Any and all advertisements and digital content your small business shares with the world should have a clear call to action that you want your target audience(s) to respond to and complete. This sort of clarity will move consumers one step closer to buying into your brand’s offer. Calls to action should not only be present on your print and digital ads, they should be included on your website as well--in the form of filling out a contact form, purchasing an e-book, signing up for your brand’s newsletter, etc.
Including a call to action on your website will add more focus to this digital space, give your audience direction for what steps to make next, and give your business a way to measure the success of its website. The 10 following tips will guarantee your small business successful calls to action for all of its marketing and advertising endeavors.
No. 1: Pinpoint the value of your offer. In order for people to respond to your call to action, they will need to realize the need they have for your offer, as well as the benefits of accepting your brand’s offer. Take a cue from infomercials by making the problem and solution obvious while also appealing to your audience on an emotional level. However, unlike infomercials, the call to action in your ads or on your website will need to have short and concise copy to encourage a response.
No. 2: Address any questions your audience might have. From the consumer’s perspective, completing a call to action is an act of trust towards your brand, as they could be sharing personal and/or payment information. Your brand will need to understand that before providing even basic contact details, your audience will have questions and concerns that your call to action will need to address. Be transparent about any delivery charges or return policies that are relevant to the offer. When signing up for a newsletter, let the customer know how often they will be receiving emails from your business and iterate how easy it is to unsubscribe.
No. 3: Minimize the number of actions for the consumer. Doing so will enable your business to present distinctive options that are clear to your audience. Too many options might deter consumers, as studies in supermarkets show that a shopper who is presented with a plethora of options is actually less likely to buy. Decreasing the number of calls to action in your ads or on your website will not only further clarify, but also reduce the amount of mental effort for consumers, leading to more follow-through and conversions.
No. 4: Consider the placement and position of the call to action. As a rule of thumb, your brand’s call to action will need to be towards the top of the ad or web page and centered. However, if the imagery surrounding the call to action includes faces, you might need to rethink this placement. Unless the person or face shown is looking towards the call to action, your audience’s eye will be drawn more to the pictured face than your offer. Also, especially on your business’ website, you will need to consider timing. For example, you don’t want your call to action to pop up before they even encounter your product/service. If the call to action appears too soon, consumers most likely won’t respond.
No. 5: Use negative space to your advantage. Beware of placing too much content around your call to action. This will only make it easier for it to get lost in the noise of the add or your web page. On the other hand, the more white or negative space surrounding your call to action, the more likely it is to stand out. Not only does this approach streamline the overall appearance of your brand and offer, it also increases the chances of a consumer actually taking the intended action.
No. 6: Consider using a brighter color for your call to action to make it stand out. Similar to utilizing white space, an intentional use of color is also another great tool for leading a potential customer’s eye to your call to action. This is especially true for your website or landing pages that contain a button link. If your ad or brand colors are of a limited and subdued palette, using a brighter color such as yellow or green will create a visual contrast that draws the eye. However, don’t only rely on color for attracting attention to your call to action since there may be individuals within your audience who are color blind.
No. 7: Pay attention to the size of the call to action. Although position, white space, and color are very important factors, your brand will also need to consider the size of the offer on your ad or website. The bigger the call to action, the more bold of a statement you can make. Consumers are more likely to notice a bigger call to action, and it also presents the opportunity to add more copy to hook your audience.
No. 8: Highlight scarcity to encourage action. Psychologically, the best way to influence a potential customer to act is through creating a sense of urgency. However, this must be subtle in order to avoid deterring the consumer from your offer. The best way to create a sense of urgency for your call to actions is through shining a spotlight on a limited supply or a limited time offer. This will appeal to the widespread fear of missing out, making your audience more likely to fulfill the proposed action.
No. 9: Follow-through on the call to action’s promise. Once your target customer takes the next step by filling out the form or signing up for the subscription, make sure the rest of the process is streamlined to minimize distractions. This will ensure that the customer actually completes the process and makes a purchase further down the sales funnel. For example, after clicking the “Checkout” call to action on Amazon, all possible distractions such as ads and images are removed to ensure the customer completes the transaction.
No. 10: Make sure every page of your website has a call to action. When it comes to your small business’ website, it will be important to make sure that not just your home page houses a call to action. Whether you have the same call to action or a different one corresponding to each page of your website is up to you--just be sure that the offer is distinct and clear each time a consumer will encounter it. Though your call to action’s purpose is to create more conversions, beware of annoying or alienating potential customers through pop-ups. Overall, be sure to consider how your call to actions reflect on your brand. Do they add to your offer’s value, or do they detract from perceived value by ultimately making consumers feel tricked? By paying special attention to how your calls to action are received by your target audience(s), your business has the potential to increase revenue in the long-term.
Blog by Melissa McElhose, STARKART staff writer