If you are running an online business, you have to convince your website visitors or email subscribers to take the desired action. You may, for example, want them to buy your products, sign up to your email list, make a donation or click an ad. To get your readers to take the desired action, you must tell them what to do. The call to action (CTA) thus becomes a critical part of your web page or promotional mails. Without an effective CTA, your conversion rates are likely to be modest unless your business has a monopoly over a product or service that is in great demand.

The CTA Should Be Relevant To Your Content

When you are doing content marketing or inbound marketing, your visitor is on your website because you have something to offer that is of interest to him or her. A CTA that is irrelevant to the content that the person came for is not likely to get much attention. This is true even if what you are offering is of general interest or is likely to be of interest to the visitor. For example, if your website is about antivirus reviews, offering your visitor a trial offer for an online backup tool may not get many clicks even though it is related to data security. On the other hand, offering the visitor a trial or discount offer for the latest internet security product is likely to get more clicks. Ensure that you are offering your visitors something that is strongly related to the content that brought them in.

Don’t Beat Around The Bush

It happens in both online and offline marketing. Some people are very good at making a sales pitch, but somehow, they have trouble asking for business. Don’t hesitate to tell the visitor what you want them to do because that is the purpose of your website. It’s best to start with an action word.

Here are some examples:

a) Click here to add this product to your cart while stocks last!

b) Enter your email address and click the subscribe button to join our newsletter.

c) Click here to take advantage of today’s special offer!

Keep Things Simple, But Whip Up the Emotions

Demonstrating your knowledge to impress your audience may be a good thing, but the CTA is not the place to do it. Keep things very simple so that visitors can understand what you are saying without having to go over it again. It’s best to avoid jargon, technical terms and complicated sentences. For example, instead of saying, “Click here to sign up for our RAID supported web hosting with multiple redundancies and mirroring,” say, “Click here to sign up for our highly reliable web hosting.”

Giving too many options to the reader is another way of overcomplicating things. You can give different ways to take action, for example, clicking a link or pressing a button, but don’t give them a choice of actions. Offering a choice of actions may confuse readers. It will also create another decision step for readers, whichcan make them put off the decision for later. For example, trying to sell multiple products or services through a single CTA may not work well. Instead, get the visitor to sign up for special offers and send them a separate mail for each product.

CTAs are more effective when they generate excitement and enthusiasm in the reader. It is also important to highlight the benefits that the reader is going to get by taking the suggested action. In the previous example, saying, “Stop worrying about speed and downtime! Click here to sign up for our highly reliable web hosting!” will do both these things because speed, uptime and security are critical parameters of web hosting. They are areas of concern for all webmasters.

Create A Sense of Urgency

The best chance of converting users comes when they are consuming your content. If users leave the content without taking action, it is difficult to bring them back. It is, therefore, important to create a sense of urgency. This is usually done by making a time-bound special offer. This works only if you really keep the offer time bound. When sales funnels talk about an offer that is available only for the next 20 minutes, most readers recognize this as a common marketing gimmick. On the other hand, when Amazon says that it is a one-day offer, people take it seriously.

Test With Different Options

Experiment a little with your CTAs. Try different options and do some testing to find out what works best for your scenario. Like ad copies, CTAs also tend to get stale after a while. So having multiple options and improving your CTAs constantly will help keep them fresh and maintain or improve their conversion rates. You should also experiment with the way the CTA is presented and where it is placed on your web page or newsletter.