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Everything you need to know about CTA

Everything you need to know about CTA


The CTA, or Call to Action, is the secret weapon of all marketing and advertising specialists. The purpose of the button is simple: to encourage you to take a particular action.

Whether you realize it or not, you come across CTAs every day, for example through Facebook or Google ads urging you to ‘Buy now’, ‘Sign up’, ‘Learn more’, or ‘Read more’. All of these are examples of popular and effective CTAs online.

Here is a more detailed list of prompting verbs that will let you take full advantage of the power of CTAs:

cta most powerfull words

To ensure that your CTA works as expected, you need to decide what action you want your users to take after seeing the button. The CTA’s design plays an important role, as the more appealing the button, the more likely it is to generate the desired clicks. In addition, you should position the button in an appropriate, click-friendly section on your website.

Remember that people don’t like waiting, so you’d better have a fast-loading website. For this task, you can turn to a reliable web hosting provider, such as HostPulse, which will take care of your website’s speed and security. As of today, the ideal website load time is 4 seconds and the ideal response time is half a second.

Below we show how you can create a beautiful, optimized, and appropriately positioned CTA for your website or an ad on social media.

The creation of an effective CTA requires that you take 4 main steps:

  1. Come up with an appealing design: it would be good if you can turn to a competent designer capable of creating a unique button that will attract the attention of every user who sees your ad. The button must be different from all other buttons on your website.

  2. Choose the right position for the button: try to identify the most clickable section on your website and position the CTA button there. Putting the button in an inappropriate place dramatically limits its chances of success.

  3. Craft an original copy/text: the purpose of the copy/text is to encourage your users to continue to engage with the information you serve them.

  4. Measure the performance of the button: once you add a CTA button to your website, you need to assess its performance by monitoring data such as click-through rate (CTR), click-to-submission rate (CSR), and view-to-submission rate (VSR).

Let’s take a closer look at each of these four steps and some pieces of valuable advice that will allow you leverage the full potential of CTAs.

Step 1: Come up with an appealing design for your CTA button

• An unattractive button won’t induce your users to click on it. Most people may even associate such a button with a threat, for example a virus that will cause them trouble. You don’t want to make your users feel this way, right?

• The number of clicks generated by a CTA button indicates the level of its attractiveness.

• Choose a suitable shape for the button. Ask yourself: will I want to click on this button when I see it? You can start with an oval or rectangular shape.

start button

• To make the button more appealing, you can add shades, gradients, or other effects.

• Leave enough empty space (white space) around the button so that it is separated from the other elements in your ad, such as an image, a piece of text, or other existing buttons. This space has a positive effect on users’ level of engagement with the page.

• Choose a clear and bold vision for the button. It should be easy to find on the page you plan to add it to. It should also both correspond to the colors of your website and/or ad and contrast strongly enough without irritating your eyes.

• A big button is more likely to attract your users’ attention. While you should stay away from small buttons, you should also avoid going into the other extreme, creating buttons that occupy half of the page. Feel free to use whatever size and elements you wish as long as you don’t overdo it.

• Sometimes you can add a link to your CTA button that redirects users to another page on the same website or to another website. Most Bulgarian and foreign websites employ this tactic to generate still higher traffic and offer more information to users.

Step 2: Choose the right position for your CTA button

In relation to the position of your CTA button, you have two main options: above the fold and below the fold.

above and below the fold

Go to a random website. The part of the page you see before you scroll down is known as above the fold. Everything below the imaginary line which you can see only after you scroll down is called below the fold.

According to a 2010 survey, more than 80% of all people spend their time on a website above the fold. But can we draw credible conclusions about user behavior in 2020 based on data about user behavior in 2010? Of course not.

Today people are used to swimming in a sea of information. As a result, they want to be sure that their actions are based on transparent and trustworthy information. If you put a CTA button in the beginning of a page, when users haven’t had the chance yet to learn more about you and your story, do you think they will click on the button? Maybe not.

Scrolling through web pages has become second nature to users. Let them get to know you and decide what action to take depending on whether they’re interested in what you offer to them.

Experiment with CTA buttons positioned below and above the fold and see which option works better for you.

When deciding where to put your CTA button, you should consider users’ reading habits. These take two major forms: Z-shaped reading pattern and F-shaped reading pattern.

Z-shaped reading pattern

Experts have identified a Z-shaped pattern of reading based on the movement of our eyes across a page. According to this model, some users read by moving their eyes from point 1 to point 4 (see the picture) in a Z-like fashion. You can use this information to guess whether placing a CTA button in a particular place would yield the expected results.

z shaped

F-shaped reading pattern

Nielsen Norman Group’s F-shaped pattern of reading online applies to both desktop and mobile versions of websites. According to this model, some people read through web pages by moving their eyes in an F-like fashion, first reading horizontally across the top of the page, then reading horizontally slightly lower on the page, and lastly scanning vertically down the left side of the screen. It’s up to you to decide whether to apply this rule or whether to disregard it completely.

F shaped pattern

We suggest that you monitor your users’ behavior to discover the ‘hotspots’ on your website, where your CTA button will shine the brightest. You can try this approach right now by using the so-called heat maps generated by behavior analytics and user feedback service Hotjar.

With the help of a heat map, you can get a nuanced understanding of your users’ behavior by visualizing their clicking and scrolling patterns. The ‘hottest’ elements of a webpage attract the most clicks and are, therefore, the best locations for your CTA.

Heat maps

Heat maps are visualizations of aggregate data in which different values are shown in different colors. As such, they help us understand complex phenomena and identify trends, enabling us to take specific actions to achieve specific goals.

Thanks to Hotjar, you can create a heat map of your website to identify the most and the least popular sections. Heat maps come in three forms:

• Click maps: show where website visitors click on desktop devices and tap their fingers on mobile devices. Click maps are color-coded, with red marking the most-clicked elements and blue marking the least-clicked elements.

click maps

• Move maps: show how website visitors move their mouse across a page, with hotspots representing the places where they pause their mouse. In this way, move maps allow you to learn where users go when looking for specific information on your page.

move maps

• Scroll maps: show the percentage of users scrolling down to any point on a page. The red areas are the parts of a page that attract the highest number of visitors, whereas the blue areas are the parts that attract the lowest number of visitors.

scroll maps

Where NOT to put your CTA button

We can’t predict the best positions for a CTA button on your website because, as you already know, this depends on your users’ behavior. However, we can definitely tell you where NOT to put the button.

• Never put the CTA button before the first paragraph on a page. The rationale for not doing is simple: people come to your website for specific content they are interested in now, not for any other benefit or additional information. Hence, they shouldn’t feel like they’ve wasted their time due to side issues.

Make sure that people can find the information they seek as soon as they land on your website. As mentioned above, you should give your users the chance to first learn about you and the products or services you offer. Then you can prompt them to take action with your CTA button.

• Never put the CTA button before you’ve presented 70% of the content you want your users to see. After they’ve seen this much, they are more likely to respond positively to the message in your CTA.

Step 3: Craft an original copy/text for your CTA button

Help your CTA button do its job. Add small pieces of persuasive information below the button, for instance ‘100% guarantee’ or ‘Free delivery’.

Even if you’ve selected the perfect design, vision, and position for a CTA, you still need to ensure that the button comes with a high-quality copy/text. Never underestimate the copy!

starbucks example

The text accompanying a CTA button should describe why users need to take the action you want them to take. Tell them what they can expect after they click on the button, for example ‘Begin a free trial session’ or ‘Subscribe to receive instructions’.

People love it when they can try a product or a service for free for a limited period. This is the perfect occasion to add a CTA to your website with the text ‘Begin a free 14-day trial session’. A skillfully phrased inviting question like ‘Are you ready to get more functionalities for your website?’ often does wonders. Such questions arouse users’ interest and makes them want to try something new because it may benefit them.

Test several versions of a CTA copy to see which one is likely to generate the most clicks. You can do this through A/B testing, comparing the texts according to the following criteria:

• Color

• Text

• Position

• Shape

• Size

• Image

Nobody likes being asked to make a purchase, as in ‘Click here to buy’, or to share their emails, as in ‘Write your email’. Such messages just aren’t appealing.

What people like is to have an opportunity they expect to benefit from here and now, as in ‘Get access’, or to sense a mystery in your call, as in ‘Discover new products’. Hence, avoid words that make people do something and instead use words that show them what they can RECEIVE by clicking on the CTA button.

Step 4: Measure the performance of your CTA button

To know if you’ve optimized a CTA button well, you need to measure its performance. You can do this by monitoring the following data:

CTR (click-through rate): the percentage of people who have seen a CTA button and then clicked on it.

CSR (click-to-submission rate): the percentage of people who have clicked on a CTA button and then submitted a registration form.

VSR (view-to-submission rate): the percentage of people who have viewed a CTA button and then submitted a form through your target page.

Concluding remarks

We hope the four-step process described in this article will help you use CTAs on your website effectively. Always place the button where it will generate the highest number of conversions. Optimize your website to keep visitors there as long as possible.

Try to convince the visitors to your website to come back again and again. If you know them well, you can use this knowledge as a starting point for making adjustments to your website so that it works well for you. Your knowledge about your users will further allow you to put your CTAs in the most clickable sections of your website.

Stay flexible, be honest with your audience, harness the power of words, and track your users’ responses to your messages. Adopts this approach and set yourself on the path to success.

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