How to write better calls to action – latest research
8 minute read
What do the owner of a one-person cupcake creating business and the CEO of Coke have in common?
The answer is that both of them rely heavily on their websites for the success of their ventures.
The cupcake makers amongst us might have a limited budget to build their website while Coke has millions to throw at their online presence, but neither will achieve the success they strive for if their calls to action on their sites aren’t right.
In fact, research suggests that a good call to action can attract as much as 400 per cent more engagement than a poor one.
In this article, we’ll look at the latest tips, inspired by research, for getting your calls to action on point.
Just in case – what is a call to action?
In a nutshell, calls to action are the elements of webpages that direct visitors to take a specific action such as buying, calling, or subscribing to a newsletter.
7 tips for writing better calls to action – latest research included
1. Understand that different rules apply to different sectors
In the warm bodied world, different selling techniques work better in different sectors and industries. You wouldn’t sell a life insurance package the same way you’d sell a lipstick, for example.
The same is true online. A four year research project by Persado – the AI powered copywriting technology brand – revealed that the most impactful calls to action differ between the retail, tech and finance sectors.
2. Instil a sense of achievement in retail customers
The Persado study, mentioned above, found that in the retail sector, the most impactful call to actions stimulate a sense of achievement in customers.
An example of a top performing CTA in this field was ‘Get this deal, claim offer’ as opposed to a simple ‘Shop now’ or ‘Get started’.
The CTA has an element of customer empowerment in it. It suggests that a good thing is within their grasp and it encourages them to act in order to accomplish something.
3. Inspire exploration in tech clients
While the Persado study found that calls to action that stimulated a sense of achievement were the most effective in the retail sector, it also found that CTAs that inspired a sense of exploration in customers were the most impactful in the tech sector.
An example of a powerful call to action in this area was ‘Try it now’. While still being functional and to the point, this call to action suggests to the visitor that there’s something to be discovered if they follow the CTA.
4. Be measured with finance clients
The final Persado finding in regard to impactful calls to action was linked to the financial sector. The research suggested that the most effective calls to action in this sector were those that were what it called ‘observational’.
In other words, the CTAs indicated that they would show the customers the details they wanted to see.
An example of an observational CTA was ‘See offer’.
Calls to action that implied the visitors would need to expend some effort to get the answers they were looking for – such as a ‘Learn more’ CTA – were the least effective in this industry.
5. Whichever sector you’re in, try not to be too generic
In April 2019, web optimisation company Crazy Egg pitted two kinds of calls to action against each other to see how they would impact conversion rates.
The first type of call to action was a generic one such as ‘See pricing and plans’. The second was a bit more personal. These CTAs used pronouns to address the customer and namechecked the product or service – for example ‘Show me my heatmap’.
Crazy Egg found that personalising the CTA upped their conversion rates by 20 per cent.
6. Choose your colours carefully
A lot of research has been carried out into the effect of website colours on visitor behaviour.
It’s generally acknowledged that…
• Yellows capture attention
• Reds energize and provoke action
• Blues build trust
• Greens are associated with wealth and are the easiest colour for the eye to process online
• Purples calm
• Pinks are still seen as a feminine colour
• Oranges provoke action but can sometimes be seen as aggressive
Unfortunately, there’s no real silver bullet when it comes to choosing the most effective colour for a CTA. The colour that will work best for your website will depend on your brand colours and the design of your site.
One thing that’s true, though, is that choosing the wrong colour can have massive implications for your bottom line.
In a recent study, digital marketing consultant Matthew Woodward tested five different CTA colour combinations to see if altering the colours really did make a difference to conversions.
He found that the best performing colour combination had a conversion rate of 52.25 per cent while the worst performing colour combo had a conversion rate of 41.46 per cent.
In terms of actual customers, the best performing colour combo converted an extra 850 people.
The moral of the story – AB testing the colour of your CTAs can result in major improvements to the performance of your website.
7. Always AB test
It’s not just colour combinations that you should AB test when it comes to the calls to actions on your site.
You should try and AB test as many variations of your CTAs as you have the time and resources to – AB test everything from the copy to the shape of call to action buttons.
There are hundreds of case studies out that show how a single tweak can make a huge difference.
For example, when Mozilla Firefox changed its homepage call to action from ‘Try Firefox 3’ to ‘Downoad Now – Free’, the CTA bagged the Firefox brand an extra 500 downloads.