want to find the best possible deal on whatever it is we are looking for.  That involves words like “save,” as in, “Save 20% by using this code,” or, “click,” as in, “Click here to get this service for $50 less by booking your appointment online.” And, don’t forget the old standby, “call,” as in “Call us now to reserve your tickets.” Yes, people will still pick up the phone on occasion; they just need to be motivated to do so.

Each call to action should have its own dedicated landing page.

That means, each product and service you offer should have a separate page explaining features, pricing, availability. These pages should always have the most up-to-date information possible, and be completely devoted to that one product or service. Think of the CTA as the headline to the story, drawing the reader in to find out more about what you have to offer.

Practice makes perfect.

Getting your target audience to find you online can start out as a great deal of trial-and-error. Once you have identified the target keywords for your product or service, make sure those keywords appear in your call to action, and on your landing pages. Start off by creating multiple versions of landing pages and CTAs, and track the results you get with each one, until you find the one that generates the most interest. The best results are achieved with a combination of concise copy, along with eye-catching graphics that will grab and keep users’ attention.

DON’T make promises you can’t keep.

Making false claims and under-delivering on promises is a sure way to lose sales, not to mention traffic, to your site. In the age when the reputations of businesses hinge on the feedback they get online, you do not want to gain a bad rap because of not being able to deliver on promises made in your CTAs. If you tout something as “complete,” or at the “lowest price online,” do your homework and make sure you’re able to deliver what is being promised. There is nothing worse than a dissatisfied customer; well, yes there is: a dissatisfied customer with an electronic device who will give your company a scathing review.

Make Your CTAs stand out; and never direct them to your home page.

The cardinal sin of CTAs is to use one that directs users to your site’s home page. The home page always contains the most general information, not specific details about what you sell. You want to give users all the details and tell them why they should purchase your product or service. Your home page does not encourage decision making; your landing pages do. Those landing pages should be bold, but not spammy. Overselling will drive users away, never to be seen or heard from again.


Now that you have some valuable tips on what to do, and what not to do, put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Think of your own purchasing habits and which words inspire you to act. We encourage you to take a look at the CTAs on the Coggno site, as well as click through other Web sites you admire, and see if there isn’t a trick or two you can borrow. If you have any questions or comments about our CTAs, please feel free to let us know.

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