It doesn’t matter what kind of website you run – you need a call to action. It doesn’t matter if you’re a restaurant, a non-profit, a law firm or an amateur magician – you need a call to action. Even if your website is down for scheduled maintenance – you need a call to action (“Check back in 2 hours!”). We’re not trying to rank high for the phrase “you need a call to action” here – we’re just trying to give this point the emphasis it deserves.
Calls to action aren’t just better for business, it’s better for your visitors as well. Far from being a pushy sales tactic, a call to action is actually what customers and readers want and expect. That’s because whenever someone reads something compelling or interesting or inspiring, they instinctively look for the next step. They want to take what they’ve learned and apply it.
The Big Questions
- “Who do I talk to for more information?”
- “What can I do to help?”
- “Where can I read more?”
- “How do I try this out for myself?”
- “When are you open so I can come to your store?”
These are the questions that visitors implicitly ask once they find your website and decide it’s what they’re looking for. And if you don’t answer that question, you leave them hanging and lose a sale.
Of course, not everyone will take you up on your invitation to call for more information, start a free trial or buy now – but if you don’t offer it, they won’t be able to accept it. And because there are multiple entry points to any given website, you need to make the offer on every single page. It doesn’t always have to be a high stakes, make or break decision. In fact, sometimes a strong call to action can be offputting to readers who aren’t yet ready to commit to a purchase. Even then, simply asking them to “click hear to see more options” or “keep reading for the full story” is enough to engage them.
The key is to offer your readers something in exchange for their action. Even if it’s something as small as more pictures of a product or an additional story, it’s these small conversions that eventually culminate to a subscription, a consultation or a sale.
More Than Sales
When it comes to local Internet marketing, conversion is about more than earning business or moving products. Even if a potential customer doesn’t follow through today or ever, you can still benefit from their behavior. A call to action helps you analyze what’s working and what’s not. By creating a conversion funnel with different calls to action along the way, you can see which mediums are resonating and where you lose customers. For example, if you’re running an email marketing campaign, you can see the amount of people who are opening the email and how many are clicking through to your full website as well as which links they are clicking to get there. You can learn a lot about your customers just from the way they navigate your website – and the more you learn, the better you can serve them.
So, for every piece of content you create, whether it’s an “About Us” page, a product description or a blog post, make sure there’s a logical next step for your readers. As with many things in life, the key to getting what you want is to simply ask.
This is the first part of our ongoing series on creating effective calls to action. Subscribe now so you don’t miss our next installment on the three essentials of a call to action.