Calls to Action: How They Can Dictate Your Website Design Decisions
Just how important is a call to action on your website?
When you stop to think about it, your whole website and, really, your entire sales funnel may depend on a persuasive call to action (CTA).
If that sounds like hyperbole, just think of how many times you’ve hesitated or decided NOT to click on a website’s CTA button, and then just left that company’s page altogether…
…never to return.
What’s more, if your webpage doesn’t have a CTA, then the page is a wasted opportunity.
In other words, if you don’t actively lead a visitor down the path to purchase using the most up-to-date CTA methods – what’s to stop them from leaving as well?
It’s for this reason every landing page should have a clear CTA, whether it’s to opt-in to an automated email list, request a free demo, “Add to Cart,” or “Purchase Now.”
Otherwise you’ve let a motivated website visitor (or at least someone with questions) slip through your fingers, all because of a few poorly chosen or poorly designed words.
The good news is it isn’t that hard to close these leaks in your site once you are aware of some simple guidelines that are proven to work.
What is a Call to Action?
Just so we’re on the same page, CTAs are the elements on your website page that encourage people to take the next step in your sales funnel, to click through and convert.
Normally, you may think of a CTA in terms of a button but it can come in other forms, including a simple text link or pop-up forms that we’ll cover more below.
Examples of CTAs
Top and Middle of the Funnel CTA Examples
Example 1: VTR Learning (Buttons)
These buttons invite website visitors to browse the course catalog. Source: https://vtrpro.com/
These CTAs from VTR Learning encourage accountants looking to brush up on their credentials to view the entire catalog of professional online courses. As users browse the catalog, they learn more about VTR Learning and get more familiar with the products.
Example 2: Sbrocco International, Inc. (Text Link)
The clickable text — “View Our When to Buy Guide” — encourages web visitors to learn more. Source: https://www.sbrocco.com/
This CTA on the Sbrocco International, Inc. website takes users to some learning material on the best times to buy fresh produce, setting up Sbrocco as an authority in the fresh produce space. This is perfect for engaging the first-time website visitor, who might be a retailer who is actively considering a purchase or researching to brush up on their knowledge of the buying cycle.
Example 3: FinPay (Button/Image)
Users click through this CTA to download free educational material. Source: https://blog.finpay.net/good-patient-financial-experiences-should-bestandard-practice
Visitors to the FinPay website may be exploring Patient Financial Management platforms for the first time, but might not know the ins and out. This CTA invites them to download a free ebook, branded as a “Quick Start Guide,” to introduce the topic and explain how it works — positioning FinPay as a thought leader early on in the customer journey.
Bottom of the Funnel CTA Examples
Example 1: VTR Learning (Button)
The “Add To Cart” button helps visitors who have made up their minds to buy. Source: https://vtrpro.com/free-cpe-online-courses/
This simple CTA is an important part of an e-commerce website’s functionality. In the case of VTR Learning, the “Add To Cart” button allows committed buyers to complete their digital “shopping list” before checking out.
Example 2: FinPay (Button)
This CTA leads immediately to a sign-up form for visitors who are ready to set up their personal FinPay accounts. Source: https://www.finpay.net/for-patients/
Users who have decided to set up an account with FinPay would click this button to begin the process. It’s a simple, straight-forward, large CTA near the bottom of the page that leads qualified prospects directly to the next step.
Example 3: Muller Brazil (Button and Pop-Up Form)
This CTA is highlighted on the homepage for readers who are ready to talk to someone. Source: https://www.mullerbrazil.com/
Upon arrival to the Muller Brazil website, visitors who are ready to speak with an attorney are invited to request a case evaluation with a descriptive CTA in the top navigation bar. This takes them to a pop-up form to sign up for a consultation — which is particularly useful for people contacting several law firms and comparing services.
CTA best practices
You Should be Split Testing Your CTAs
As a growth marketing company, our approach at Mole Street is to rapidly experiment with marketing strategies to identify the top tactics for gaining, and retaining leads and customers for our clients. So every decision we make is based on data.
The important thing to remember is that there are no hard and fast rules, simply best practices that have been shown to work well in general. But that doesn’t necessarily mean every single principle is best suited for your custom website.
For instance, you may have heard that you should always use a first person voice such as “Sign me up now!” because the reader can hear herself saying this in her mind as she reads it and that can help create a sense of possession. But that may not necessarily be the right tone of voice for your conservative financial institution. “Sign up now” may work just fine if that’s the case.
In order to optimize your CTAs, it’s important that you run A/B tests to see what’s working for your business site, and using a plugin such as HubSpot can come in very handy to pull everything on your site together. (Again, you can see more on that below.)
Use Stronger Copy in CTA Buttons
For many inbound marketing strategies, the purpose of a landing page is to grow an email list since email marketing is such a powerful way to increase sales.
But regardless of your goal, the whole point of a CTA is to entice people to take action right away – while you have their attention – so compelling words are the key to turning website visitors into paying customers.
To help increase conversions with CTA buttons, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to the language you’re using.
Keep it Short
While sometimes you can justify a longer CTA, there’s not always a lot of room on a button, especially when you consider mobile. Too many words can make it hard to read or understand, so keeping it short can help avoid any misinterpretations.
You can tell website visitors what to do in as few as two words. Source: https://www.kapstonemedical.com/
Yes, keeping it short will help you to keep it simple and avoid using any words that slow the reader down or stop them altogether. But being concise also means having a single CTA on your page. If you have one at the top, then you should use the same wording at the bottom so it’s clear there is only one action the user should take. Giving users a choice on the other hand may just confuse them.
After filling out a form, users have only one option left at the bottom of the page — submit. Source: https://www.mullerbrazil.com/contact-us
Use Action Verbs
Considering that we’re talking about calls to action, you need to make sure they inspire action, so use an active voice. Having passive content, such as “For more information, go to…” doesn’t really motivate someone to click. Whereas words like discover, learn, and download can help make your CTA more, well... actionable.
With CTAs that ask for action, users know exactly what they’ll accomplish by clicking through. Source: https://www.kapstonemedical.com/
CTAs can be the biggest point of friction on a website, meaning they slow your potential customer down from moving forward. Why? Because they don’t understand or don’t trust what’s going to happen when they click. It can be like answering the doorbell when you don’t know who is outside trying to sell you something. For that reason, you need to be clear about what you want them to do and what will happen when they take action. “Download the free Guide” for example is a lot less scary than “click here,” which is too vague.
Buttons that are descriptive, like this one, leave no doubt in the user’s mind. Source: https://www.sbrocco.com/when-to-buy
To be even more specific, sometimes it may help to add a line of subtext either before or after the CTA button. For instance, just below the “Sign Up Now” button, you could have a short line of text that reads, “(to reserve my seat)”. That way, the button tells them WHAT to do, while your subtext tells them WHY. The added benefit of course is, you keep the button copy short but still get the full message across.
Subtext helpfully explains why users should click, and what they’ll get as a result. Source: https://vtrpro.com/
Reminding people that your offer won’t last long prompts them to take more immediate action because of fear of missing out (aka, FOMO). Simply adding “Now” or “Limited” to your CTA can help boost conversions instantly. Or, so can a countdown timer.
The words “Get It Now” on this exit pop-up will get people to act sooner, rather than later. Source: https://www.finpay.net/learn-the-lingo/
How to Build CTAs
As we alluded to in point #5 above, your CTA button doesn’t work best in a vacuum. The CTA should be thought of and used in context with all of the other elements on the page to help move your website visitor to take action.
For instance, the bullet points of benefits that can precede a CTA button are part of what motivates the user to convert. Or, it could be the social proof statements you’ve included on your custom website that helps people feel more confident in their decision to [click].
To better understand the context of a CTA and how to incorporate it into your website design for maximum conversion rates, you may want to download our helpful tip sheet.
How to Build CTAs in HubSpot
At Mole Street, we use strategy, creativity, and data analytics to identify the top marketing tactics for gaining and retaining customers.
One of the best ways we know to customize your site to increase conversions is to use HubSpot either as a CRM or as a plugin with your website.
HubSpot CRM gives you everything you need to organize, track, and build better relationships with leads and customers. Plus, it’s free.
Just by stacking software, it allows us to create CTA content sections for clients such as FinPay:
What is shown here is only part of the overall Finpay webpage of course but this CTA takes users to a landing page that offers them a PDF download.
Once the user enters their information to receive the download, they trigger a series of very positive events for our client:
- FinPay receives a submission notification
- The visitor’s information is saved in a contact list, specific to that page
- That person is entered into an email drip campaign that guides them down the sales funnel by offering them relevant content
- And, before you know it, FinPay has another paying customer!
How to add a custom pop-up form with HubSpot
As we mentioned up top in our intro, CTAs don’t necessarily mean just a button.
They can also come in the form of a pop-up, which we can highly recommend because it can rally help convert your anonymous website visitors into real business leads.
A pop-up CTA does this (without friction) simply by showing people the content they’re looking for – without having to go looking for it.
Want to get a FREE pdf into a visitor’s virtual hands so you can get them on your email list and start building a relationship? With HubSpot, you can build sleek pop-up forms and customize how they look, when they appear, and who sees them.
This can mean creating targeted drop-down banners and slide-in boxes that are easily customizable, and work on any site or any device.
Best of all, there’s no coding required and again, it’s free.
The real benefit is, once someone fills out your pop-up form, they’re automatically brought into your CRM, where you can continue to nurture them into a loyal customer.
Remember, this works whether you use HubSpot as your CRM or as a plugin to your site.
Make CTAs Even Easier With the HubSpot CTA Builder
Does customizing your website still sound intimidating? You don’t need a background in design to create high-converting CTAs. To make it easy, you can simply use HubSpot’s CTA builder to create professional-looking CTA buttons or pop-ups in a few simple steps – no technical or design skills required. Or you can upload your own custom button design or image-based CTA with just a few clicks.
Then, you can easily insert CTAs into web pages, landing pages, blog posts, and emails so you can turn every piece of content into a gateway for conversion.
As an agency focused on growth marketing and building custom websites for our clients, Mole Street uses HubSpot so we can:
- Build and design CTAs within a company's brand guidelines
- Attach embedded content
- Allow for tracking and analytics
- Send submission emails to internal sales agents
- Organize users into segmented contact lists
- Embed the CTAs easily as HTML
What’s the #1 Immediate Action You can Take Today to Improve Your CTAs?
At Mole Street, our model for growth marketing is built on the premise of connecting marketing to sales and a commitment to uncovering what converts and what doesn’t. So hopefully you’ve already downloaded the PDF above to help optimize your CTAs.
Having said that, we understand that a key part of running any successful business is staying focused on what you do best – not getting caught up in all of the details. If you want to want to convert more of your visitors into qualified leads with calls to action you can personalize, test, and optimize, Mole Street can assist you. Because that’s what we do best.
Simply contact our digital team to help optimize your CTAs and conversion strategies, and see the difference it makes to your bottom line.