Top Ten Tips for an Effective Call to Action

Call to ActionHaving a handsome website is good; having a solid social media presence is better. How do you use them to actually make some money? It’s all about persuading your visitors to engage with you — you need to issue an effective call to action.

Here’s checklist to help you do that:

  1. Create a call to action: Once you’ve got a visitor at your website, you need to engage them or they’ll click away, perhaps never to be seen again. The easiest way to get them to engage is to ask them.
  2. Provide a benefit: Everyone — including your visitors — knows that “call for a free consultation” means “call so we can try to sell you something.” What can you provide that will actually benefit a potential customer?
  3. Provide the right benefit: Put yourself in your customer’s place. What problem can you solve? What do you have to offer that will boost sales or cut costs? That’s what you should be offering.
  4. Provide a tangible benefit: Be specific about how much your customers actually benefit — “boost sales by 27 percent”; “cut costs by $942 per month.”
  5. Be specific with what you want them to do: If you need an email address, ask for their email address. If you want them to “buy now,” add a nice big “buy now” button. Whatever button they need to click should clearly say “click here.”
  6. Limit what you’re asking for: Yes, you want them to sign up for your newsletter, follow you on Twitter, like you on Facebook, recommend you to a friend, and check out offers from your partners — oh, and buy something — but that’s too much. Figure out what the most important action is and ask them to do that.
  7. Place the call to action front and center: You need a big, bright, easy-to-read, easy-to-find button for them to click on. This should be placed so it’s visible on your landing page without scrolling.
  8. Cut the crap: Get rid of the exaggerated self-promotion (though if a recognized outside authority calls you “the best [whatever]” you’ll obviously want to quote them!). Make sure your copy is in clear, understandable English, not insider jargon.
  9. Make it urgent: Consider making your discount or download a limited-time offer — then really limit the time. Don’t create a “buy it today!” urgency if that “today” will be magically refreshed tomorrow.
  10. Minimize the consumer’s risk: “Free” and “money back guarantee” are magic words; if that’s what you’re offering, place that information prominently. Set up email lists with frequency options and easy-to-use instructions for opting out.

How will you be able to tell if these tips are effective? You should be doing split testing, also known as A/B testing — but that’s a subject for another time.

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