In the world of online marketing, especially on landing pages and sales pages, it is not uncommon to come across phrases like
- Buy now
- Start a free trial
- Learn more
- Or Sign up for our service
These are call-to-action triggers, which are simple commands designed to direct customers to take some sort of action. The question at this point is: “Why are they needed?”
Here is the deal: As an online marketer or business owner, one of the things you need to be able to do, is to fight the human inclination to shift our attention to new and unanticipated directions. For example, how many times does it happen that you go online with the intention of reading a news article but 10 minutes later, you are on YouTube, devouring one video after another? After all, one click is all it takes to jump from one topic to the next and everyone online including businesses, media outlets, and bloggers are competing to get that click.
Therein lies the value of calls-to-action or CTAs. They are tools designed to let you survive in this attention seeking economy. The perfect call to action captivates your audience, educates them and increases your conversions. After all, you can write the perfect landing page for a campaign that gets the attention of your customers, draws them in and then pulls them down the slippery slope to the end of your copy but if you fail to close the deal, it would all be for nothing.
In fact, one of the main reasons why landing pages and sales pages don’t convert leads into customers is a weak call-to-action. So how do you create the perfect CTA? The trick is to use a mix of CTAs for the different stages of your sales cycle.
The Different Ways of Writing a Perfect Call-to-Action
1. Offer a free trial
When it comes to asking customers to take a specific action, certain calls-to-action are more effective than others. A free trial CTA is one of them. This is especially true for companies that sell a service or software, for example Sales Force. In fact, this was the strategy used by KISSmetrics and CrazyEgg when they were trying to grow their customer base. The rationale is that when customers first encounter a brand, they have a lot of questions and they are looking to find out if you are providing the right solution. A free trial eliminates these questions and reservations, increasing your conversion.
2. Answer the question “What’s in it for me?”
In today’s world, your audience is more knowledgeable than ever before, it is not enough to give them a direct command like “Order today!” You need to clearly describe what the offer is and answer the question “What’s in it for me?” Your call-to-action has to highlight a benefit to your users or they are not going to click on it.
3. Create a Sense of Urgency
In addition to using a clear call-to-action, creating a sense of urgency is another way of compelling prospects to take action. In particular, you need to answer the question “Why should I do this today?” For example, you can emphasize seasonality or a special discount available for a limited amount of time.
4. Offer Instant Gratification
Next consideration: When you’re trying to get someone to take an action like downloading a free eBook, even a slight delay in giving people what they want can damage your conversion rate. After all, nobody likes to wait for anything. The perfect call-to-action should therefore highlight that you will be giving people what they want immediately.
5. Aggravate a Problem and Offer a Solution
To craft a CTA that aggravates a problem and then offer a solution, there are 3 things you need to think about.
- You need to identify a dominant pain or problem your audience is experiencing
- You need to highlight the implications of the problem they are having
- And then you need to offer a solution
For example, consider the CTA below:
“Are you suffering from a sensitive tooth? The longer you wait, the more serious and costly it gets. Book an appointment now!”
This CTA, as you can see, is sure to get your prospects to take the action you want. It’s clear, it’s action-oriented and it says it all!
6. Use Testimonials to Leverage the Urge to Belong
A dirty little secret when it comes to human psychology is that people hate to feel like they are missing out on something that everyone else is enjoying. This makes testimonials really effective as calls-to-action because they motivate your audience to take the next step and click through to your landing page. A related best practice when writing calls-to-action is to include numbers. Social proof is a real thing.