Your call to action, or your CTA, is a device used by businesses to get their customers to act on something. There are many ways to make a call to action effective, including making it bold, designing it or using a button, or leaving space around it so that it stands out from the rest of the copy. These are all very useful tips, but often people focus too much on them and forget about what words they use for their call to action. More often than not, business owners fall into the trap of using common call to action copy, such as:
- Sign up now
- Click here
- Download now
Ultimately, the words are what makes a customer click (a blank button certainly isn’t going to do it), so it’s crucial to make sure that those words are as convincing as possible. Calls to action like click here are overused, say very little, and offer no SEO benefit, meaning that they just don’t cut it anymore.
At Digital Glue, one of the things we pride ourselves on is our creativity, and we feel that vague and cliché calls to action could do with a bit of a revamp. So, we’ve come up with 3 ways businesses can revolutionise their call to action.
Think creatively about what action is
As we said, most businesses have fallen into a call to action rut, using the same generic and meaningless calls to action again and again. Click here has probably been around for as long as the internet has. The world of technology and marketing has evolved rapidly since then, so why haven’t our calls to action? Smartphones allow us to do so much more online than we ever could have imagined, and mobile is increasingly becoming a bigger focus for marketing professionals year on year. In the future, businesses will need to ask themselves how can their call to action be modernised and change what we ask our audience to act on.
For example, instead of a buy now button, imagine a remind me to pick up button that sends a notification to remind a person to visit your shop when they’re nearby.
Or a call to action that says get an alert when I go on sale which sends a voucher or discount announcement when a product reduces in price.
How about a read me later call to action that that sends a reminder to a user to read your blog post when they have more time?
As we continue to be able to do more with our technology, businesses should consider what calls to action they can create to get their audience to engage with their business in ways beyond buy now.
Target your campaign and personalise your call to action
You’ve probably understood by now that generic is ineffective. Personalising your call to action is a great way to get it to stand out. There are services that will allow you to create calls to action on your website based on things such as location, device, or referral source. These can be useful, but using them means you’ll incur additional costs.
You can, however, personalise some of your calls to action yourself. For example, when putting together a Facebook ad campaign, Ad Manager allows you to target by a whole range of really specific things such as
- job titles
to things such as
- people who have come back off holiday in the last week
- People who enjoy golf
- or people who have gotten engaged in the last 2 years
Using this information, you can create highly targeted ads. You can get even more specific by selecting multiple fields, and Facebook will even tell you if your filters yield an audience that is too wide or too narrow.
But a good campaign isn’t just about targeting the right people, it’s about targeting them with the right words. Once you’ve got your targeted ad, it’s much easier to personalise your call to action instead of using a generic book or buy now.
Say, for example, you wanted to attract hen parties to your bar. You could target the sisters and daughters of women who have been recently engaged within 10 miles of your business and use your call of action to encourage them to book with you by saying Click here for the best hen night in Birmingham! Or if you ran a travel business, you could target your call to action to people who just got back from Rome by using a call to action that says Birmingham’s not quite Rome… click here to book your flight back now!
3. Tell a short story
You’ve probably heard the one about Ernest Hemmingway being challenged to write a story in six words. We think that you can use your call to action to create an even shorter story in just two to four words.
Stories are powerful tools and your call to action is a great way to get creative and test out different
methods of using them. Consider, for example, you owned an outdoor activities centre and you were creating a webpage to sign up for a day of activities. Instead of staying Register now you could say Take the challenge.
What effect does this have? Both of the calls to actions are imperative statements, but the second one sounds more exciting. Because of this, the reader will be more likely position themselves within the narrative, as they want to be part of the excitement. Take a look at this similar example from the Tough Mudder website:
However, be careful not to overcomplicate things. Using direct language has its benefits too. For example, a restaurant booking form might want to use Book a table as opposed to something unclear such as Get a taste of Italy. Direct language can be super effective when used in conjunction with a more exciting CTA, just like in this example from Uber.