What is a call to action?
You’ve seen them on TV ads:
- Call now!
- Don’t delay!
- Buy one, get one free!
- You’ve seen them in the newspaper:
- Enrol today!
- Enter our competition and win!
- Write a letter to the Editor
These commands are practically irresistible. Consciously we think we can make up our own minds, but deep down at the subconscious level, many people are led to act simply because the instructions are right there, compelling them to do so.
Website visitors expect to see calls to action
We’re a time-poor society. We need clear, easy to understand pathways to the information we seek. There’s no use thinking it seems presumptuous to command a website visitor to jump through hoops. They’re looking for those hoops! If you go to a website for information, you want to take the path of least resistance. You want calls to action. You want to be told where to go, what to do and which buttons to press. When you don’t see those, or if they’re too hard to find, you’ll probably click out of that site and find another one that doesn’t make you feel like you’re Indiana Jones on a quest for the holy grail of data!
Examples of calls to action
For starters, every navigation button on a website’s menu is a call to action including the Home, About and Services buttons. Beyond those, there are plenty of other instructions designed to guide you towards a goal. The four most frequent aims of website owners are to get their visitors to:
1. Buy: “Add to Cart” | “Buy Now” | “Grab yours today!” | “Don’t miss out!” | “Purchase ”
2. Enquire: “Call now” | “Contact us” | “Drop us a line” | “Find out how”
3. Sign up for something: “Sign up here” | “Join us” | “Sign up for our newsletter”
4. Learn more: “Read blog” | “View our portfolio” | “Read testimonials”
All calls to action will be designed to achieve these objectives.
Do your website visitors a favour and be their tour guide. They’ve usually come to visit for a reason; give them what they want. And for visitors who came to your site to browse, research or kick some proverbial tyres, turn them into buyers, subscribers or enquirers by showing them what you want them to do.
With the right calls to action, you can turn browsers into buyers. This is called ‘conversion’ but that’s a topic for another blog post entirely.