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Read This Post! How to Enhance Your Website’s Performance Using Calls to Action June 13, 2013

It’s amazing that some companies think their customers can read minds. They will spend hours, if not days, meticulously crafting their sales page, painstakingly evaluating every verb and adjective to make sure they have the most enticing description of their product or service possible. They do a great job explaining the benefits to the consumer, highlighting the unique selling proposition, and highlighting the key features, but still their phones aren’t ringing and their inboxes don’t have any leads in them.

So what’s the problem?

If you want visitors on your website to do something, then you have to ask them to do it! You can’t expect your prospects to know what to do when they get to the end of your sales page if you don’t tell them. Just providing a compelling product description is not enough. You have to tell people reading your site exactly what the next step for them is. This is called a “Call to Action,” and it’s been shown countless times in split tests across every major industry that a page with a call to action will significantly outperform a page that doesn’t have one.

See the title of this blog post? That’s a call to action. Other common examples are:

• Sign up today
• Add to cart
• Subscribe here
• Call us for more information
• Click here to claim your sample

There are a number of things to consider when crafting the calls to action on your website. Location, repetition, vocabulary, and psychological tricks are all important parts of implementing the calls to action on your page.

Location: The first thing to consider is where to put the call to action on your page. If your selling a complex product where prospects need to read through your sales materials before they will be ready to buy, then putting it at the end of the page is probably your best bet. However if your prospects come to your sales page already knowing they want to buy, then making a huge button to checkout the focal point of the entire page would probably give you the best results. Since most people are coming to the page with the intention to purchase already, you should make it as easy and obvious for them to do that as you can. Anything else is just a distraction that could cause you to lose business.

Repetition: Another thing to consider is repetition, since there’s no rule you can only have one call to action on your page. One common strategy is to include a call to action at the beginning and end of your page. This allows prospects who know they want to purchase to skip reading your sales material and jump right to the checkout, while those who aren’t sure can scroll through your pitch without needing to go back to the top of the page if they decide to purchase. Be careful how many times you include your call to action on each page though, because it can start to feel pushy if you are pressuring them with too many calls to action.

Vocabulary: After you’ve chosen a strategic place, or places, to put your call to action, you have to figure out what you’re going to say. Calls to action should use simple language with unmistakable meaning. The last thing you want is your prospect to be confused about what you’re asking them to do. Sign Up! Subscribe Here! Add to Cart! These are all short, powerful examples.

Adding a time component to your call to action can also be helpful. Using time-bound words like “Register today!” or “Space is limited, sign up now!” prevents prospects from saying to themselves, “Yes, this looks great, I’ll sign up for it later” and then they get distracted and wind up forgetting about it.

Psychology: The psychological factors surrounding your call to action can be the wildcard that turns an average call to action into a phrase that cranks out new sales and leads.

Perhaps the most important key to making your call to action stand out and get clicks is to remove any possible distractions. Have you ever noticed that once you click to check out on Amazon, ALL of the navigation options go away? The only way to get back to the main site is to use the back button on your browser, or close the window and re-type the URL. That’s because they don’t want to give you any way to easily abandon your purchase once you’ve clicked to check out!

Don’t confuse users with multiple parts of your page competing for their attention. Anything that is not either your call to action itself or something that serves as a set up to your call to action should be removed if at all possible, and if not made as small and unobtrusive as you can. This includes using multiple different calls to action!

There is a psychological phenomenon called “The Paradox of Choice.” In summary it says that humans become overwhelmed if they are confronted with too many choices. If we are presented with a large selection of options and no clear way to filter them, it becomes a monumental task for our brain to try to sort through and compare all of the various possibilities before making a selection.

In cases where making a choice isn’t mandatory or urgent, most people will simply walk away and avoid having to choose all together. So if you present a prospect with too many different calls to action, meaning calls to action for several different products, instead of making it easier for customers to find the best fit for them, you’ve presented them with a situation that is a huge drain on their brainpower, and you will probably lose customers because of it.

Another compelling psychological trick is to use deadlines on special offers, sales, or even selling limited quantities of something. Without specifying a deadline, you allow your prospects to stay on the fence about making a purchase forever.

People who aren’t sure if they want to buy will be happy to keep their money in their pockets while they debate with themselves about whether or not it’s a good idea to buy from you. But if you give them a deadline to make a purchase, all of a sudden there is a consequence to their indecision. They have to deal with the fear of missing out, because if they wait too long and miss your deadline they may wind up regretting it later. This can generate a huge increase in conversions, since there is now a risk associated with waiting too long and at least some your prospects will see it as worth the investment to buy now to avoid that risk.

A call to action is a powerful tool for getting better results from your website, and you should be able to successfully implement them on your own sales pages now. If you found this post helpful send it to a few of your friends or colleagues so they can find out about these helpful tips, too!

(See what we did there?)

Nick Cuttonaro

Nicholas Cuttonaro is an Internet Marketing professional specializing in search engine optimization, lead generation, and online reputation management.

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