Marketing talking heads love to spout out call-to-action best practices:
- Keep it easy to find
- Put it above the fold
- Make it a big button
But all of these “rules” miss a fundamental shift in the way we need to be thinking about CTAs. There’s something wrong with the word “call-to-action” that focuses us (as marketers) on ourselves and not on the needs of our customers.
This manner of thinking treats the audience as if they’re a mass of mindless peons, just waiting for us to command them what to do next.
Simply put, I think a call-to-action should be an act of customer service.
It’s not because of some abstract ethical construct I made up. It’s because it works. It increases marketing performance.
Here are five call-to-action examples that worked because they were helpful and focused on serving the customer:
Call-to-Action Example #1
125% Increase: Don’t state a command; help foster a conclusion in the customer’s mind
Call-to-Action Example #2
120% Increase: Don’t make customers request more information; help them understand next steps*
*Note also the change in the visual nature of the CTA. It was moved into a tab in the main content. Again this emphasizes that the essence of “the ask” is to provide information, not “call to action.”
Call-to-Action Example #3
2,793% Increase: Don’t just show a button; provide an on or off switch
Call-to-Action Example #4
263% Increase: Don’t make customers fill out a quote form; give them an instant quote tool
Call-to-Action Example #5
74% Increase: Don’t just show customers links; give them a configurator to select what they want
Effective calls-to-action are not focused on calling people to action.
And they are certainly not effective due to a set of best-practices.
Effective calls-to-action are effective because a marketer somewhere put some creative thinking into solving the problem of how to best serve a set of customers. Until we can put our creative energy behind that objective, our CTAs will always underperform.
You might also like…
Why Subtle Changes in Button Copy Can Significantly Influence Clicks [More from the blogs]
5 Traits the Best Calls-to-action All Share in Common [More from the blogs]
CTA Optimization: Button copy test increases click rate 95% [More from the blogs]
A/B Testing: Optimizing calls-to-action for maximum conversions [MarketingSherpa video archive]