Call to Action (CTA)
A call-to-action (CTA) is an action request. It can be used for many different purposes, but it’s particularly important in marketing. The call-to-action serves as a direct prompt to induce the customer to make a purchase or complete some other action.
A call-to-action has long been a part of the marketing arsenal because early advertisers soon realized that they would have more success if they took the customer by the hand. The reason for this is as simple: Most people pay little attention to advertising. So, if an advertising text simply terminates abruptly, the potential customer does not know exactly what to do next. This is not, of course, due to a lack of intelligence, but stems from a lack of attention and lack of interest. Without a CTA, the customer would have to engage yet again, investing more time and effort – and many are not ready to make that effort. This is especially true for online users whose attention span is often particularly short.
A call-to-action helps guide the visitor through the website until they end up completing the desired action – regardless of whether they came from a social media page, a search engine, or directly to the site. There are different ways to design a CTA to achieve this, and there are certain technical matters that must also be considered.
How should a call-to-action be structured?
Before we consider the design and the structure of a good CTA, one thing should be mentioned: There is no such thing as a perfect call-to-action. A CTA should always be consistent with the site and its potential customers, and the call-to-action can even work in different ways across different pages. The following tips should be thought of as an orientation aid, which should make it easier to create a suitable call-to-action for your own website.
A CTA can be roughly sub-divided into four areas. These are:
– trust-building measures
The introduction is directly above the action request itself and is intended to lead the user to complete the desired action. In addition, the introduction is designed to start creating trust and reassure the visitor that they have come to the right place. Depending on the offer, you can use sentences such as “This service is completely free!” or “Don’t miss out on this unique offer.”
The action request is usually associated with a button that must be clicked by the visitor who wishes to take advantage of the offer. This button should, of course, be labelled and should briefly explain what happens when it is clicked. A simple “order now!” or “register now!” is usually sufficient. For more complex offers, the button can be omitted and replaced by a link that becomes part of the action request. It’s important that the action associated with the request is immediately apparent – when they click the button, the customer must immediately recognize that they are placing an order.
Accordingly, there is often less detail because a call-to-action must remain clear so the user is not confused by a flood of information. This is particularly true when the CTA appears on a landing page because the customer does not need to be informed about the offer. Instead, it must be possible to see what the landing page offer is at a glance so the visitor can choose to accept or reject it.
The closure is intended to convince users who may still be somewhat indecisive. It’s a good idea to build up trust, for example, by using phrases such as “You can return your order to us free of charge within 14 days” or “We will never share your data with third parties.” This lets the customer know they are not taking a risk, making them more willing to accept the offer.
Trust-building measures also have a similar purpose. They are not directly part of the CTA, but mostly operate alongside it. A seal of approval, such as Trusted Shops, is a particularly popular example. Certification labels confirm that the user has landed on a legitimate site and thus is not likely to be deceived or otherwise misled. If these four elements are well coordinated, this should lead to a noticeably higher conversion rate.
What is the purpose of a call-to-action?
“Conversion” brings us to the next topic on the agenda: Why do you need a call-to-action? In principle, this is quite simple. If you take your customers by the hand and guide them through the offer, they will feel well looked after. As a result, they do not have to engage extensively with the service or the product and therefore tend to make a ‘soft’ decision to opt for it rather than against it. Simply put, adding a call-to-action is a way of increasing your conversion rate.
A CTA links well with your SEO measures. SEO makes it easier for users to visit your site, and your call-to-action is then integrated with other design elements on your conversion page. Keep in mind that a CTA does not always have to be used to bring your customer to a purchase conclusion. A call-to-action can also be used to generate leads (or potential customers) who may then become actual customers in a further step.
Where is a call-to-action used?
Regardless of whether a CTA is used to generate leads or customers, the positioning of the action request has a decisive influence on whether it works or not. The positioning of a CTA can be very important, especially for a landing page, which is basically about whether the company can convince customers of its achievements or not.
Ideally, the CTA should appear “above the fold,” so it can be seen on the page without scrolling. In addition, it should not be burdened with advertising, other content, or eye-catching design elements. On a landing page, the call-to-action is the focus of the site and should therefore be the most noticeable element. In principle, it’s also possible to place several CTAs on the page – after all, you never really know which argument will be the one that convinces the customer. If an argument appears on an unexpected part of the page, your customer may quit the site if there is no action request in the vicinity.
Social media platforms such as Facebook have CTA tools that you can use when posting to their platform as part of your social media marketing strategy. Facebook also allows you to view the analytics behind your CTA, which you can use to monitor and improve your marketing.
What is the most important point to consider with a CTA?
An important point to consider with a CTA is its optimization. When creating a CTA, its placement may seem obvious – but whether this is actually true can only be determined in operation. In order to test how effective a specific action request is, it’s worthwhile formulating several variants. These are then placed on the page at the same place and randomly field-tested with your customers using an A/B test in each case. This allows the variants to be easily compared with one another, so that, provided you use a large sample of test customers, it then becomes easy to determine the most effective variant.
In addition, you should repeat such tests at regular intervals to ensure your selected CTA is still performing well.
A call-to-action is an important online marketing tool that can have a significant impact on your conversion rate. The customer becomes committed by the action request and knows exactly how to claim the respective offer. This makes it easier for them to make the decision and eases any reservations they may have, thus making it more likely they will execute the CTA.
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