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In a previous article we discussed the importance of having a compelling “call to action” on each of your web pages.

The article explained that  a “call to action” or “action statement” is what converts your website visitors into customers and ultimately what increases your Return on Investment (ROI) for Search Engine Marketing services such as Search Engine Optimization.

But sometimes businesses invest in Search Engine Optimization or a Search Engine Friendly Website Design and when they get a lot of traffic they are still unable to convert that traffic into customers or sales. If you fall into this category it may be time to start setting some goals for what actions you want your visitors to take once they reach your web page such as:

  • Request more information
  • Email or call you
  • Fill out a form
  • Sign up for services
  • Or purchase your products online

Once you understand what your online goals are you then need to write powerful action statements or a “call to action” (CTA) to encourage your website visitors to take that action.

This is the next crucial step in increasing your conversion rate, getting more customers and increasing sales!

Start by Designing an Offer Your Customers Can’t Resist

As a business you must have a “unique selling proposition.” This is what sets you apart from all of your competition and what should compel your target market to buy from you.

It makes sense to design your compelling offer or proposition so that it responds to a problem your target market is dealing with.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. When they sit down at their computer and search for a term such as, “buy portable air conditioning unit” what do they want to see when they click on your website? On the other hand, if the customer sits down and searches for “tips for installing Air Conditioning” they will expect to find something very different.

When designing the offer, answer these three questions:

Who is your target market?

What problem do they want to solve?

How do you offer the best solution to their problem?

These questions probably guide most of your business decisions. Your website is no different. Keep your answers to these three questions in mind throughout the entire process of writing Call to Actions for your website.

Tips for Writing Effective CTAs

1. Stay Focused on Your Target Audience

You would speak very differently to a Professional Accountant than to a Tradesman such as a Plumber. As such, you need to match your action statements to your audience. Focus on your audience’s needs and focus on using an appropriate tone.

2. Focus On the Next Step

The purpose of a “call to action” or CTA is to help visitors take the next step. Know the purpose of your website, know why you are telling your visitors the information and be one step ahead. It is your goal to help the visitor take the next step.

3. The KISS Principle

Keep it short and simple! Be clear. Be specific. Be simple. You can’t assume anything about your reader and you want to make it as easy as possible for them to take the appropriate next step. Write the statement so that a 7 year old can understand and act upon it.

4. Establish a Context for the Response

In almost any real world situation, without context to a command, most people are unwilling to respond. For example, you wouldn’t donate $5 dollars just because a cashier told you to but you would probably consider it if she said “Donate $5 to the Children’s Hospital and your name will go on our wall”. In some instances you need to provide grounding for the call to action and in others you need to help the visitors realize their need before they will consider taking the next step. In the example of Air Conditioning, you may need to provide a web page outlining the benefits of having a portable AC unit in the summer in order to convince the visitor to download your catalog.

5. Add Value and Make a Connection

It is human nature to carry a WIIFM (what’s in it for me) mentality where it may take additional persuasion to convince them to act. In essence, your CTA will state, “Do this so that you can get that.” Always try to connect the action with a direct benefit in order to show value.

6. Create a Sense of Urgency

It is also human nature to procrastinate and put things off. To overcome this tendency add urgency to the CTA– create a deadline so that the offer expires or only lasts for a short time. If the visitor doesn’t act upon the statement immediately chances are they will not come back to your site to do it later.

7. Soften Up Your Commands

Most people don’t like being told what to do. They also don’t like feeling pressured or feel as if they are being sold to. You can easily overcome this by integrating your call to actions and softening them up. Instead of saying, “Visit our Full Service Day Spa” try “How good would it feel to visit a full service day spa?”

Best Practices for Call to Action Statements

  • Size Matters. In the World Wide Web, size does matter. Studies show that bigger buttons, icons or text attract more attention.
  • Avoid Boring. Non-descriptive statements such as “click here” or “learn more” are uninteresting and generic. Your visitors want excitement and often you need to do something more to entice them to act.
  • Don’t Overwhelm Your Visitor. Too many calls to action on one page can often confuse your visitors. It’s like walking into an office and having six co-workers asking you to do something. Chances are you don’t end up doing anything anyone asks of you. Your action statements compete for your visitor’s attention so stick with your highest priority statements for each web page.
  • Don’t Forget a CTA. While you shouldn’t use too many, remember to include at least one CTA statement on each page of your website. Always help the visitor know what the next step is and help guide them through your website in order to convert them to a customer
  • Follow Up the CTA. Once a visitor completes a call to action what’s next? If they submit their email contact information do you give them a thank you page or send a welcome email? If they download a white paper do you offer other resources?
  • Use split testing. This lets you experiment with different wording, placement, size, color – or any other attribute you can think of! Simply changing “Request a Free X” to “Get a Free X” or to “Receive a Free X” can increase or decrease your conversion rates. Always make sure you have the strongest call to actions possible.

This article is provided by 1st on the List Promotion, Inc.
1st on the List Promotion, Inc. is a Search Engine Optimization company that specializes in creating and executing customized SEO Strategies. Call 1-888-262-6687 or Email Our SEO Content Writers for help with optimizing your web content for the Search Engines or for assistance in writing effective” Call to Action” statements.

Carissa Krause

Carissa Krause is currently a marketing and project specialist at 1st on the List. Over the years she has worked with clients on a wide range of projects that include areas like local SEO, backlink profile review, content development, social media, and more. Whatever the project may be Carissa focuses on achieving greater efficiencies and putting plans into action.