The Importance of an Effective Call To Action

Call to ActionMost internet marketing websites highlight the importance of having a Call To Action. It is a critical part of any web strategy, whether you own an e-commerce site, a newsletter, or volunteer organization. However, few if any go into detail regarding how to formulate one. Ultimately, in order to increase web flow, you not only have to implement a call to action, but do so in a way that effectively gets users to take immediate action.

Every call should integrate three specific philosophies. It should bring attention to your site, be a metric of success, and provide direction to your user base. The following are some helpful techniques to help you achieve this goal.

The first step in any successful call to action is to help the user recognize they have a need. Before any solution can be found, a customer must believe there is a problem that needs solving. By identifying this problem and communicating the benefits of solving it, a user will be properly motivated to complete the call for action. As with any sales technique, it is equally important you emphasize what happens if the problem isn’t solved. In short, highlight the urgency of the situation. Many commerce sites put an expiration date on their sales, even if the same sales will return the following month.

The second step is to offer something above and beyond the standard service. Informercials do this extremely well, offering additional items on top of the already discounted product. Similarly, a volunteer site might offer free T-shirts or bumper stickers with every donation. The beauty of this marketing strategy is that these items also function as free advertising.

Next, your call to action should be positioned correctly. Ideally you should have it visible on the center of the page and surrounded by white space. It should also be somewhere near the top, above the fold, so the user sees it without having to scroll down. Another popular web strategy is to use noticeably bright colors and large font size to highlight the call. Although the call should be on every page, it need not be as visible on ancillary pages. While on the one hand you want it to be available to the customer at all times, once they have navigated beyond the front page, they are sufficiently interested to the point where you don’t need to further distract them from the content.

Once you have it positioned and properly emphasized, you can increase web flow by eliminating clutter. It is vital that you succinctly define what action you want the visitor to take. Often times users are reluctant to fill out forms due to the overwhelming number of steps and fields they are asked to complete. On a place like the internet, where distraction is only a click away, it becomes even more paramount to keep things concise and easy to navigate. In other words, don’t just focus on the content of the call for action, but the number of actions you are requesting from the user. Any unnecessary information you want from your customers should be stripped from the process or labeled as optional. Lastly, be sure to make good on the call. If a user goes through the effort of answering your request, it’s critical you provide the service you promised. The successful delivery and satisfaction of the repeat customers will further expand your pool of new users.

A good call to action is more than combining usability, creative visuals and excellent copywriting. If success is in the details, minding these seemingly benign particulars will help separate your site from its competitors, and form the foundation for your overall web strategy.