A Call to Action, or a CTA, is an image or piece of text that encourages readers to do something. It's a critical part of the marketing puzzle, and an essential component of a well-designed website that will drive leads.
What is a Call to Action?
A call to action is a piece of text, or an image, that encourages readers to take some sort of action. That may sound vague, but it depends entirely on what you're hoping your visitors will do. You could have a large button on your website that says "click here to learn more." It may say "get started today." It could even say something as simple as "call us" with a phone number listed.
But the point of a CTA is typically to get visitors to "click" (clicks are then measured through analytics, so you're able to determine how many people saw the call to action, and how many people clicked. If your click-through rates are low, you can tweak your CTA to make it more effective.
So how do you create an effective CTA?
What do you want your visitors to do?
You may prefer phone calls to email, in which case you'd be telling visitors to call your phone number. You may be hoping to get more subscribers for your newsletter. You may be hoping to get new energy audit sign-ups with a contact form. Whatever you have determined that the primary goal of your website is, is what you should be telling your visitors to do right up front.
DeWitt Kimball of Complete Home Evaluation Services came up with the CTA button that you see at the top of this page; his goal is to get visitors to complete a lead-capture form so that he can follow up with them by phone and, hopefully, schedule an energy audit. The "Is your home a Hummer or a Prius" phrasing is a clever way to compel visitors to sign up, but nonetheless the whole point of the button is to get a click and a sign-up.
What will improve click-through rates?
Another important consideration besides figuring out what you want your readers to do, is getting them to do it. As shown in DeWitt's example above, there are a ton of ways to go about this: clever text, colorful buttons, strong language, etc, etc. Consider trying a variety of CTAs, monitoring which types are maximizing clicks, and go from there.
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