Any website has two main goals. The first is to attract visitors, while the second one is to convert those visitors into customers. A million users may visit the website, but if they don’t become clients, what’s the point of everything the company does? Is it worth nothing?
Everyone involved in online sales is familiar with the term “Call-to-action,” an element that encourages visitors to perform a particular action depending on what the company offers to them. But how to create a CTA? Where to place it? And how to design it to work properly?
In this article, we’ll find the answers to these and other important questions, and it will help companies in choosing the best user experience services, thus making their website even more effective. So, let’s start by revealing the definition.
What is a CTA
A CTA is a graphic element that motivates and inspires website visitors to take a specific action, for example, buy a product, download a file, subscribe to a newsletter, etc. CTA tells the users what exactly they should do and what the page owner expects from them. The button may “offer” to place an order for a product or service, sign up, or get a free consultation. Thus, the targeted action increases conversion and sales, at the same time facilitating the product promotion. Sounds tempting, right?
A call-to-action is a critical element since, without it, even high-quality content might not work, and the clients will not understand what step they need to take next and how to take it. In order to avoid such situations, it’s essential to make an appeal, clear formulating of what needs to be done after reading the article or viewing the catalog with goods.
Furthermore, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that the CTA evokes emotions. That’s why it’s important to convey to potential clients how their life will change for the better after purchasing the product proposed or how this service may solve their problems.
In addition, the call-to-action communicates the benefits of the offer to the customers and motivates them to buy or subscribe. What is more, the utility should not be limited to the purchase only. It’s nice if the client will get an additional benefit in the form of a discount or a gift.
All of these and many other arguments prove that neglecting this element may affect the business operation effectiveness, which is more than unfavorable.
Types of CTA
There are various types of CTA aiming at different actions users should take. Let’s take a look at some of them.
- Sign up
Depending on the focus and goals of the website, this CTA offers the website users to go through the registration process (usually simply and easily). Here, as well as in other types, it is critical to motivate the clients and let them know what they will receive or learn after it as long as customers always need to know the “profit” that they’ll get.
With this CTA type, companies tend to provide users with useful and interesting content or profitable offers. Frequently, this call-to-action implies leaving the e-mail only, and this information is easier for users to share than, for instance, a phone number since it may be canceled at any time.
- Try for free
Such CTA enables users to try the company product or service for free. If it is really worthwhile and crucial for clients, then they will definitely buy it. Moreover, during this trial period, there’s a chance that the users will get used to it and realize how bad it was without it.
- Join us
If the companies use various social media networks, they should tell users about it and invite them to join their world and ecosystem there. Thus, customers will always be aware of diverse events, latest news and will be the first to know about new product releases.
- Read/learn more
Such a call is employed to “whet” the interest and curiosity of users by giving more information about a product or service. Often, the users are not required to subscribe or sign up here, but only to click and go to the page. Therefore, this type of CTA is distinguished by a very high click-through rate.
- Event promotion
If from time to time the company arranges some events, meetings, or celebrations for their customers, then the placement of such a CTA will be of much help. It will also serve as an additional advertisement and a tool for attracting new visitors to come and get acquainted with them, while retaining the attention of already existing users.
Depending on the company’s mission and its target audience, the CTA may convey diverse messages. And the main thing here is to make it valuable for the customers so that they feel this benefit.
Recent CTA facts you should be aware of
In order to create a truly effective CTA, let’s consider some facts that may help companies in avoiding some mistakes.
HubSpot conducted research to see what call-to-action is the best for increasing the conversion rate. They considered three types of CTA:
- Basic is a quite impersonalized CTA, meaning it doesn’t adjust to users in terms of their gender, location, language, and so on.
- Multivariate is pretty much the same as the basic one, but the difference is that it implies several CTA that are tested in order to see which of them converts better.
- Smart, in its turn, is a personalized CTA that takes into account all the users’ data so that the element becomes genuinely adaptive.
The results were the following:
The conversion rate of Smart CTA is 202% higher than the Basic or Multivariate ones. And that shows how essential the personalized approach is.
Depending on the forms of the CTA (buttons and interactive images) the conversions were different, and it appeared that the buttons were more effective than the images.
Therefore, we can see that while dealing with the CTA, it’s more advantageous to make it in the form of buttons and apply a customized technique rather than the standard one.
Once the essence of a CTA and its types are explored, it’s time to see where this element should be placed.
In general, placing the CTA is a complex issue since, on the one hand, it is necessary that the call is easy to find, but on the other hand, it shouldn’t be too intrusive. To reach the sweet spot, the CTA should be located in the most prominent places. Let’s see what they are.
- Homepage/landing page
Any acquaintance with the website starts on these pages, so placing a call-to-action button on them is simply necessary. Furthermore, on homepages or landing pages (with a hero image), the user’s gaze naturally stops at the center of it. That’s why it’s more than logical to put the CTA right here to get a quick response.
The essence of a blog is not just to post some information but to engage users in the brand, product, or service to make the business profitable. To achieve that, CTA buttons like subscribe or learn more are required. Depending on the size of the posts, these buttons may be placed in the middle or at the end of them.
The sidebar contains information that makes it easier for website visitors to understand what they can find here and what they are offered. That’s why besides the menu, lists of sections, and a search bar, the CTA button may also be included in it. However, it’s crucial to remember that the sidebar is relatively small, and the button should not take up much space so as not to confuse the users.
- Welcome pop-up message
When the users first enter the website, they may be welcomed by a huge pop-up message that they obviously can’t ignore. Such messages may contain special offers, discounts, or promotions. Therefore, when placing the CTA here, you can ensure the message will be prominent and catchy.
- E-mail marketing content
Just like with web pages, the users do not always scroll through the whole e-mail to get the important information placed at the bottom of it. Therefore, when it comes to advertising new products or services, it’s better to place the CTA button closer to the beginning of the letter, or, if it is small — right after it, so that the clients immediately notice it.
Depending on the website structure and aims, the CTA buttons may be added to various places. But the main thing here is not to overload pages utilizing them.
How to design a call-to-action button
The success and functionality of the CTA depend on the design. And once we’ve already considered the options of the CTA placement, it’s high time to explore how this element should look.
As long as the purpose of the call-to-action button is to grab the users’ attention, it is vital that they stand out from the other buttons on the screen, especially in size. Large buttons have a good chance of being noticed and clicked on, but there are some restrictions you should adhere to. An attractive CTA button shouldn’t be too large to ruin the visual composition and layout structure, and it shouldn’t be too small since it will be missed out on by users.
Although a call-to-action button should be prominent and catchy, it shouldn’t differ from the overall website or the page design. It should stand out against the general background and at the same time not look like a foreign object. Moreover, in the case of the application of several buttons, various shades or colors can be used so that the users understand that they are being offered different actions.
The call-to-action may be presented in the form of a link, image, or a button (but we already know which one is the most effective, right?). Buttons of any shape may be utilized on the website: rectangular, square, or round. The main thing is that they perfectly fit into the website design and do not get lost among the rest of the content.
- Clickable look
In order to show users where they are expected to take the action, the CTA button should literally look like a button so that the clients should see that the element is clickable and not a part of the banner or image. Otherwise, there’s a chance that the users will get confused or just simply will not understand that somewhere they could click on it. To avoid such a scenario, you can employ shadows, 3D, and other visual effects.
According to the Von Restorff effect, also known as the isolation effect, when there are several objects, the object that is different from the rest is the one that is more likely to be remembered. Therefore, to attract the users’ attention, the CTA button should be made more visible and noticeable with the help of contrasting colors. Still, the color chosen should not contradict the overall color scheme of the page.
Text plays a significant role in the effectiveness of a call-to-action. That’s why it should be understandable and indicate what will happen after pressing the button. It is usually a short and straightforward phrase that catches the client’s attention. Consequently, it’s better not to use long and complex sentences because it will require more time to realize what the resource owner wants the users to do. And we don’t want to waste anyone’s time, right?
There are more ways of making the CTA button effective, such as drop shadows, a hover effect on mouseover, beveled edges, and so on. You can use those that are most suitable for the company’s concept and design. However, do not overplay them since minimalism is still in demand.
There’s one more detail we’d like to pay your attention to as long as it helps to make the CTA even more beneficial. And here we are talking about microcopy. Let’s see what it stands for.
Microcopy is a small text that the users see around (or in) call-to-action buttons. Usually, it is the simplest explanation of an action that forces people to perform it. And that is really helpful for the website owners. Microcopy also allows visitors to work out their uncertainty about what’s on the other side of the CTA by providing some additional detail that convinces them to click on it. Unfortunately, the space for a microcopy is rather limited. Thus, you should keep it short yet meaningful.
How to write on a call-to-action button
Once the design and some important aspects of the CTA are covered, it’s time to discover how the information there should be represented.
- Go with the first-person speech
The first-person call-to-action is more personal and may substantially improve the conversion rate. In this case, the visitors are not told what to do, but they are asked to make their own decision. You can’t but agree that the CTA “Download my free trial” sounds much better than a plain “Download free trial.” That’s why such an approach will be fully appreciated by clients.
- Create a sense of urgency
The practice of adding some elements of urgency to the CTA button, such as limited editions, temporary bonuses, and others, is quite efficient and practical. However, this urgency shouldn’t look artificial as long as visitors will soon recognize it. That is when a company’s promotion lasts two weeks and then is automatically extended for another two weeks (or more), the trust of customers will be lost.
- Keep it short and simple
The shorter – the better: people value their time that’s why they love brevity as well as simplicity. When it comes to the CTA, you should forget about writing long essays and using complex phrases, and not beat around the bush as long as otherwise there’s a risk of losing the client’s attention. The most important thing is to make clear to the user what you offer and what they should do.
- Use directional and visual cues
Text buttons and CTA may create several potential issues connected to page scanning or comprehension. The lack of visual cues such as color or borders may be confusing since the users won’t get where the button is, while the directional cues deal with pointing towards the button itself (using an arrow, for example). Therefore, these elements are also of much help, especially when making the CTA prominent and easy to find.
- Utilize negative CTA
Sometimes it’s appropriate to use negative CTA buttons, thus not trying to offend the users but somehow challenging them. If there’s a CTA for purchasing the service, or a gym pass, for instance, then both options of getting either refusing it should be included. And if the text of the “yes” option is pretty clear, the “no” one may contain some kind of sarcasm, something like “No, I’m fine with my non-perfect body.” In this way, visitors will take more time to think over the offer before clicking on the button since by refusing they will confirm their shame.
The tips provided are intended to help the companies in making their CTA buttons unique and efficient. Some of the techniques are quite common for every website, while the usage of others may not be appropriate for all of them. That’s why you should choose them wisely and consider the company’s mission, values, and target audience.
Top 10 CTA examples
Having reviewed the theoretical side of the call-to-action button, we’d like to proceed with showing you the brightest examples of the CTA application that work.
The text of the CTA of the Netflix website is definitely convincing since users are offered not only a short registration form but also an opportunity to employ the service on any device, at any time, and to unsubscribe whenever they want (in case of their dissatisfaction with the services provided). Moreover, the button at the top of the page calls to take the same action, but in other words, thus the message doesn’t sound obtrusive (smart move!).
When users first enter the FlowRepublic website, they immediately face the pop-up message with the button that calls them to subscribe to the newsletter. This CTA is accompanied by an assurance that they will not send them spam and an indication that they may unsubscribe at any moment. And such microcopy elements add a sense of safety, thus making users relax (very thoughtful!). In addition, on the homepage, there’s a CTA button for contacting them, which is truly prominent thanks to the application of a contrasting yellow color.
The laconic and minimalist design of the Evernote website displays the advantages of the service and offers a free sign-up option. In case the users already have an account, a quick link to logging in is also presented here. At the top of the page, visitors can find a prominent call-to-action for downloading the application. Both of the buttons are made with the help of the green brand color, which makes the design balanced and consistent.
04 Warby Parker
The glasses brand Warby Parker has applied an interactive CTA button. Here the visitors are offered two options: to choose the glasses in the relevant category (according to their gender) or to take a quiz to pick the best frame (based on the quiz results). Such a call-to-action is rather effective for attracting new customers since they have just started discovering the brand and still may have some doubts about it.
05 Spring Health
Upon entering the psychological support platform Spring Health, a pop-up message appears on the website urging users to subscribe to their newsletter. At the top of the homepage, there are two CTA buttons: “log in” and “request demo” that are designed in the corporate colors of the company. Below, visitors can also find another “request demo” CTA, but in a different contrasting color. Even though there are two identical buttons here, they don’t seem intrusive or out of place.
The Marvel website is full of various call-to-action buttons, but the way they are presented makes them look so natural that no one will perceive them as disturbing or troublesome elements. Let’s see, the left upper corner includes the logging in and joining buttons, while the right one contains the subscription CTA. Right on the big banner, visitors can find two more buttons calling for watching and learning more, executed in the red and white brand colors.
The Instagram website is designed in a really simple and elegant way. Here, except for the image with the running application on the mobile phone, users can see a logging-in form accompanied by the CTA button for taking the same action but with Facebook. Another text call-to-action encourages users to sign up (if there are still people who don’t employ it, which is scarcely possible). And just below, there are buttons for downloading the application for devices of different software.
The real estate marketing company Virtuance welcomes its visitors with a pop-up message encouraging them to sign up for the newsletter, in return offering a possibility to win a free photoshoot (sounds attractive, right?). On the homepage, users can see two prominent CTA buttons containing the same message “order and schedule the shoot.” These elements are made in a contrasting orange color, making them bright and truly visible, and leaving the visitors no chances to miss them out.
The Adidas website homepage contains several call-to-action buttons. The first one encourages visitors to join them and can be found in the header. It’s accompanied by the offer of free shipping and returns. In this way, users promptly see the benefit of interacting with the brand. In order to help clients in their navigation, the three big CTA buttons are placed right on the banner, which is rather convenient and frees users from endless searching and setting up filters in the catalog.
Tripadvisor is another good example of a website with a proper CTA – looking at this button (Find hotels), it immediately becomes clear what this search bar is designed for. Just a “find” call-to-action can mean anything in this form while adding the detail works out all the questions and possible complications. Furthermore, the black sign-in button located in the header is really noticeable against the white background.
The examples displayed above are intended to show how various call-to-action buttons can work to the greatest extent possible, thus making the process of interaction with the website mutually beneficial for both companies and users. Moreover, we believe that they will serve as a source of inspiration for you when it comes to creating CTA buttons.
On a final note
A call-to-action is a key element of users’ interaction with the product or services offered. It should be clear, logical, and reflect the essence of the product so that the users understand what will happen after they press the button.
In this article, we’ve revealed the types of CTA, their effective placement, and the brightest examples that really work. Hopefully, the information provided suffices, and you will face no difficulties while dealing with it. Nevertheless, in case of any issues or challenges, our Ester Digital team of professionals is always ready to lend you a helping hand. Just contact us, and we’ll work them out together.