8 costly call-to-action mistakes you’re making on your website

Avoid CTA fails

Call-to-action mistakes on your website can be costly. If you fail to use calls-to-action (CTAs) to guide users through your site and down a path to do business with you, you could be driving away audiences and losing opportunities to draw customers and make sales.

Avoid these call-to-action mistakes

Are you making these costly CTA missteps on your website?

  1. Not ending every page with a call-to-action.

  2. Not using CTAs to guide your website sales funnel.

  3. Not having a call-to-action above the fold.

  4. Using too many calls-to-action.

  5. Using weak language in your CTAs.

  6. Not thinking about the design of the CTA.

  7. Not testing your calls-to-action.

  8. Thinking that calls-to-action don’t matter.

Never fear — use the tips below to learn how to fix these common call-to-action mistakes and turn your website into a more effective sales tool.

1. Not ending every page with a call-to-action

One of the biggest call-to-action mistakes brands make is failing to use a call-to-action in the first place. Too many marketers write a great blog post or persuasive landing page, and then fail to close with a directive statement that tells the reader what to do next.

This is a big no-no, as you never want a reader to find themselves at the end of a webpage and not know what to do next.

If they don’t know what to do next, they will be more likely to exit the page and close their connection with your brand.

2. Not using CTAs to guide your website sales funnel

After not using calls-to-action, the next worst thing you can do is fail to use strategic calls to action. CTAs on your web pages shouldn’t be random or independent. They should be a part of a full sales funnel that guides readers through your site and ultimately, persuades them to do business with you.

For example, the landing page main CTA may be to learn more about a product. The next landing page CTA might be to download a case study, and then the case study ends with a call to action to schedule a free software demo. All of the CTAs lead to each other in a strategic funnel.

3. Not having a call-to-action above the fold

Just as you should have calls-to-action at the end of the page, you should also have them at the top of the page, or “above the fold.” On websites, above the fold means that audiences can see it without scrolling down the page.

If audiences don’t read your content and scroll down the page, you still want them to know what to do next.

 

So in your website design include a compelling call-to-action at the top of your site. Depending on the page’s purpose, that top CTA can match the end-of-the-page call to action or refer to something else.

4. Using too many calls-to-action

Call-To-Action Mistakes Options

A common call-to-action mistake is having too many on one web page. Having too many directives can confuse audiences and throw them out of your sales funnel. You want audiences to know exactly what to do next, so limit the number of CTAs you use on each page.

There is no simple formula for how many CTAs you should use on a page, but as a best practice, you probably don’t need more than two or three.

For example, you might have a primary site call-to-action (such as calling for a free consultation) at the top of the page, a second CTA tied to the page’s content (such as a telling the user to download a case study) at the end of the page, and then a sidebar CTA to get a free PDF cheat sheet.

But less is better when it comes to CTAs.

 

Pages with one call-to-action will be more effective as the audience has only one thing they need to do, increasing the chances they’ll take action.

5. Using weak language in your CTAs

Your actual CTA phrase is important, but so is the copy placed around the directive. A call-to-action mistake is failing to optimize all of the language elements of the CTA. Avoid this mistake by keeping the following tips in mind:

  • Use active words. Avoid passive, dull language. Instead, use language that tells the audience what to do such as: click, download, subscribe, get, call, etc.
  • Don’t use vague phrasing. The more specific you can be, the better when it comes to CTAs. Audiences need to be told exactly what to do, and they want to know exactly what will happen when they do. So use clear, informative language.
  • Show the benefit. It’s not enough to just tell a user they should do something. You need to explain why they should take action. Explain to the user what they will get and how they will benefit by taking the next step.
  • Add proof. Make it easier for the user to believe you by adding proof that you can give what you offer. Add social proof when possible in the form of client testimonials or stats.
  • Deliver on what you promise. While you want to use salesy language that drives audiences to take the next step, you never want to mislead them. Make sure your copy matches the value you will deliver in the next step and always fulfill your promise.
  • Add urgency. As you guide users to take the next step, remind them that they need to act sooner rather than later. Remind them of what they may lose by failing to take immediate action.

6. Not thinking about the design of the CTA

While words are a very essential part of a call-to-action, they aren’t the only element. The design of your CTA – more specifically, the button and form – have a lot to do with getting users to take the next step.

Don’t just put effort into crafting the perfect message. To avoid making call-to-action mistakes, focus on using the right button color and sizes and placing buttons in prime, visible locations. Use design elements such as photos and boxes that make CTAs stand out, draw attention and avoid blending into the rest of the page or text.

Call-To-Action Mistakes Design
Photo: rawpixel on Unsplash

7. Not testing your calls-to-action

While putting CTAs on your site is important, you can’t just type up some text, place it on your webpage and forget about it. You should always keep an eye on your site, monitor how well your calls-to-action are performing, and test changes to improve your conversion rates.

Change elements of your CTAs like your copy, button colors and surrounding text. Also perform A/B split-testing to see which version performs better. Keep testing to improve your pages and increase your conversation rates.

8. Thinking that calls-to-action don’t matter

With so many elements that exist on a website, it can be easy to overlook the seemingly insignificant calls-to-action. But while CTAs might seem like a small element on your site, that doesn’t mean they aren’t powerful. The main purpose of your website is to get audiences to take action that brings them closer to doing business with your brand.

Strong, strategic calls-to-action get them to do that.

Now you have the tools to avoid call-to-action mistakes

Don’t make these call-to-action mistakes and overlook this critical and essential part of your website. Put plenty of time and research into creating and testing your CTAs.