In the process of designing the perfect website we often get distracted by aesthetic elements.

We forget the technical aspects of a successful page.

Because of this selective forgetfulness, your SEO and marketing can get lost in the colors, font, and topography. It’s not just the overall look that matters, it’s the user-friendliness and the path to conversion.

A CTA, or Call-to-Action, is an important piece of the puzzle that’s necessary not only in providing a friendly user-experience but in driving conversions and future business success.

CALL-TO-ACTION: WHAT IS IT? Call Now sticky note

We’ve all heard of it, but sometimes it’s good to have a refresher.

A Call-to-Action can be a button or a link strategically placed on your site that leads potential customers to specific landing pages where they can perform a buying action (whether a purchase, a phone call, email, contact form, etc.).

A CTA can come in two forms: buttons and anchor texts. The wording can vary from “Call Now,” “Get a Free Consultation,” or “Make an appointment” – the list is endless.

Each CTA can be customized to meet your business goals.

But it’s not just about simply including CTAs on your website, it’s also important to consider where you place them. A study on logo optimization states that Call-to-Action button placement is crucial toward user experience and therefore in generating conversions. If you want more sales, proper CTA placement plays a critical role.

But, before you can place your CTA, you’ll have to pick what type of CTA you want. Choosing the type of Call-to-Action is the first step in creating the optimal CTA for your site.

TYPES OF CALL-TO-ACTIONS

Of course, where you put a Call-to-Action depends upon your goals. Because every business is different, you’ll have to determine what type of CTA you should use. This calls for attentive evaluation of the two kinds of CTA techniques you can use: soft CTAs and hard CTAs.

  • Soft CTAs: Soft CTAs serve as more of a helpful guide, commonly used in SEO-focused and informational pages where the main goal is to further educate your customer about your products and services, while simultaneously guiding them to what they want. Because soft CTAs are more often integrated in pages with longer content, this often involves strategic internal linking, an already-important aspect in SEO. Internal linking is important because:
    • It serves as a path through your site for better user experience.
    • It serves as a guide to conversion by way of a CTA, peppered throughout your content rather than in more blatant call-outs (such as a hard CTA).
  • Hard CTAs: Hard CTAs focus on more immediate conversions and involve a clear and concise button or call-out. When placing a hard CTA, it’s recommended you place it above-the-fold. Why? 
    • There’s about an 80%/20% split of our attention when it comes to above-or-below-the-fold content, as most people’s attention span tends to fade the further they scroll down the page. That’s why you want to place a CTA where and when you still have their attention.
    • Hard CTAs are usually incorporated in pages where there is less content because the goal is to grab attention as quickly as possible and lead to a more immediate conversion. This is more of a hardball approach (bad pun intended… sorry).

But what looks good and what looks bad?

The good Call to Action:

 

 

 

 

And, then there’s the not so good one:

 

 

 

The Scrolling CTA

While soft CTAs and hard CTAs are two different approaches in deciding CTA placement, there is another technique you can utilize, called a scrolling Call-to-Action. This shouldn’t be ignored.

A scrolling CTA is a form or button that follows the visitor as they scroll down the page, giving them the opportunity to click and convert at any time, without having to scroll back up or down to find a conversion point.

 

 

This is an effective way to increase your conversion rate, and Google’s algorithm won’t penalize you because scrolling CTAs are perfectly safe and trustworthy. As long as your site meets Google’s standards in all other aspects and the scrolling CTA does not slow down your page responsiveness, scrolling CTAs provide a subtle nudge to your visitors that’s not as aggressive as a pop up ad. This makes a scrolling Call-to-Action a solution that you should include when when planning your site.

Evaluating your goals and content type is essential in making an informed decision regarding which type of Call-to-Action to use. Once you choose a hard or soft CTA, the next move is choosing where in the content or on the page to place them, or even keeping the CTA present on the entire page like a scrolling CTA. Just like in selling or buying a house, location is key.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

If your goals match the use of a soft CTA, start dissecting your content to see where you can spread out subtle Call-to-Actions matching your strategic goals. Don’t forget that most of the time, soft CTAs make more sense below-the-fold. This will involve providing quality, well laid-out content to keep your visitors invested enough to reach your CTAs. If they get bored, it renders your Call-to-Action virtually useless.

If in contrast, your goals match the use of a hard CTA, a clearly defined button is advisable. With hard CTAs, it’s especially important to include them above-the-fold for a better user experience and more conversions. Placing it on the right side of the page has been said to be the most optimal, but this can vary according to the design of your website.

In determining whether you have taken the best course of action in CTA placement, it is a good idea to track your conversions by the number of clicks and/or form entries from your Call-to-Actions. This will allow you to see the flaws in your CTAs and adjust accordingly.

Considering all this, it would be a big mistake to forget your mobile site when incorporating Call-to-Actions.

IT’S A MOBILE WORLD  Man on a phone

When everyone seems to be walking around with iPhones and Androids in their faces, it is imperative to apply and optimize your CTAs for your mobile site as well. Of course, this includes making sure your mobile site is optimized in the first place.

Mobile sites are all about convenience and ease. A visitor doesn’t want to be forced to scroll around forever to find what they want –  that can be frustrating and result in a bounce. Mobile use should be quick and easy, as should access to Call-to-Actions. Even though we’ve all become used to endlessly scrolling through poorly-built sites, you don’t want that poorly-built site to be yours.

Placing the CTA in an easy-to-reach, visible place is pivotal, as there is a demonstrated preference (that almost everyone can agree on) to click on content or links higher up on the page—or above-the-fold as previously stated.

However, this is even more important on a mobile device. According to a study by Mediative using eye-tracking technology:

“Mobile devices have habitually conditioned searchers to scan vertically more than horizontally. Searchers are looking for the fastest path to the desired content.”

The fastest path. This also rings true for desktop sites. Understanding the wants and needs of users in relation to your business should determine your placement of CTAs.

UNDERSTANDING CRO: CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION

Understanding the wants and needs of your users by utilizing effective CTAs goes hand-in-hand with CRO, or conversion rate optimization. CRO involves evaluating user experience and optimizing your website to increase conversions.

Above all, CRO is a marketing process, not just a practice. You’re trying to get visitors to convert—either by calling a phone number, filling out a form or signing up for a service or newsletter. This can mean walking your visitors through a planned process to achieve the action you want them to take—converting. The difference in the SEO and CRO process is the purpose of the optimizations. SEO optimizations are aimed at search engines, while CRO optimizations are aimed at conversions. 

So what steps do you take in this process? There are three main ones:

  • Discovery: This step is all about accumulating information and data. It’s time consuming but necessary because it forms what testing you’ll do and how. You need to gather data—a lot of it. This data includes company aspects and goals, interpreting site data and set-up, and understanding your potential customers (this can also involve survey sites like Qualaroo). After gathering your data, make a hypothesis and set up (or check) the tracking code.
  • Testing: Testing is not possible without the discovery step, so don’t skip it. Testing allows you to identify the changes you need to make and how you need to make them for better conversions. Different tests you can perform include both Wireframe testing and A/B testing. Wireframes are the bare bones of your site, the structure underneath that determines navigation, layouts, interface, and functionality. Wireframe testing involves inviting a group of users in your desired demographic to explore your wireframes, providing valuable feedback on needed improvements. A/B testing on the other hand, is comparing two different versions of web pages to see which one is better than the other. CRO tools like Optimizely or VWO (Virtual Website Optimizer) can be especially helpful in performing targeted tests at high frequency.
  • Review: Now is the time to evaluate the sum total of your work. Was your hypothesis correct? Did you reach your goals? Did your tests increase conversions? These are all answers that need positive answers. If your answers are all yes, then it’s time implement the winning design.  If your answers are all no, keep the results and get back to testing, using the previous results to guide you. The trick is to keep at it!

You can’t place a perfect your CTAs without utilizing CRO. It’s time to take into account what your users are looking for and what they need to convert.

TYING IT ALL UP

When it’s all said and done, placement of CTAs all comes down to two aspects: your goals and user experience. That means always keeping CRO in mind; determining your CTAs should be a part of your CRO process. Defining your overall goals involves taking into account user experience, and user experience should determine the placement and incorporation of CTAs.

Without properly placed CTAs, your carefully planned campaign can fall short of reaching your goals and affect your ROI. That being said, it’s worth taking the time to carefully plan what type of Call-to-Actions you will use, where you will place them, and why.

Interested in a second look at your Call-to-Actions? We’d be happy to help, just send us a note and we’ll contact you!

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