Sign up for our newsletter and get 50-percent off your next order! I hate to toy with your entrepreneur’s heart, but I fabricated that call-to-action (CTA) to make a point: If you want to up your sales game, you’re going to need to learn how to create CTAs that motivate customers and prospects to take action.
OK, OK, let’s back up. What even is a call-to-action?
A CTA is text that directs customers or potential customers to an action. The purpose is to increase engagement and siphon that engagement into your sales funnel.
When are CTAs important?
When I was little and I didn’t want to brush my teeth, my mom told me that I should only brush the ones I wanted to keep. I soon realized that I wanted to keep them all, so I painstakingly brushed all my teeth. Now I’m here to pass down that sage wisdom — once you learn how to create CTAs, only use them on material where you want to build sales.
Calls-to-action are like your sales cheerleaders. They do cartwheels for you and shout actions to your customers such as “sign up now!” or “download our whitepaper!”
Calls-to-action can be used to generate leads, nurture leads, promote an event, convince people to follow your business on social media or share posts on Facebook and other social networks — and more. CTAs can even help you turn leads into customers or close a deal. Whatever action you desire from your customers, learn how to create CTAs and coax them along.
Beyond that, calls-to-action give customers something to do. If they land on your page and all they see is general information, they might not take any action at all. This is a fast way to lose interest. Instead, if that same customer lands on your page and they see, “Sign up now for a free trial!” or even something as simple as, “Click here to chat,” it will help to keep them engaged.
How to create CTAs
There are a number of best practices when you’re looking at how to create CTAs. Here are a few of of our favorites:
Create a sense of urgency
I travel a lot and I’m often booking hotel rooms at the last minute. I like to use Booking.com because you don’t need a credit card. Whenever I’m browsing on their site, I can’t help but notice the glaring red text underneath that tells me how many times rooms in that hotel have been booked that day. Although it’s not a direct call-to-action, it certainly inspires action.
It’s also never a bad idea to set a time limit to increase that sense of urgency.
For example, you could create a weekend promotion and announce it on your website with a CTA along the lines of, “Weekend-only sale!” and beneath it a button that says “Shop now!” Setting a time limit on a sale increases urgency, and directing a potential customer to that sale with a compelling call-to-action might just inspire the kind of customer action you’re seeking.
Never be afraid to replace a letter with a number. For example, you could create that sense of urgency we talked about above with a call-to-action like, “Only 2 days left, so sign up now!” or, “11 people have already booked!”
Give the people what they want
As you learn how to create CTAs, the most effective calls-to-action will have your target audience in mind. For instance, if you’re a locksmith, CTAs that reflect a sense of timeliness will likely resonate with your audience. After all, no one likes to be locked out of their house for too long. A CTA such as “Locked out? Call now to get in fast!” is a great example of giving the people what they want.
Show some feeling
Appealing to emotion is another effective strategy when creating CTAs. Let’s say you run an animal shelter. If someone lands on your page, it’s not unthinkable that they might be feeling a tad emotional about the poor canine souls who need a home. In this case, you could have a call-to-action that bids them to, “Visit us today to open your heart and your home to a furry friend.”
Show and tell
People are naturally curious, especially when they’re browsing the internet. I mean, how many times have you fallen down a Facebook hole after clicking on a cat video someone posted? You want your call-to-action to take advantage of this phenomenon.
Create CTAs that show how your product works or the problem your product or service can solve for the customer.
“Click here to watch our widget in action!” A CTA that drives to a branded video is a great tactic for leading customers and prospects through the sales funnel.
Show of hands … who doesn’t like free stuff? That’s what I thought. Your customers also like free things, so offer them. Figure out how to create CTAs that use freebies, discounts and other incentives to encourage people to take action.
Consider a “buy one get one free” deal, or a “free soda with a purchase of one pizza” or a free trial or even a “free consultation if you sign up for our newsletter.” When people get to skip paying money for something for once, you’ve learned how to create CTAs that are irresistible.
Play the long game
Sure, the ideal scenario is that you create a CTA that says, “Buy our product now!” and your customers will do it. Sadly, this is usually not how it works. You might have to play the long game. For instance, you can lure your potential customers in with an offer of something other than your product.
Create useful whitepapers or newsletters that customers might need. Capture their information when they sign up. Once you’ve got contact information, they’re in your sales funnel, baby! You can then use that information to send them deals, newsletters, sales emails, events — you name it!
Design, design, design
What good is learning how to create CTAs if they don’t pop off the page? Place your calls-to-action where people can easily see them — ideally at the top or the center of the page. Make them stand out by using large font, bright colors or contrasting colors, such as a dark blue text on a white page.
To recap, use these guidelines to create CTAs that motivate your customers and prospects to take action:
- Create a sense of urgency.
- Use numbers.
- Speak directly to your target audience.
- Appeal to emotion.
- Use video to showcase your products or services.
- Offer freebies and other incentives.
- Play the long game by capturing contact information for drip campaigns.
- Design CTAs that pop off the page.
With these tips in hand, you’re set up to convert browsers into buyers. Good luck!