As we go about our online lives we are all exposed to “Calls To Action” on a day by day, and sometimes minute to minute, basis . This article examines what a Call To Action is and how you can make yours stronger than the competition.
What Is A Call To Action
Basically a “Call To Action” (CTA) is a section of text which tells the user to do something. For example “contact us today”, “find out more”, “register now” or the famous “click here”. Normally a call to action is placed along-side an attention grabbing advert or graphic.
There has been much discussion on CTA’s, from userbility, accessibility, design and marketing perspectives. There is no general way of doing CTA’s because it depends on what you are trying to get the user to do and where your CTA is going to be placed. Here, we have laid out a few guidelines for making your CTA’s better…
Many web designers argue that the commonly used “click here” is inadequate as a CTA because it does not convey why the user should take such an action.
It is commonly acknowledged that an effective CTA will inform the user as to why they should follow it. For example if we came across a “register now” CTA, it informs us as to WHY we need to click it. “Click here” is an expression which fails on the informative front.
However on the other hand “click here” is a commonly used term which seems to work for the big companies. For example, see below:
Now we’re not suggesting that this makes it right but if it works for them, then it’s logical to ask – why can’t it work for the rest of us? The answer is of course, that it can work for us – only we can make our CTA even better. For example on the WSPA banner advert above, it may work saying “click here” but what if it said “click here to save a gorilla”, or “click here to find out why we need your help”. This would tell the user why they should do what it says as well as using the common term “click here” telling them how to do it. To make the CTA even stronger you could, for example, on the MYA cosmetic surgery advert have “click here for a free brochure”. This example offers incentives to the user as well as telling them why they should click.
The best word to use is “Free”. Marketeers all agree that “Free” is the most powerful word. So whatever it is, whether it is a free product or simply free information. A killer call to action then would include the command “click here” with the incentive of “free”. “Click here for a free sample” for example.
Again the messaging which accompanies the CTA needs to be clear and simple. Most of all though it needs to give a sense of urgency. For example “Sale Now On – Hurry, ends on Friday” with the CTA “click here to see what’s on offer”. If we also added “Free” in there somewhere we would have an irresistible call to action!
The message needs to appeal to your target *audience and it needs to grab their attention. Don’t tell the user what you want them to do in the message, thats in the CTA, tell them what they will want to hear then tell them what to do.
Design & Images
Obviously CTA’s come in all shapes and sizes. The most simple CTAs are used in HTML text in anchor tags like this. Text links are useful for search engines who record the text held in anchor tags and add them as bonuses to search phrases – however they don’t look great. Use them in your copy but maybe use an image based CTA somewhere as well. If you are going to use a CTA in text – why not pop an icon next to it help the user to it from other text or links.
When styling CTA’s its important to make them obvious. The idea is to make sure the sure knows that they are supposed to click on it. Below are some examples of “button” style CTA’s:
CTA buttons are widely used alongside images with marketing messages. The message gets the interest, the CTA tells the user what to do. Again the principles of the wording of the CTA still apply but when coupled with graphics, especially appealing ones, the eye is more likely to be attracted more effectively than when using a plain text CTA.
All images that you use need to be uncomplicated and need to back up or enforce the message and call to action. Sometimes just using a product shot will do the trick, other times a clever concept could be developed into the image. The important thing is to keep it simple though.
So there ends a brief introduction to making your CTA’s better. Has anybody got any other tips or examples of better CTA’s? Leave a comment below…
DISCLIAMER: The images used in this post have not been created by Attitude Design Ltd and are simply used for reference and examples.