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Psst Over Here! Tips for Attention-Grabbing Calls to Action

By Shannon BarnesFeb 26, 2014

paintingAs marketers, we often spend a lot of time and money developing strategies to drive traffic to our website. If only our job ended there… life would be so simple. But as you know, our job only gets more complicated. Once a visitor lands on your site, you literally have seconds to prove your site is worth exploring. One way to quickly grab attention and take your visitors down a desired path is through well-crafted calls to action (CTAs).

Like a fine piece of art, CTAs require a well thought-out plan. Sure, it’s easy to slap some words together with a graphic and haphazardly sprinkle CTAs throughout your website, but my guess is your conversion rate will be low. When developing an effective call to action, there are three main areas to consider: copy, design and placement.

Speak your buyers' language with relevant, clear and action-oriented copy.

As tempting as it may be to drive visitors immediately to the bottom of the sales funnel, keep in mind the majority of your visitors are just researching. Calls to action should align with your visitors' stage within the sales funnel. For example, visitors in the research phase are primarily interested in helpful content, not scheduling a demonstration of your product. (Remember, if you are using HubSpot, you can enlist the help of Smart CTAs to adjust appropriately as your visitors move further down the sales funnel!)

Once you have identified the type of copy relevant to your audience, it is time to consider the actual copy. Since you only have a few seconds to capture your visitor’s attention, focus on fewer words with more robust meaning. Avoid internal jargon at all costs, as this tends to pollute the clarity of your message. Whenever possible, include action verbs since they convey emotion and appeal to the reader’s senses. Excluding these powerful words from your copy leaves the reader with little to no direction and often hurts your click rate, ultimately and, more importantly, your conversion rate.

After your copy is finalized, the next step is considering the design of your call to action.

Design CTAs that attract, not scare away your visitors.

Here at Kuno, I am fortunate to work with a team of talented designers; however, I recognize not every marketer has access to this type of resource. If you fall into the latter category, I highly encourage you to check out this blog from HubSpot on how to create professional looking CTAs in PowerPoint. Or try using the CTA builder in HubSpot for making professional-looking calls to action.

Regardless of where your CTAs originate, there are a few things to keep in mind related to design: Make your CTA stand out by using contrasting font and background colors. Be mindful the background color of your CTA does not interfere with the visibility of the copy. Also, avoid decorative fonts, as they are often hard to read.

The size of your CTA is another important consideration. Yes, you want your CTA to stand out, however, it should not overwhelm the other elements on your page. On the flip side, you do not want to make it so small visitors cannot find it. In short, when it comes to the ideal size of a CTA, it will depend on the other page elements.

Now that you have your copy and design nailed down, there is just one more element to consider—placement.

Placement of your CTA can have a big impact on conversion.

Eye-catching designs and compelling copy mean nothing if your CTA cannot be found. 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 ones have prominent placement.

Remember, CTAs are not just for your homepage;strategically place them throughout the site keeping in mind your buyers' stage within the sales funnel. A product page would be a great location for one of your bottom-of-the-funnel offers. And don't forget to include CTAs in your blog postings (see below)!

Final Thought

Rarely will you develop the perfect CTA the first time around. Be prepared to A/B test each element discussed in this post until you find the design, copy and placement that resonates most with your audience.

Do you have more CTA tips you would like to share? Please add them to the comments section below

 Marketing Storytelling eBook

photo credit: Storm Crypt 

Additional Topics: Content and Design
The Author

Shannon Barnes

Shannon Fuldauer Barnes 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.
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