11 Powerful CTA Best Practices for a Higher Conversion Rate

Jul 25, 2022

Published by: Maddie Friedland
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Are you interested ipn optimizing your website but lack the time or resources to embark on a full-scale website makeover? Revamping your website’s call-to-action is an effective way to increase your conversion rate and sales with minimal effort required. 

Call-to-action (CTA) buttons are the buttons website visitors click that lead to a potential conversion. These actions give the consumer something valuable, such as a trial, promotion or newsletter in exchange for personal information like a credit card number, email address or other marketing collateral. 

And CTAs can serve a variety of purposes. Even if a visitor isn’t ready to make a purchase, a great CTA can capture their information to bring them a step closer to becoming a customer. 

Not sure where to start? Here are 11 impactful tips for creating a CTA that will increase conversions:

1. Your CTA needs to work

CTA’s are easy to overlook when writing copy for your website, but critically thinking about them can mean the difference between a conversion or a confused visitor. 

CTA’s are one of the most significant components of your website.

Understanding the importance of your CTAs and regularly reevaluating their effectiveness and placement can be the difference between business growth and stagnation. Within the customer journey, the conversion funnel serves as a trail, and each CTA is a sign, leading the way for your visitors to convert.  

To ensure your  CTA is working for you and not against you, use conversion rate optimization (CRO) tools like heatmaps and sessions to understand how your visitors interact with them. We say it repeatedly, but visitor-first CRO is critical for optimizing your website.

First, understanding how your visitors use your website and then making strategic changes will help. Lucky Orange Heatmaps show where visitors click, how far they scroll and what sections they read. Using this tool to evaluate if users are interested in your CTA is an effective way to understand if you need to make changes. 

2. Placement is everything 

The saying " location, location, location " doesn’t only apply to real estate. A compelling CTA will only be effective in a good location on your site. 

A common misconception is that your primary CTA must be at your page's center. A central location can be effective, but your CTA’s placement should mainly be determined based on the other elements of your site and visitor behavior. 

The best placement for a CTA is wherever your visitor has the highest chance of seeing it.

This requires you to consider the other page elements surrounding your CTA. Minimizing distractions around your CTA is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your conversion rate.

Ensuring your CTA placement is visible is also largely dependent on the effective fold of your webpage. The effective fold is the cut-off of how far visitors scroll down the page. Ideally, your primary CTA should always be above the effective fold so that the maximum number of visitors view it. 

A scroll heatmap shows you where your page's effective fold is and if your CTA is below the cut-off, moving it up is an easy and effective way to optimize your conversion rate. 

3. It all starts with getting the right people to your site

The success of a CTA is largely dependent on your website’s traffic. Are you bringing in enough qualified visitors (people who need your product or service) to increase the chance of conversions? Does your CTA align with what visitors expect to get from your site?

Your CTA’s performance relies on the quantity and quality of traffic passing through your site. Investing in SEO and marketing initiatives to outperform your competitors will drive conversions. 

The quality of leads is just as important as the number of visitors on your site. Your CTA won’t work if your visitors aren’t interested in your product or service. Evaluating your keywords and meta description will set your CTA up for success. 

4. Use the conversion funnel as a guide

A conversion funnel references the steps a consumer takes throughout their buying journey. As prospects enter the funnel and progress through the buying process, the number of potential customers lessens, ending with completed conversions. 

Having one CTA at the beginning or end of your funnel isn’t enough. Ideally, CTA’s should be strategically placed throughout the funnel, directing visitors to where they should go next. Traditionally, marketers recognize the conversion funnel to have four stages; awareness, interest, desire and action. Consider adding a CTA at multiple stages of the funnel where you think your leads could benefit from direction or a potential benefit.

At the top of the funnel, in the awareness stage, prospects are looking for information about your offering and haven’t become a lead yet. CTA’s in this stage should focus on fostering engagement and leading prospects to the next stage in the funnel. 

Examples of effective CTA’s for the awareness stage:

  • Subscribe now (to a newsletter or email list)

  • Learn more

  • Download for free (informational material like ebooks or whitepapers)

The middle of the funnel is when a prospect has interest in your product or service and is looking for more information before finally converting. CTA’s in this stage should be focused on providing specific information about the product features, educational resources or trials. 

Examples of effective CTA’s for the interest and desire stages:

  • Try free demo

  • Request a consultation

  • View case-studies

At the bottom of the funnel, in the action stage, prospects are ready to purchase or sign up for a product or service. An effective CTA in this stage directs leads to convert, spelling out exactly what they need to do in order to complete the sale. 

Examples of effective CTA’s for the action stage:

  • Get started

  • Shop now

  • Sign up

5. Start with a verb

Kick your CTA off with a strong verb. One of the main reasons a visitor might not convert is because the next step is unclear. Reduce confusion by making your CTA’s actionable. Don’t wait for them to figure it out, tell your visitor exactly what you want them to do. 

Even better, use a verb directly related to the type of conversion you want. If your customer wants to learn, use the phrase “learn more” or ”find out more.” If they want to buy a product, include the words “shop” or “buy.”

Using language that implies urgency is also a helpful CRO strategy. Fear of missing out is very real and can give your website visitors the push they need to convert. Without any urgency, leads can disappear. Adding a time-sensitive element to your CTA is an effective way to optimize. 

Some examples of CTA’s with strong verbs:

  • Buy now

  • Shop today

  • View offer 

  • Claim offer

  • Redeem savings

6.  Pair with a compelling headline

Pairing your CTA with a strong headline will allow you to keep your CTA short and straightforward, reducing confusion and strengthening your overall messaging. 

The best CTA’s are short and sweet, directing a consumer to take action without cluttering the page. Using a headline alongside your CTA gives you room for copy that provides extra context while not taking away from the main objective.  If your CTA requires a high level of commitment from your customer, using a headline with a clear and compelling value proposition will build up that extra layer of trust they might need to convert. 

7. Know what drives your audience to make a purchase

If there is one thing you take away from this article, it should be about the importance of knowing your audience. An effective CTA speaks to who your website visitors are. Understanding what your audience needs and then providing that in a way they recognize is a crucial function of a CTA.

Evaluating your visitor's behavior on your website is vital. Watching sessions will show you where your audience is drawn to, what website sections they are interested in and what action they are hoping to take. 

Using customer feedback tools to evaluate their satisfaction can also tell you if your CTA is meeting their needs or if you need to adjust it. 

8. Eliminate the perceived risk

Visitors weigh risk before converting anytime they purchase or sign up for a service. CTA’s that eliminate the perception of risk help customers feel better about committing.

Providing a free trial or an easy return policy eliminates the risk for customers. Mentioning those options in the CTA will give your visitors peace of mind and increase their chances of completing the desired action.

Including social proof points in your CTA or headline reinforces your brand's legitimacy and helps alleviate risk in the customer's mind. When someone learns thousands of people are using a software or that an influencer recommended it, it serves as social proof that the product is trustworthy. Consumers are much more likely to trust products that the people around them use. 

9. Include a secondary CTA

A common CRO misconception is that each page should only have one CTA to not distract from a conversion. In reality, having a primary and secondary CTA can be effective in specific situations. 

The two main circumstances where using two CTA’s is recommended is when the primary CTA is a big ask or when your audience is in different stages of the funnel. 

If your primary CTA requires a high commitment for the prospect, having a secondary CTA with a lower level of commitment can capture leads you otherwise might have missed out on.  For example, if your primary CTA is for someone to buy software, an effective secondary CTA could be to download an ebook or sign up for a newsletter.  

That being said, if you’re considering using a secondary CTA, it is essential to constantly test the performance of both to ensure that including the second one isn’t cannibalizing conversions. Follow the people who convert through your secondary CTA. Are they turning into full customers at a high enough rate to support keeping the secondary CTA? 

10. Position your CTA in multiple places

A good call-to-action is one that is located wherever the visitor is looking. Therefore, having the same CTA button in different spots on the same page is important. As the visitor scrolls down, you want to give them an equal opportunity to convert.

Placing the same CTA in multiple places ensures that once website visitor reads the information they need, they don’t have to look far to take the next step. Each placement can even look different depending on its surroundings. A CTA in the body of a blog post may look quite different than one in a top navigation bar or as part of a sidebar layout. As long as it’s clear providing the same offer across all placements (to avoid overwhelming visitors), you will give people more opportunities to convert.

11. Provide immediate and obvious value

Today’s consumers expect immediate value when making a purchase online. Same-day shipping and instant online resources have increased the expectation of instant gratification for e-commerce customers. Providing incentives or speeding up the buying process is an effective way for CTA’s to meet consumers' high expectations.

Offering a promotion in your call-to-action creates a sense of urgency while providing the consumer with added value for completing the desired action. If your customer is on the fence about purchasing your product, a promotion would likely create added value for the customer and push them to convert instead of bouncing from your site. 

Trials are also an effective way to communicate value to a buyer through a CTA. They know that if they click the button, they will immediately be rewarded with something free. That instant gratification makes consumers feel like they are getting something in return for completing the form or providing personal information. 

It’s estimated that 70% of small business B2B websites lack a call to action button. With a strong CTA that creates a sense of urgency and appeals to your target audience, you can increase your conversion rate while separating your website from your competition. 

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