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What converts? The psychology behind the call to action

What is a call to action?

A call to action (CTA) is an instruction, formulated in such a way as to provoke a response from the user. The call to action should persuade the user to take a particular action, whether it be to sign up to a newsletter, sign up to a webinar, download a brochure or report, fill in a form, request further information, or buy a product.

A CTA can be placed anywhere on a website, it can be placed in an email, on a Facebook post, at the end of a video, or at the bottom of a blog article. The CTA itself may be a banner, a sign, an image, a button, or simply a bit of text allowing visitors to click through.

The aim of a CTA is to encourage visitors to take action then and there – not, necessarily, to leave the website and return later – but to take action immediately.

call to action

What encourages a user to take action?

In other words, what makes for an effective CTA? When it comes to the psychology behind a call to action, there are multiple elements to take into consideration. These include:

  • Colour

    Colour psychology in marketing is an expansive subject. For example, blue is said to signify trust, while green is associated with health and growth. Women are said to be drawn more to the colours blue, green and purple, while men favour blue, green and black. It’s worth taking this into consideration when choosing colour, but no one colour converts better than any other. The main thing is to make sure the background colour of the page doesn’t clash with the colour of the CTA icon – look to establish a happy contrast.

  • Wording

    Depending on your audience, the right phrases or wording can make all the difference to your conversion rates. For example, the word ‘free’ will be enticing to most visitors, so if what you’re offering is free, use this word. The words/phrases you use need to evoke a sense of urgency, be clear, pithy, personal, action-orientated, and unequivocal in meaning. Create the impression that there is a limited supply of whatever it is you’re offering, and focus on the benefits of your product/service. Some examples include: now, new, you, guarantee, hurry, last chance, limited, today only, sign up.

  • Placement

    Above the fold or below? The answer’s not that simple. Traditionally, most marketers placed the CTA above the fold, but more recent studies have shown that placing the CTA below the fold can result in higher conversions. Placing the CTA below the fold gives you space for content first, which can be read and understood by the user before they reach the CTA. If they read this content, they are more likely to know what to expect from the CTA, and therefore more likely to convert. The best approach is to run tests to see what works best.

  • Font

    Above all, the font must be legible and scalable. Use a different font for the CTA than you’ve used on the rest of the landing page, as this will emphasise it. Make sure the contrast between the different fonts is complementary.

  • Image

    An image should evoke emotion in some form. Make sure the image is relevant to the CTA and helps push the visitor into converting.

  • Size

    Naturally you want your CTA to stand out, so make sure it’s noticeable. However, you don’t want the call to action to be so large that it detracts completely from the other content on the page.

  • Shape

    It’s well known that curves and rounded edges are more pleasing to the eye. Studies have shown that rounded corners pull your attention to the inside of a box or button, so it’s worth testing this to see how it works for you.

Does the layout of the landing page matter?

Yes. The entire landing page should be built around the CTA. You naturally want users to come to your landing page, but you don’t want them to just visit the page and leave without taking action. Placement is important, and a logical flow of information through to the CTA should leave users in no doubt of what they can expect if they click on your CTA. You need to make it easy and simple for users to take action – be persuasive.

There is no one answer, but there are certain elements which characterise a successful landing page. These include:

  • An arresting headline – this should be compelling, simply worded, and attention-grabbing.
  • A high-quality image – this should enhance and be relevant to the service or product you’re offering, and, like the headline and subheadline, attention-grabbing.
  • Well-crafted, easy to understand content – the user needs to understand what the product/service/offer is about, so make sure you explain it to them clearly and concisely.
  • Logical layout/flow – there is a ‘conversion funnel’ which users need to go down in order to convert. Start with a piece of explanatory content, outline the benefits of what you’re offering, then end with the CTA.
  • Testimonials – testimonials indicate trust and value in a service or product.

Why you should A/B test your CTAs

Otherwise known as split testing or bucket testing, A/B testing your CTAs is crucial. A/B testing will enable you to see what performs well and what doesn’t. As previously stated, there is no one answer. What works for one campaign/landing page might not work for another. The only best practice approach is to conduct A/B testing and be guided by the results.

To find out more about how we can help, please contact Art Division for a free consultation.

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