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You Don’t Create the Perfect Call to Action, Your Customers Do

By Dan StasiewskiAug 20, 2012

a b test call to actionGone are the days where you anguish over the writing and designing of the perfect call to action. Should it say “Click Here” or “Learn More”? Should you have an image of a person or a product? Should it have a number or should it be all text? You can find a blog post or a presentation telling you to do one thing or the other as a best practice, but is it a best practice for your customers?

The truth is you don’t know what your customers really want until you’ve A/B tested calls to action on your live website. Using HubSpot’s Call to Action tool or Google’s Website Optimizer (soon to be Content Experiments), test different art and copy on any CTA to see which message your customers actually prefer.

What Are the Benefits of A/B Testing a Call to Action?

  • Your Customers Make Their Own Experience Better - When you find out which type of message your customers prefer on one type of call to action, you can use that information when you develop new calls-to-action.
  • You Don’t Have to Stress over Getting It Right - The days of wondering if the message you’re trying to get across works are over. Now you can test different words or phrases and see which one converts better.
  • You Can Prove Your Boss Wrong - We’ve all been there. Something comes down from the top that you feel in your gut won’t work. Now, you can just suggest testing various messages to see which one really results in clicks or conversions. The data never lies.

How Do You Determine the Best Call to Action from a Test Group?

  • Test Multiple Messages and Designs - Take two text changes and two image changes ... and mix and match. You’ll have an A/B/C/D test group that really narrows down which elements are getting users to click.
  • Clicks are Good, but Submissions are Better - Even if a call to-action has a great click through rate, does it result in form submissions? Make sure the call to-action accurately identifies the offer after a visitor clicks. (And if it does, a little landing page optimization may be in order.)
  • Submissions are Good, but Quality Leads are Better - You have the clicks and the submissions, but are you able to move those leads through the sales funnel? If you aren’t getting quality leads, identify the people you would like to click and plan to have calls-to-action just for them.
  • Ask Yourself, "Is it the Message or the Location?" - Rather than simply testing messages, you can test different calls-to-action for different offers on a single page. This will help you determine if your offers have proper segmentation throughout your website.

As the data builds, you can disqualify calls-to-action and focus more heavily on the CTAs that result in clicks, submissions and solid leads. That doesn’t mean you should stop A/B testing. Make new ones based off of what you learn. Because if you’re not testing, you’re not paying attention ... to your customers.



Image source: mag3737


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The Author

Dan Stasiewski

When he's not talking about marketing data and trends, he's probably in a movie theater... or randomly breaking into song.
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