The Messages Behind Great Calls To Actions

February 13, 2017 - Martin Hodkinson

In both the worlds of web design and search marketing the importance of Calls to Action (CTA) are clear. Having great CTAs enables visitors to your site, improves usability and often conversions. So, what are the key messages behind successful Calls to Action?

Loss Aversion

In a similar style to a sales pitch, creating the sense that the buyer/ user needs to act now or lose out is a proven way to generate clicks. This is because we are innately averse to loss. So, if you can give something (even if not on a restricted timeframe) people are more likely to act. The epitome CTA example of this sort is – the eBook (or other resource) is you sign up for the mailing list.  You may not want to join the mailing list, but what will you miss/lose if you don’t check out that resource?

Social Proof

Humans are by default social creatures, with (in many respects) a pack mentality. This translates into the belief that if a lot of people use something/speak highly of something, it must be good. In relation to Calls to Action, this can take the form of social sharing or onsite testimonials. Providing evidence that others think that your services are good, others are more likely to give it a go. While having clear and up to date testimonials in line with clear links to action pages is effectively allowing you to take it further. For example, on the email sign up page you could say something like “join the hundreds of others who have joined us”.

Primary Effect

While variety maybe regarded as the spice of life, it can lead to less than optimal conversion paths on websites. Akin to loss aversion, in that humans will generally wonder what they might be missing, by having too many options it can leave users unclear which is the right path. To solve this, it is recommended that your Calls to Action have a clear sense of hierarchy, preferably along the lines of your core service offerings.  This is where the Primary effect can come into play. We are (generally) trained that things are often sorted into order of importance, with the first being the most important. So, the simple way to generate your CTA hierarchy is to place the primary goals first, followed by the secondary goals in less visible locations. The anatomy of site menus is a good example of this. Users don’t want to search for what they need, so ditch the alphabetical order and place those key services at the top left.

If you are looking to create more powerful CTAs or want to look at your sites conversion rates get in touch with DSM.