Improve your call to action – TODAYfirstname.lastname@example.org
Note the headline. I’m commanding you to make a subtle but important change to your website design. It’s a call to action – one of the most overlooked and crucial elements of web content development today.
Have you ever walked into a relatively empty store and seen the owner/operator acknowledge you with a nod, then return to his or her newspaper? It’s an infuriating feeling, right? The reaction is “Gee, doesn’t this person want my business? Where’s the love?”
Lacking a proper call to action in your site design is the equivalent. You’re showing your product and service but not encouraging anyone to actually use or consume it. It’s a big sales no-no yet a common mistake. In fact, you could argue that the call to action is the central purpose of having a website. You’re looking for actual conversions and to sell your product or service, so it’s essential that you tell customers what you want them to do. Otherwise, your users become browsers instead of buyers, using your website to window shop instead of commit.
Calls to action come in many different forms, including phone numbers (call now!), requests for donation, actual checkouts for online purchases, downloads, registration forms or request forms.
Some general rules of thumb I like to follow:
1. Clarify the benefits. “Call now” won’t do unless the users know what they stand to gain. “Call now and get a free quote on your barbecue repair” makes it very clear.
2. Be concise. Calls to action can go from useful to inconvenient for potential customers in a hurry. Linking the word “buy” in your call to action tells users they can complete their transaction quickly and immediately. Linking from a “click here” hyperlink without a benefit statement is a lost opportunity.
3. Above the scroll. It’s no different than a newspaper or magazine. Don’t make your call to action a last-minute footnote. Make it prominent and visible to users without making them scroll down the page.
4. Put them on key pages, not every page. It’s great to stay consistent and have a call to action on key pages – home, product and service pages. However, you don’t want to saturate your site and make it appear spammy by placing one on every page.
If you don’t create a proper call to action, it’s a shame, as you will have wasted many valuable resources. Imagine spending oodles of money on a pay-per-click Google AdWords campaign, attracting lots of great traffic, then forgetting to show them how or what to buy!
Let’s take a cue from the masters and give car salesmen and furniture retailers their due. Their TV ads may be tacky but they always have a big “CALL NOW” flashing on the screen. It’s a call to action.
Now go fix your own call to action or find a good web copywriter that can – today!
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