Conversion Optimization: 3 keys to a successful call-to-action you can learn from childhood


As part of human nature, we love to press buttons. Just think of a second grader in an elevator. Guaranteed, they will push every button in that elevator if you let them because they do not understand the cause and effect. It’s fun.

Ironically, the same reason children push buttons is a reason your customers might avoid your call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Is there a clear effect for all of the CTA buttons on your site?

Some calls-to-action are vague and misleading, thus negatively impacting sales and sales leads. It’s a scary thought what a few syllables can do to your bottom line, right?

Well, it’s time to take action and improve your conversion funnel as we examine three keys to a successful CTA …


Key #1. Guidance

As I grew up, a fire drill during at school meant two things. One, it was a solid 10 to 15 minutes of school spent outside, playing tag with my friends. Two, we needed to stay in line, stay calm and follow the exit signs.

CTAs are very much the same. Granted, buttons don’t respond with the exclamation of “no tag-backs.”

So, how does this translate to your buttons? Well, CTAs should not only grab the user’s attention, but guide them to the following page. With the appropriate size, color and location(s) on the page, you can find the right fit for you with a few simple tests.

For example, in the below test, the call-to-action button “Continue” generated an 81% increase in clickthroughs over “Become a Member.”


Key #2. Information

Continuing with the theme of children, every parent has gone through the dreaded question of “Why?” Many parents compare this event with the cliché of a “broken record,” but why not turn that vinyl into an mp3 file and silence the “Why?”

Your CTAs should inform the user why they should move forward and complete the conversion. Will the customer be filling in their shipping details? Opening their wallet? Agreeing to a follow-up call with an account manager? Be clear with the customer. Honesty is the best policy, so let the user know what they will be getting themselves into – within good reason.

For example, in a test run on this very blog, a call-to action button the commands the reader to do something… 


… underperformed a CTA button that gave them the “Why” behind it. 


Why do you want to submit a comment? To join the conversation, and that button garnered 34% more comments.


Key #3. Anxiety relief

With the plethora of dangers we hear and experience each day, every parent needs a little reassurance every now and then.

Much like parenting, customers also require reassurance when it comes to their purchasing decision. Before you consider reaching for an incentive to increase conversion, consider relieving anxiety around the product.

For example, if your product or service requires credit card information, consider providing copy, inside or outside the button, supporting a secure payment. If your offering carries potential misconceptions of its credibility, promote a point of value to counteract that theory in the text. Reassure the user their decision to move forward is the correct choice.

For example, a button that says “Get More Information Now” is less anxiety inducing than a button that says “Contact Me.” After all, people rarely want a sales call. In a landing page test run by Sierra Tucson, the lower anxiety button was one of many anxiety relief factors that produced 220% more leads.

In summation, calls-to-action require much more than the infamous “Submit” button the Internet has been using since its inception. For success, you can increase sales and sales leads with just a few extra words of encouragement for the user.


Related Resources:

5 Common Call-to-action Errors

Email Optimization: A single word change results in a 90% lift in sign-ups

A/B Testing: 3 resources for copywriting and call-to-action optimization

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  1. Nicole says

    These are very useful tips for CTA. Thanks for sharing!

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