Should the call to action button be above or below the fold?

This is another question raised during our teleconference call on Wednesday.

We were looking at before and after versions of an offer page we had optimized. On both versions the “buy now” button appeared only at the end of the sales message, which was about two screens down from the top.

A participant on the call asked whether we might have achieved a higher conversion rate if the call to action button had been shown on the first screen.

There is something of a myth out there regarding what should appear on the first screen, or “above the fold”.

In other words, many web designers believe that you will get a higher conversion rate if your call to action button is above the fold, on the first screen.

Do not assume this to be a fact.

Our own research and testing indicates that this assumption is not true at all.

Also, take a look at some of the long, long sales pages online. Some of the most successful and best converting of these long-copy offer pages are maybe ten or twenty screens long…and the best of them do not include a “buy now” button until very low down on the page.

Why do they do that?

Because they know that while they might get more clicks with the button higher up on the page, they won’t get better conversions.

The ten screens of copy are specifically written to build a growing commitment to buy. Benefit after benefit is presented and repeated, with a view to deepening the commitment of the reader not only to click the “buy now” button, but also to complete the purchase process.

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We are not suggesting that every sales or offer page needs to be that long.

In some cases you need just one screen with which to communicate all the benefits of a product or service, and all the reasons to buy.

But sometimes it takes two screens to do that. And sometimes three or four.

The final answer to the question is that the call to action button should appear at the end of your sales text. And your sales text should be exactly as long as it takes to communicate your complete sales message.

In other words, a page should be as long as it needs to be in order to fulfill its purpose, and not a word longer. Then add the “buy now” button.

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