Your website should be your best sales person. As a small business owner you don’t have time to waste on building a website that doesn’t really work for you. You need a website that is going to help you convert website visitors into clients and clicks into phone calls. Maximize the time you spend building your soloprenuer website by making one simple change: adding a call to action to your pages.
A call to action (CTA) is exactly what it sounds like, it is a message asking visitors to take a specific action. In fact, I’m going to show my cards and tell you that there is a call to action at the bottom of this blog post (and almost every blog post on my website).
If it is not clear what you want your visitors to do after reading a blog post or looking through your portfolio they will do nothing. Let me repeat:
If your visitors don’t know what to do they will leave, even if they are interested.
It doesn’t matter if your website is beautiful and has the best writing. If your visitors don’t know how to reach you, your website isn’t doing it’s job. Your website’s job is to convert clients for you and to warm up leads.
Not using a call to action is like going to a sales meeting, telling your prospect what they need, then walking out the door without ever going for the sell. You would never leave a business meeting without telling them what the next step is, why would you let your website do the same thing.
There are lots of ways to approach calls-to-action, but I am in the camp of “be authentic” and always think about what matches your business. Just because one approach is an industry standard doesn’t mean that is how you should be handling it in your own business.
Adding a CTA shouldn’t feel sleazy or like a hard sell. When I am writing a CTA I want to convert visitors that are thinking: “yeah, I’m on board, what do I do next?”. I am not trying to convert people who are thinking: “this doesn’t apply to my business”. I don’t want to push people who aren’t already nodding their head. I want clients who are already to start thinking strategically about their branding and marketing.
All that to say, don’t feel like you need to say “Buy! Buy! Buy!”. Most good CTAs are simple and don’t require you to go to Used Car University.
Generally a call to action appears at bottom of a page. Whether you use the same CTA on every page or change it up will depend on your business and what you want visitors to do. You want to place the call to action where it is going to make the most impact. If you make a call to action too early (like a the top of a page, or in the middle of a blog post) it will feel like a hard sell and not a nudge in the right direction.
Read over each page and identify the place where a visitor might ask: “I’m in, now what?”. That is where you want to place the call to action. Make sure you limit your CTAs to one per page. Visitors are more likely to take action when there is only one action to take, to many options often lead to no action at all.
Headlines can be the most difficult part of a call to action, because the headline needs to appeal to where your audience is now and compel them to action. You don’t need to over complicate it, but your headlines do need to be engaging and specific.
The best CTA headlines start with a verb, such as: get, download, discover, start, join, etc. Couple action words with specific adjectives to create a headline that engages your audience and hits on their emotions. What makes your services special? What are you going to do for them as a person? Your call to action should sum up what you will give the prospect in a way that appeals to the heart. What will they miss out on if they don’t take action?
Below is a list of example headlines. Use this as a reference as you are crafting your own headlines. The examples should not be considered templates, just a launching point for you to create your own unique headline.
Now that you have their attention you need a button for them to take that action right now. That action could be an email newsletter signup form, a button linking to your contact form, a large phone number to call, or links to a social media profile. Whatever the action is it should be short and easy. Below are a few examples of button titles.
Button Title Examples:
If you have additional content, such as a sub-headline or a longer description keep it short. If you make the call to action content too long it will get glossed over. My original description in this blog post’s CTA was over 100 words long, which is just too long to digest quickly. I ended up cutting it down to two very carefully chosen sentences.
The CTA is the final push after a long run or sprint. Don’t cut yourself short by giving too much information. Remember that you can always give more information on a landing page, in an intro email, or a first meeting with the prospect.
The call to action should stand out. It will not be effective if your CTA blends in with the rest of your content. Look at the examples below, the first call to action blends in with blog post content, while the second example grabs your attention.
Use whatever tools you have available on your website to make your call to action stand out from the rest of the page content.
Unclear CTA Gets Lost at the End of Blog Post
Strong CTA with Contrasting Colors
In the example above you can see the call to action clearly. I used double horizontal rules, strong colors, capitalization and centered the content to make the call to action pop.
If you have buttons available in your editor on your website I highly recommend that you use them. If you do not have buttons you can make your link text bolder, larger, and all caps to help draw attention to the action.
Ways to create contrast:
Using calls-to-action in your blog posts and website pages will help to spur visitors to contact you, rather than losing business to non-action. All your CTAs should be actionable and emotional and should standout from other content. A call to action is the difference between a flat website and one that acts like your best sales person. Taking simple steps when writing your content will help convert website visitors into clients.
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