A call-to-action, also abbreviated to CTA, is a request for action. It can therefore be used for many different purposes, but is particularly important in marketing. Here, the call-to-action is used to directly persuade the customer to make a purchase or take some other action.
Detailed explanation Call-to-Action
A call-to-action has been part of the marketing arsenal for a long time, as early on advertisers realized that they would have more success if they took their customers by the hand. The reason for this is as simple as it is obvious: most people don’t give advertising their full attention. If the advertising text simply ends abruptly, the potential customer doesn’t know exactly what to do now. Of course, this is not because he lacks the necessary intelligence. Rather, lack of attention and lack of interest are the reason. Without a CTA, the customer would have to deal with the offer again, i.e. invest time and effort – and many are not prepared to do this. This is especially true for users on the Internet, where the attention span is often particularly low.
The call-to-action therefore helps to guide the visitor across the website until he finally lands at the desired action – regardless of whether he came from a social media page, a search engine or directly to the page. To make this work, there are several options when it comes to the design of the CTA, plus certain formal things should be considered when it comes to the structure of the CTA.
How should a call-to-action be structured?
Before we get to the design and structure of a good CTA, one thing up front: there is no such thing as the one, perfect call-to-action. The call-to-action should always be tailored to the website and the potential customers, and even for a specific page, the call-to-action may well work equally well in different variations. The following tips should therefore be seen as a guide to make it easier to create a suitable call-to-action for your own website. Roughly, a CTA can be divided into four areas. These are:
- Call to action
- Confidence-building measure
The introduction is placed directly above the actual call to action and should lead the user to the desired action. In addition, the introduction should ideally create trust and show the visitor that he has landed on the right page. Depending on the offer, sentences such as “This service is free of charge for you!” or “Don’t miss out on this unique offer!” are conceivable here.
The actual call to action is usually linked to a button that the visitor should click to take advantage of the offer. This button should, of course, be labeled and briefly explain what will happen when the potential customer clicks it. Often, therefore, a simple “Order now!” or “Register now!” is already sufficient. For more complex offers, however, the button can be omitted and replaced by a link that becomes part of the call to action. Here, it is important that the action linked to the request is immediately apparent – the customer must therefore be able to recognize immediately that he is placing an order when he clicks on the button.
Accordingly, less is often more here, because this way the call-to-action remains clear and the user is not confused by a huge flood of information. This is especially true if the CTA appears on a landing page, because there the customer no longer needs to be informed in great detail about the offer. Instead, on a landing page, it must be possible to see at a glance what the offer is about, so that the visitor can decide directly for or against it.
The conclusion should convince users who are still somewhat undecided. It is therefore a good idea to build trust here, for example with sentences such as “You can return the ordered goods to us free of charge within 14 days” or “We will not pass on your data to third parties under any circumstances”. In this way, the customer knows that he is taking virtually no risk and is thus more willing to opt for the offer.
The trust-building measure takes a similar line. It is not directly part of the CTA, but is usually placed to the side of it. Test seals, such as those from TÜV Süd or Trusted Shops, are particularly popular here. Test seals suggest to the user that he has landed on a reputable website where there is no risk of him being deceived or otherwise misled. If these four elements are well aligned, it usually leads to a noticeably higher conversion.
What is the purpose of a call-to-action?
And with “conversion” comes the next topic on the agenda: why do you need a call-to-action? In principle, it’s quite simple. If you take customers by the hand and guide them through the offer, they will feel well looked after. On the other hand, they do not have to deal extensively with the service or product and therefore tend to decide in favor of it rather than against it. A call-to-action can therefore be used to increase the conversion rate.
It can therefore be linked well with SEO measures. SEO makes it easier for visitors to find the page, and the call-to-action, in combination with other design elements on the page, ensures conversion. By the way, a CTA does not always have to be used to persuade the customer to make a purchase. A call-to-action can also be used to generate leads, which then become customers in a second step.
Where is a call-to-action used?
Regardless of whether the CTA is intended to generate leads or customers, the positioning of the call-to-action has a decisive influence on whether it works or not. Especially on a landing page, where it’s basically all about whether or not the company can convince the customer of its services, where the CTA appears plays a major role.
Ideally, it should appear “above the fold”, i.e. it should be visible on the page without scrolling. In addition, it must not be overlaid by advertising, other content or eye-catching design elements. The call-to-action is – at least on a landing page – the heart of the page and should therefore also be the most conspicuous. In principle, it is also possible to place several CTAs on the page – after all, you never know which argument will really convince the customer. If it is a rather unusual point, the customer might jump off if there is no call to action nearby.
What else needs to be considered with the call-to-action?
An important point with a CTA is optimization. When created, a CTA may seem very well thought out – but only its use on the page can show whether it actually is. To better assess how effective a particular call to action is, it is worth formulating several variants. These are then placed on the page at the same time and shown to only a randomly selected part of the customers in each case as part of an A/B test. In this way, the variants can be compared very easily with each other, so that – assuming a correspondingly large number of test customers – you can easily determine the most effective variant. In addition, you should repeat such tests at regular intervals to make sure that the selected CTA still works well.
A call-to-action is an important tool in online marketing that can have a great impact on the conversion rate. Through the call-to-action, the customer is involved and knows exactly how he can take advantage of the particular offer. This makes it easier for him to make a decision and takes away any possible reservations, so that a conclusion is more likely with a CTA.
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