The call-to-action (or CTA for short) is one of the most critical elements for conversions on your website. The call-to-action is the mechanism you offer for visitors to take their next steps towards becoming your customers.
A good CTA helps visitors through their journey, advising them as to the next step to take and serving as their guide through your funnel.
At least, that’s the theory.
However, when you get CTAs wrong, they can be worse than useless. Why would someone make a prepaid appointment for your services while they’re reading an article with your advice on how they can do things themselves?
Why would someone give you their email address in exchange for an ebook when they’re viewing your content for the first time ever and the page hasn’t even fully loaded?
Leads can be irritated by the interruption of an irrelevant popup and annoyed when your CTA doesn’t reflect their needs – sometimes so much so that they bounce off entirely, never to return.
The solution is to adjust your CTAs so that they match the situation in which they appear. It’s not enough to just embed the same CTA into every product page and blog post – you need to optimize and customize them according to the visitor’s mindset and position in your funnel.
That, in turn, requires you to understand visitor intent at every stage of the journey.
You’ll need to gather clues from all your analytics, and bear in mind what viewing a specific page of content says about what the viewer is experiencing and expecting. These are the parameters that should determine the CTA you use.
Track potential customers’ visiting history, and consider other touchpoints like whether they arrived at this page from an email, organic search, or external blog post, because each variant can affect your choice of CTA.
Here are five situations that you might find your audience in, and suggestions for how to best optimize your CTA for each.
1. The confused client
Sometimes, visitors need the services, products, or solutions you sell, but they aren’t sure what exactly they need.
Marketing or design agencies, business consultants, and interior designers can all encounter these situations, and so do companies selling products like laptops or SaaS solutions.
These leads require plenty of nurturing before they make a purchase decision. They want product specifications and features, they want to compare brands, solutions, and prices, and seek guidance about which product is the best fit.
Your CTA should acknowledge that they’ve visited educational content on your site and seem to have questions, and offer them a free assessment.
Use Gravity Forms to embed a chatbot session asking about their needs, walking them through various possibilities, and suggesting the best product or service for them, while capturing the information in their replies.
For service providers like designers, home maintenance vendors, therapists, personal trainers and business consultants, the main question you need to answer is whether leads will be able to forge a productive relationship with you. In these cases, your website visitors might know exactly what they need, but they aren’t sure if you are the best person to provide it.
Try an inline button offering a free trial session, so you can see if the two of you click. Don’t display it the first time someone lands on your homepage, as they probably won’t be ready for that yet.
It’s best on your about page, service description pages, or for someone who’s already hit other touch points on your site or come from your email newsletter or social media accounts.
Multi-featured business management solution vcita offers highly customizable CTAs that let you choose the shape, size, color, wording, and more for your CTA. Because it’s part of an integrated solution, the widget connects with your CRM and online scheduling, so leads can book their free appointment straight away.
Using its integrations with your content management system, you can determine which pages offer which vcita-powered CTAs.
Sometimes, people come to your site for ideas and inspiration. They may book a session, or they might spend months or years consuming your content without making a purchase. This can apply to B2B marketing, tech advice blogs, or B2C businesses posting about party planning, baking, or beauty services.
Either way, these leads are valuable, because they’ll boost your reach and recommend you to others who do buy from you. To identify them, track their browsing history to check that they’re consuming your content, but aren’t visiting purchase-intent pages like pricing pages or product pages. You should also see if they’ve shared your content before, or if they’re already on your email list or Facebook group.
Your CTA can invite them to join your community on social media or subscribe to your email. HubSpot’s sales suite offers a range of CTA templates, including ones that slide in halfway down the page, so you’ll know that they’re interested enough to at least read that far.
Customize it to your branding and make it relevant to the page they are reading at the time. For example, the above CTA appeared on a blog post about becoming a better manager.
Mobile food delivery apps, specific service providers like plumbers, and ecommerce websites with lower-priced merchandise can all encounter visitors who are ready to make a purchase immediately. These people know what they need, and they know you provide it; all that’s left is to establish price and availability.
At these times, you want a straightforward “buy/book now” CTA with a “10% off your first order” discount that flies in, grabs their attention, and invites them to place their order or book their slot immediately.
However, first you need to be sure about their purchase intent. In some cases it’s obvious – if you’re a mobile food delivery app and it’s midday, whoever arrives is probably looking for lunch – but not always. For example, a visitor to a plumber’s website could be looking for someone urgently to fix their toilet, or comparing prices for installing their new bathroom.
That’s why you need to assign the CTA according to the visitor’s previous touchpoints. Did they come from your blog post, or your “emergency services” page? Have they compared five pairs of sneakers and added them to their cart, or did they browse the shoe section and add nothing?
An advanced analytics engine that also serves up embedded banner ads, Finteza allows marketers to choose which pages run the CTA, based on the first page the visitor landed on, their referral source, or previous actions they performed on the site.
Some website visitors might have already signed up for your free trial, joined your email list, and read all your gated content, but they just need that extra nudge to convert to become paying customers. They’ll buy eventually, but they are holding out for the Black Friday sales or waiting to see if you or your competitor offer a bigger discount.
You can recognize these people because they’ve already checked out your pricing page and have advanced through all of the relevant micro-conversions. There’s no use inviting them to subscribe to your email newsletters or download an ebook, because they’ve already got it all.
Your CTA should be a discount offer that makes it clear how much they have to gain, so as to discourage them from waiting to see if something better comes along.
Use a tool like Wishpond to put this discount in a bold banner that they can’t miss. You can run A/B testing to try out different placings, colors, and wordings so you can see which version performs the best.
CTAs can drive conversions and sales – or actively discourage leads from continuing.
By optimizing CTAs for buyers who like to browse and those who like discounts, those who aren’t sure about their best next step and those who want to buy now, and those needing reassurance too, you’ll serve up the right call to action at the right time, and see conversions rise.
Guest author: Zac Johnson is a world-renowned blogger and entrepreneur with nearly 20 years of experience in the online marketing space and has helped his readers generate millions of dollars online. He shares his story and guidance at ZacJohnson.com