Marketers tend to geek out on A/B testing. We want to know what’s working well and what might work better, so we test everything from button color to page layout. Some of these changes result in big increases in conversion rate, and some have a small effect that collectively add up to a bigger impact. When it comes to calls-to-action (CTAs), there are only a few factors that really move the needle. In this post, we’re sharing those factors and showing you how to craft a CTA that converts prospects to customers.
Start With Your Audience
All effective marketing is designed to speak to a specific group of people. Because different people have different needs and desires, you’ll want to thoroughly understand the group you’re targeting in order to identify the wording that will resonate with them.
This understanding has to go beyond demographics to dig into the needs and desires of prospects. What do they fear? What drives them? What motivates them? To learn this information, you’ll need to talk to people in your target audience. Ask open-ended questions that allow them to fully describe the challenges they face and the solutions they’re looking for. As they elaborate, listen for key words and phrases that you can integrate into your calls-to-action.
What to Optimize:
- The Offer Itself — Does your audience really want what you’re offering? No amount of word wizardry will make a prospect click to get something they don’t want.
- The CTA Copy — Does your CTA describe the offer in terminology that your prospects use and understand? If you use jargon that they don’t use or if the way you describe the offer just doesn’t appeal to them, your conversion rate will suffer.
- The Button Copy — Does the button copy motivate the prospect by appealing to what motivates them? Are you focusing on what they’ll receive as a result of clicking the button? For example, “See How You Can Save” is better than “Learn More.”
Consider Where The Audience Is in the Buyer’s Journey
The offer, the wording, and the button copy will all differ depending on where your audience is in the buyer’s journey. For those who are just beginning their journey, you might offer a downloadable that educates them on the depth of the problem they face or on all the possible solutions to the problem. Those who have decided which solution they want will be ready to learn how their peers are implementing that solution most effectively. Prospects who have settled on a solution and are looking at different vendors who offer that solution are ready to view a demo or have a consult.
Also consider how you’re presenting the offer. Keep the focus almost exclusively on the prospect at the top of the funnel. For example, it’s not until prospects are further along the buyer’s journey that they want to hear about your company and what makes you the best provider. When prospects are at the bottom of the funnel, they’re ready and eager to learn about you, so it’s ok (and necessary) to talk more about your company at that point.
What to Optimize:
- The Offer Itself — Is the offer appropriate to where the audience is in the buyer’s journey? Offer eGuides and other helpful content to those who are at the top of the funnel and save the offers for consults and demos for those who are further along in the journey.
- The CTA Copy — Are you focused on what the buyer is focused on at this stage in their journey? Remember to keep the focus on the prospect until later in the journey.
- The Placement — Where are you placing the first CTA? It’s smart to place the CTA in multiple locations on the page (if the page is lengthy). But placing it too high/too soon will distract the audience before they have the information needed at that point in the buyer’s journey. You’ll need to entice your audience before they’ll click on your CTA.
Tell the Audience Exactly What to Expect
People are nervous about clicking buttons online if they don’t know what will happen after they click. For example, when prospects click “Call for a Consult” on their mobile device, will they be taken to a contact form? Or will their phone immediately start the call?
Even a standard CTA like “Download Now” can cause dissonance. The prospect may expect an immediate download and be annoyed when he or she is presented with a form to fill out before accessing the download. High-converting CTAs leave no doubt in the prospects’ minds about what to expect when they click the button.
What to Optimize:
- The CTA Copy — Start prepping the prospect in the main copy. Describe what they’ll receive and how they’ll receive it.
- The Button Copy — Get specific about what will happen when the prospect clicks.
Although it’s worthwhile to test CTA color, shape, hover states, and size (always make CTAs large and eye-catching!), following the tips outlined in this post will give you the biggest increase in conversions. When you’re crafting new CTAs, keep this list in front of you — it will save you hours of optimization time later on, and you won’t miss out on conversions you could have had if you’d created them with these principles in mind.
Wondering how CTAs fit into the overall inbound marketing methodology? Have a look at our Inbound Marketing Services page to learn more.
Want to learn how we optimize clients’ landing pages for more conversions? Request a consult!