A call-to-action gives the user a real reason to click — to ultimately buy or fill out a form.

These clicks result in more sales and money for your business. By combining the elements that I listed below, it is not unlikely to double your profits.

What is a call to action (CTA)? It is what must be clicked (links or buttons) to result in a sale or lead. This includes everything from: “Learn more,” “Add to cart,” “Checkout,” “Click here,” and even a poorly designed “Submit” button.

Colors to use for your Call-to-Action

For text links: Blue or #0044CC (The $80 million color, read why.)

Now, many times you’ll use a link as a call to action. This one shade of blue is the color for links. Keep it underlined. Don’t be fancy. Don’t mix it up with other colors either.

For images or buttons: Orange, or a shade of it.

Typically, this color contrasts the best with websites. The color of your button is ‘set apart’ from your website. There are tests that have proven this countless times. Here’s a few posts:

  1. Split Testing with a Genetic Algorithm
  2. How to Call to Action (their explanation of why orange works best)
  3. The attack of red [actually, orange] buttons: how GSM.nl reduced bounce rate by doing a simple change

Position your CTA

Above or below the fold

A call-to-action does not belong just above the fold. This is a myth. Sometimes when it’s obvious you are selling, the consumer resists. They want to learn first and then buy.

Having your call to action above the fold is essential if your presell is very short. However, in long landing pages many marketers have found out that call to actions lower in the page’s content — instead of it in the first paragraph — have a higher conversion rate. Tracking each call to action and click is important to determine where your call to action should be. So, having your call to action lower in the pages, may actually force people to read your sales pitch before clicking. [Read more]

Invisible Call-to-Action

Some advertisers do not show the CTA until when the buyer the is ready. For example, they may do this by showing a video advertisement that is 10 minutes long. Using JavaScript, they make the CTA button appear after the page has been displayed for 10 minutes. It’s an interesting way to not allow a user to buy until you think they are actually ready to make a purchase.

Example: TruthAboutAbs.

Shown in users’ eye path

If you display the CTA above or below the fold, you do want users to be able to find the CTA when they’re ready to buy. Make it easy. Display the CTA in multiple places:

  1. In navigation – You could have a “Pricing” or “Demo” link in your navigation.
  2. Bottom of page – A lot of people will scroll to the bottom of page when they want to act immediately. Make this possible.
  3. After ad copy – Typically, motivated users will be the most ready to act once they read your most powerful benefits.
  4. Other pages – If possible, many users will browse different pages of your site to check: reviews, credibility indicators, privacy policy, or more benefits/features.

Write a CTA — What words trigger clicks and sales?

A call to action on a poorly designed landing page can often be the only element that communicates what a user can do on your site. A CTA requires time and sometimes the submission of a credit card or personal information so it needs to be persuasive and precise.

Do not use “Submit” as your primary call to action. “Submit” never clearly communicates a benefit of clicking that button. By minimum test these simple formulas:

Communicate the benefit. Consumers are almost always trying to “get” something.

Get _____. Get Free Updates. Get Results.

These are curious clicks (or minimal commitment by user). Many times curious prospects can start going into the sales funnel with just wanting to see more.

See _____. See how it works. See Pricing.

Add-to-cart (instead of “Buy now”)

_____ – Next Page. Your Results – Next Page.

You may need to minimize commitment at each step. Most people have serious commitment issues — in buying and elsewhere. They’re just not sure yet. They either have to pay money, give too much information or their time.

Use a secondary CTA on occasion. Try having a large button as your most important step and then a small link under it for people that aren’t ready to make the “larger” commitment.

There are certain websites that are constantly optimizing and testing new CTAs. You can monitor these sites and learn what they’ve found be most profitable. Basecamphq.com is one of these sites. The button above: 1) Reassures “No credit card required” and with text under “30-day trial. Sign up in 60 seconds.” 2) Has a secondary CTA “Or, take a quick tour.”

Reassure to get clicks. Decrease your prospective customer’s anxiety by giving them a reason to not be concerned. This can be written smaller in or under the CTA. The above button is an extraordinary example of this.

3 steps to writing a Call-to-Action

This is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve seen written about CTAs. You must communicate three things before the visitor will click (from ToppingTwo):

  1. Visitors must have the information they require before clicking your CTA.
  2. Visitors must be able to easily acquire your CTA.
  3. Visitors must desire whatever is on the other side of your CTA.

The secret to triple digit Call-to-Action gains

This is essentially the science or thought-process to create high gains without a lot of case studies. I may post a part II to this call-to-action series — with more studies. Click RSS or Email to get updated instantly when it gets published.

More resources:

How Moving the Call-to-Action below the Fold Generated a 304% Lift in Conversions

‘Try demo’ or ‘Buy now’: A/B testing finds which button increased clickthroughs by 47%

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2 thoughts on “The Science Behind the Best Converting Call-To-Action Buttons

  1. This post was so helpful, like all of the other posts 🙂

    You should definitely publish these golden nuggets more frequently!

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