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There is a page element most websites lack – and which is critical for obtaining a respectable conversion rate.

And even the websites that do include it, quite often don’t get it right.

What is it? The call to action.
The call to action is much more than an industry buzzword – it is a very necessary part of any website, indeed of any marketing effort.

Imagine going to a business where there was nobody to help you find where you needed to go. Sure, there’s a directory by the front door, but there’s no receptionist to point the way or lead you to the office of the person you’re there to see. You have to find him for yourself.

And instead of that person sending you over to the appropriate office to finish your business (sign some documents, set up a new account, whatever),  he just points you at the directory by the front door.

No business could run like that – their customers would leave in frustration, and they’d be bankrupt in a week!.

Unfortunately, this is how most business websites are designed. You get to the end of the homepage (the virtual receptionist), and you want to learn more — but is there anything to tell you where you should go next?

In far too many cases the answer is “No!”.

Instead, you’re expected to figure it out from the navigation (the directory). And it’s the same for all the other pages on the site.  The page describing their products or services convinces you to buy – but when you get to the end, is there anything to tell you how?

Too often, there is not.

So here are some simple DO’s and DON’Ts about how to use the call to action to  increase the number of customers you get from your site:

DO include at least one call to action at the end of every page.

DO make sure it reflects the primary objective of the page. If the call to action doesn’t make sense, it won’t work.

DO offer an alternative if it’s appropriate — a second choice call to action that gives your visitor another option (usually one that requires less commitment and gives you more opportunity to sell him on what you’re offering).  This works because when people are given a yes or no decision, some will say yes – but some will say no. When you offer an either/or decision, no is not an obvious option and so you will get a response either way.

DO make your call to action button big and bright. Orange is one of the best colours; it’s just as noticeable as red, but without the associations of danger and stop signs!

DON’T make your call to action a link in the middle of your page’s text – it will get lost and overlooked.

DON’T let other options compete with your CTA. Don’t load links into your page, especially links that will lead the visitor away from the site to some other place on the web. Links to social media or articles on other sites are distractions that can reduce your conversion rate.

There are other things you can do to improve conversion, but these steps are a very good start.
Try them out and see what happens. I think you’ll see good results.