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8 min read Guide to creating effective CTA buttons

A Fundamental Guide to Effective CTA Buttons

Key Takeaways

  • The best CTA buttons are easy to find and have been optimised in design and placement.
  • Copy. Copy. Copy. CTRs increase massively when CTAs are accompanied by clear and impactful copywriting.
  • Since 93% of consumers purchase something due to a discount, you’d be foolish to ignore the power of special offers.
  • You might need to conduct some A/B testing till you get it right.

When you’ve poured so much into every detail of your dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy, it’s hard to believe that a click stands between a con­ver­sion and a bounce. But it does. Out of all the mes­sages that your copy deliv­ers, your call-to-action (CTA) is the most important.

A CTA tells a poten­tial cus­tomer what you would like them to do after mak­ing a case for your busi­ness. Nat­u­ral­ly, this must be clear and com­pelling enough to get the cus­tomer to take action. Whether it’s for mak­ing a pur­chase, sign­ing up, or get­ting in touch with you, a well-designed CTA can boost clicks and dri­ve conversions.

Although busi­ness­es often present CTAs in var­i­ous ways, such as links, but­tons, pop-ups, and ban­ners, we’ll focus on but­tons. What makes a good CTA but­ton? What doesn’t?

To help you get more clicks and con­ver­sions out of your but­tons, we’ll be explor­ing all there is to know about high-con­vert­ing CTA but­tons. Let’s dive in.

What are CTA Buttons?

Call-to-action or CTA but­tons are the but­tons used on web­sites and land­ing pages to get users to con­vert. These but­tons come in dif­fer­ent sizes and styles, but they all have one goal: to get a vis­i­tor to click and con­vert. Depend­ing on your busi­ness’s nature and objec­tives, that could be an opt-in, a down­load, or even a paid subscription.

Effec­tive CTA but­tons 1) do exact­ly what you want them to do (get a vis­i­tor to click) and 2) give a vis­i­tor exact­ly what they want, which is to take up your offer.

CTA but­tons work so well because:

  • They have design ele­ments that make them stand out
  • Inter­net users have become accus­tomed to receiv­ing instruc­tions through buttons
  • They make it eas­i­er for vis­i­tors to iden­ti­fy where they need to click to get what they want
  • They dri­ve more con­ver­sions by elim­i­nat­ing con­fu­sion and telling vis­i­tors what to do

How Do You Make A Good CTA?

A good CTA:

1. Attracts attention

2. Devel­ops a connection

3. Cre­ates interest

4. Builds suspense

5. Gets users to take the next step

How do you ensure that your CTA does all five things?

Establish your primary goal

Nar­row­ing your goals down allows you to keep your land­ing pages focused and impact­ful. It’s often more effec­tive to pick one main goal for con­ver­sion and then use your CTAs to dri­ve peo­ple through that spe­cif­ic fun­nel. If you want vis­i­tors to sign up for a free tri­al, also ask­ing them to fol­low you on social media or sub­scribe to your newslet­ter takes away from your main goal.

Understand your audience

Devel­op a clear under­stand­ing of your buy­er per­sonas. Under­stand­ing your tar­get cus­tomers’ needs, pain points, desires, and con­cerns allows you to craft mes­sages that dri­ve more clicks and, ulti­mate­ly, high­er conversions.

Optimise placement and design

When a cus­tomer has made it to your page, the last thing you want is for them to miss your CTA and leave out of frus­tra­tion. Poor­ly designed CTAs are not only hard to spot but tend to leave cus­tomers uncer­tain of what they need to do. Hence, the design and place­ment of your CTAs mat­ter. But­tons attract more clicks than links, pop-ups, or ban­ners, so, it’s easy to see why — well-designed but­tons are almost impos­si­ble to miss.

Use clear and impactful copy

A great CTA tells your audi­ence what you want them to do as con­cise­ly as pos­si­ble. Lead­ing with action words is a great way to do this. For exam­ple, start your CTA with the word “sub­scribe” if you want to build an email list or “shop” if you run an online store; this will help increase click-through rates. In oth­er words, you don’t want to be pas­sive; you want to com­pel cus­tomers to take action by being clear about what they need to do.

Anoth­er way to lever­age copy is to make use of micro­copy. Micro­copy is the text around a CTA but­ton that pro­vides more infor­ma­tion and encour­ages action by elim­i­nat­ing anxiety.

State your value proposition

CTAs that com­mu­ni­cate your val­ue propo­si­tion do bet­ter at per­suad­ing vis­i­tors to take action. Instead of stat­ing what you would like vis­i­tors to do, tell them what they stand to gain by tak­ing action. Ben­e­fits-dri­ven copy gen­er­ates enthu­si­asm and can increase your con­ver­sion rates.

Use numbers to your advantage

Cus­tomers respond favourably to dis­counts, incen­tives, and spe­cial offers. In fact, 93% of con­sumers pur­chase some­thing because of a dis­count. Plus, using num­bers is a great way to con­vey val­ue and set expectations.

Use emotion

CTAs that are emo­tion­al­ly engag­ing tend to per­form bet­ter. As cus­tomers are faced with count­less deci­sions every day, trig­ger­ing cer­tain emo­tions through your copy allows you to reach them.

Play on FOMO

When cus­tomers think they might miss out on a great deal, they’re more like­ly to take action. This phe­nom­e­non is called FOMO (fear of miss­ing out) and you can take advan­tage of it by pro­vid­ing time-sen­si­tive offers and using words such as “now”, “only”, or “today,” which cre­ate a sense of urgency.

Optimise your CTAs for mobile and PC

Opti­mis­ing your CTAs for mobile and PC guar­an­tees you bet­ter click-through rates. Because users on desk­tops and mobile exhib­it dif­fer­ent behav­iours, it’s a good idea to tai­lor your CTAs accord­ing to device. Design con­sid­er­a­tions are also impor­tant, as they ensure a seam­less user expe­ri­ence. Your web­site and land­ing pages should be opti­mised for mobile so that your CTAs dis­play the right way.

Test everything

Increas­ing your click-through rate is strong­ly relat­ed to how well you know your audi­ence. Tak­ing a peo­ple-first approach involves test­ing and iter­a­tion. As such, it’s impor­tant to test the design, place­ment, and copy of your CTAs to find out what works best. A/B test­ing is a great way to fig­ure out which CTAs are effec­tive. Heatmaps can help you deter­mine which

CTAs aren’t get­ting clicks. Google Ana­lyt­ics also allows you to track but­ton clicks and opti­mise your CTAs accordingly.

7 CTA Button Best Practices

Here are 7 CTA but­ton best prac­tices to help you get more clicks:

1. Your buttons should look like buttons

For a user to click on a but­ton, they should be able to tell it’s a but­ton. This means it should look click­able and have a bold back­ground that con­trasts with the rest of your web­page. In terms of shape, rec­tan­gu­lar but­tons and but­tons with round­ed cor­ners have become the standard.

Research even sug­gests that round­ed cor­ners enhance infor­ma­tion pro­cess­ing and draw atten­tion to the cen­tre of a but­ton. Con­duct usabil­i­ty test­ing if you want to ensure that your but­tons are easy to identify.

2. Make your main button stand out

Although green, orange, and blue but­tons tend to per­form bet­ter, being mind­ful of your site’s design and colour scheme is a more user-friend­ly approach. The key is to use con­trast­ing colours to draw atten­tion to your button.

It’s also com­mon to have oth­er but­tons on your web­site that aren’t your main CTA. These but­tons should blend in and not draw atten­tion away from your CTA. Using graph­ics such as arrows can also make your but­ton stand out more.

There should also be enough white­space around your but­tons to ensure they don’t get crowd­ed out by oth­er com­po­nents on your web­page. In fact, mak­ing use of white­space increas­es vis­i­bil­i­ty and com­pre­hen­sion by as much as 20%.

3. Get your text size right

Get­ting your text size right is cru­cial. It’s eas­i­er for users to miss small text, and text that’s too big dis­cour­ages clicks. Although peo­ple have a sub­con­scious dis­like for large let­ter­ing, you don’t want them to have a hard time read­ing your but­tons either. It’s about strik­ing a bal­ance and find­ing the appro­pri­ate size for your website.

4. Phrase your buttons for action

CTA but­tons should con­tain action-ori­ent­ed text. Get­ting rid of cer­tain words and replac­ing them with high-ener­gy words like “get”, “down­load”, or “try” can lead to more con­ver­sions. This is because these words tell the user what to expect after click­ing on your button.

For exam­ple, instead of say­ing “free tri­al”, go for “start free tri­al.” Adding words like” now” or “today” to your CTA but­tons encour­ages your vis­i­tors to take action while an offer still stands. Cus­tomers hate to miss out on a good deal, so they are more like­ly to click through.

5. Keep your button text short

For but­tons that con­vert, say what you want to say as con­cise­ly as pos­si­ble; two to five words will do. This does­n’t give you much to work with, which is why adding micro­copy just above or below your CTA but­tons allows you to pro­vide extra infor­ma­tion, deliv­er more val­ue or high­light your CTA. Lever­ag­ing the pow­er of num­bers and social proof in your micro­copy is anoth­er great way to boost clicks.

6. Personalise your button text

You’ll gen­er­ate more clicks by chang­ing your phras­ing from the sec­ond per­son to the first per­son tense. This is because using the first per­son makes poten­tial cus­tomers feel more con­nect­ed to your brand. When users feel val­ued and seen, they’re more like­ly to click and convert.

7. Optimise your button placement

Pick­ing the best but­ton place­ment can be the dif­fer­ence between a con­ver­sion and a bounce. Too soon, and a cus­tomer might have too lit­tle infor­ma­tion to make a deci­sion; too late, and a cus­tomer might aban­don your page altogether.

Above-the-fold place­ment guar­an­tees that vis­i­tors won’t miss the but­ton — it’s the first thing they’ll see after land­ing on your page. Above the fold works best for sim­ple prod­ucts and for warm-to-hot leads who are already famil­iar with your offering.

Place­ment below the fold allows you to inform and per­suade a vis­i­tor, which is why it tends to work bet­ter for com­plex prod­ucts. Because plac­ing a CTA below the fold nur­tures your vis­i­tors before they can click on your but­ton, it’s great for cold leads or vis­i­tors who still have a lot to learn about you and your offering.

6 CTA Button Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these mis­takes to ensure high­er click-through rates and conversions:

1. Not delivering on your promises

Your CTA makes cer­tain promis­es and tells cus­tomers what to expect once they click on your but­ton. If you fail to deliv­er what you promised, cus­tomers will feel duped. This does noth­ing to inspire con­fi­dence in your busi­ness. You’ll lose their trust — and support.

2. Not testing your buttons

Some­times being cre­ative and flout­ing con­ven­tion can pay off in major ways. But you’ll nev­er know unless you test your but­tons and repeat. If you’re not test­ing your but­tons, you’re rely­ing on assump­tions and leav­ing valu­able insights on the table.

3. Misplaced CTAs

A vis­i­tor on your pric­ing page is a lot fur­ther on their buy­ing jour­ney than some­one on your blog. A mis­placed CTA would ask them to down­load an offer or opt-in for your newslet­ter. A great CTA, on the oth­er hand, would offer some­thing more pur­chase-ori­ent­ed, like a dis­count or free trial.

4. Competing CTAs

When it comes to CTAs, more isn’t always bet­ter. To increase con­ver­sions on your land­ing pages, you need to keep them focused, mean­ing one high val­ue offer per page. Com­pet­ing CTAs are con­fus­ing and can harm your land­ing page con­ver­sion rates.

5. Offering too many options

The more choic­es a cus­tomer has, the less like­ly they are to make a deci­sion. Even when they do make a deci­sion, they are less like­ly to be sat­is­fied with it. This is known as the para­dox of choice, and it can cause fric­tion dur­ing the con­ver­sion process.

While some sit­u­a­tions might be bet­ter suit­ed to mul­ti­ple options (such as dif­fer­ent sub­scrip­tion options for the same prod­uct), it’s always bet­ter to lim­it your options to pre­vent analy­sis paralysis.

6. Asking for too much

Ask­ing for too much infor­ma­tion can affect the per­for­mance of your CTAs, too. If a cus­tomer feels like they have to work too hard to take up an offer, they might recon­sid­er. The key is to keep your asks sim­ple to cause as lit­tle fric­tion as pos­si­ble dur­ing the con­ver­sion process.

Even if you aren’t expect­ing cus­tomers to do much, your word­ing could still give them that impres­sion. Words like “buy”, “sub­mit”, or “com­plete,” which sug­gest the cus­tomer has to give up some­thing to take up an offer, might make them think twice.

Final Thoughts

CTA but­tons are usu­al­ly the first and last things your cus­tomers see, so make them count.

The tips and best prac­tices we’ve cov­ered work well across dif­fer­ent busi­ness­es and indus­tries, but it’s still a good idea to use test­ing. This will allow you to gath­er valu­able insights about your cus­tomers and help guide your mar­ket­ing deci­sions, too.

Remem­ber, a busi­ness that remains agile and respon­sive to what cus­tomers want is a busi­ness that will remain com­pet­i­tive and, most of all, profitable.

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