7 Characteristics of High-Converting Calls to Action

No matter how much thought and strategizing goes into your content marketing efforts, the real magic of conversion won’t occur without an optimized key ingredient…the Call to Action, or more commonly referred to as a CTA.

Whether it be a clickable button on a landing page or a hyperlinked sentence within a blog post, a well-devised CTA is a necessary element to make your desired action irresistible to your audience.

Perhaps you want your audience to register for an online seminar, order a product, or simply opt in for a free checklist. Whatever it may be, there is a certain amount of social psychology that goes into crafting an effective call to action that leads to conversions.

Not to worry–we’ve got your back.

Below are our top seven characteristics of high-converting CTAs and their surrounding content to keep in mind when optimizing your landing pages, website pages, or blogs for increased conversion…

1. Calls to action should be simple and make a singular offer.

When it comes to the exact copy used in your CTA–you want to get straight to the point and keep things as simple as possible.

Anything over ten words is probably too long–no one needs to read several paragraphs on why they should sign up for your free video series or become a customer.

And no one wants to!

Also, it’s important to be as clear as possible and tell visitors exactly what you want them to do. Don’t confuse your prospects with verbiage that distracts from the desired action you want them to take.

For example, simply saying “Click here to subscribe!” can be sufficient in many cases.

In the example above, “See Business Plans” is about as clear as you can get.

Quality, not quantity, also applies in the case of strong conversion-producing calls to action.

While it depends on the purpose of the page or content piece, it’s always a good rule of thumb to include one singular offer as opposed to multiple offers, as people are more inclined to convert when the offer is specific and their choice is limited.

This is especially true on a landing page where you want prospects to take one action and one action only.

2. Calls to action convey immediacy.

Human beings are apt to put something off until later, especially if they aren’t 100% sure they want something yet.

Sometimes, all it takes is subtly building a fire under prospects’ feet that encourages them to commit immediately.

Don’t underestimate the power of now–“order now,” “buy now,” and “register now” tend to be high-converting CTAs.

3. Calls to action encourage action.

Always include a suitable verb that directs your audience to act.

The specific verb used depends on your desired offer or action. Certain words such as “get,” “join,” and “build” have been proven to be effective for a variety of marketers.

The example below illustrates a funny and momentum-inducing call to action for an online sunglasses retailer. Two simple words, “do it,” propel visitors forward to sign up and claim the offer extended to them.

The verb you select doesn’t necessarily have to be an inherently positive word.

The word “stop” when used in context of avoiding a negative outcome (such as “stop losing leads now”) can be a useful verb when used within your CTA.

4. Calls to action incite curiosity.

The copy and content on your landing page or web pages should build up curiosity in your visitor, with the CTA serving as the “zinger” to drive home the need to take action.

By the time people have read through the content leading up to your call to action, their curiosity should be peaked.

Once they are at a place of wanting more, an effective CTA will promise more information or allude to access of something enticing being hinted at.

The words “Learn” and “Discover” are just two examples of perfect action verbs to ignite curiosity in the minds of your audience.

5. Content preceding the calls to action should make people feel invested in the process.

It may sound silly, but sometimes what can make or break your visitors’ decision to convert is their need to finish what they have started.

Once they have already invested a certain amount of time and energy into consuming content or participating in an activity, people can naturally feel obligated to follow through on the next step.

That’s right–the very fact that they’ve spent several minutes perusing content, watching a video, or taking a quiz makes them more likely to convert when they’re finished.

There are a host of ways to take advantage of this, such as…

  • Create a long-form landing page. If people spend more time reading compelling content on your page, they will develop a sense of obligation to follow through and click on your CTA.
  • Feature a video. In a multivariate test, Unbounce, a landing page building software, gave Vidyard 100% higher conversions by using video. A similar study of website StacksAndStacks saw a 144% jump in conversions after putting a product video on the home page.

Getting prospects to invest their time or enticing them to interact with a feature such as a video, allows you to create a subtle sense of obligation for them to follow through, click on your CTA…and take action.

6. The surrounding copy conveys the benefits of clicking.

Your prospects will want to know how they will explicitly benefit before investing their time and energy into the desired action. Be sure to spell out the benefits of conversion in a compelling and clear manner.

Illustrate how their life will become easier or more exciting if they take action and do what you’re asking them to do. Doing so will further enhance your CTA, and your leads will be more inspired to click.

7. Calls to action are visually compelling and concise.

When it comes to the visual design and aesthetic used to highlight your CTA, there are a few basic tried-and-true tips we can offer.

Color: When using a CTA button on web pages and emails, the color of the button should be in contrast to surrounding colors.

Red and orange tend to be some of the most common colors used–in fact, Unbounce declared that the future of call-to-action buttons is BOB, or “Big Orange Button.”

Negative space balancing: A CTA needs to be in a class of its own, surrounded by generous space.

Do not create a self-defeating CTA by making it compete with other elements on the page. Within a blog post, be sure the CTA is separated out from other paragraphs and is stand-alone within the post.

When optimizing for the effectiveness of your landing page, blog article, home page, or product page, your CTA is a small but mighty component for converting traffic.

Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that whichever CTAs you use moving forward are concocted in a way that confirms they tick off the characteristics above.

Ensure your content marketing plan and CTAs are up to par–contact Sūmèr today to learn more about our digital marketing consulting and copywriting services!


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