5 Common Call to Action Mishaps—What Not to Do

5 Common Call to Action Mishaps—What Not to Do

By Shannon BarnesJul 11 /2013

common cta mistakesGood marketers know driving quality traffic to websites is no easy task. They also know their job doesn’t stop here—they must engage and, most importantly, convert website visitors. Well-crafted and strategically placed calls to action (CTAs) are one way to effectively guide visitors to take a specific action. However, not all CTAs are created equal.

Here are 5 common mishaps you should steer clear of when adding CTAs to your website.

  1. Poor Placement: Placement of your CTA can have a big impact on conversion. For example, if locating your CTA is like finding a needle in a haystack, the chance of the visitor actually taking the desired action is unlikely. Remember, as a general rule of thumb CTAs should be placed above the fold.  If you have multiple CTAs on a page, make sure the most important has prominent placement.

  2. No Alignment with Buyer Lifecycle Stages: Not everyone who visits your site is ready to buy. In fact, most visitors are “researching” to see if your products or services help solve their pain points. If you are only presenting visitors with bottom of the funnel offers, such as "Buy Now" or "Request a Demo," you are missing a huge opportunity to educate these potential customers. Ideally, your homepage should have one call to action for each phase of the sales cycle: top, middle and bottom.

  3. No Action Verbs in Your Copy: With only seconds to capture a visitor’s attention, compelling copy is crucial. The most effective CTAs contain action verbs, which we know describe an action or activity. Eliminating these powerful words from your copy can leave a visitor without a clear path or direction. If your CTAs are lacking an action verb, here is a quick list to consider.

  4. No Alignment Between CTA Copy and Your Landing Page: Looking for a sure way to reduce landing page conversions? My guess is your answer is 'No.' However, when the copy on your CTA is not aligned with your landing page copy, this is exactly what happens. Language used within your email or advertisement should be consistent with the language on your landing page. For example, if your call to action in an email was "Download our 10 Tips for Generating More Leads," you should use the same title on your landing page.  

  5. Assuming Your First is Your Best: There is only one way to find out which message and design your audience is most receptive to—and no, the answer is not what your gut is telling you. The correct answer is A/B testing. Kuno's, Dan Stasiewski wrote a great post discussing the benefits of A/B testing calls to action and how to determine the winning CTA. Check out You Don't Create the Perfect Call to Action Your Customers Do.

What other CTA mishaps have you stumbled upon? Please share in the comments section below.

Shannon Fuldauer

Shannon Fuldauer has a B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketing background including roles as Vice President of Marketing & Sales Support, and subsequently Vice President of Public Relations & SEO Services, for CareerBoard.com. She has expertise in digital marketing and advanced email communications.

photo credit: ucumari

Conquering Content Marketing

The Author

Shannon Barnes

Shannon works with clients from community hospitals to international and multi-billion dollar corporations in a variety of industries to develop and execute their inbound marketing strategies, focusing mostly on HubSpot ROI. Before Kuno, she spent 10 years in the online recruitment industry in a variety of roles ranging from marketing and sales to quality assurance.