Amidst all the hype and hoopla of modern content marketing, SEO, and other methods of traffic acquisition, it can be easy to overlook the tried and tested traditional aspects of the art of sales. It’s often the ‘call to action’ that makes all the difference in converting a prospect into a customer, occupying the final step in a web site’s conversion funnel. A strong call to action (CTA) can be a powerful feature, while a weak one can be a waste of all the work that’s gone into attracting a visitor to your site. So how should you approach this vital part of the sales process?
Using Split Testing
Split testing is common practice in both online and offline marketing. Simply put, this means implementing two (or more) different versions of a marketing element and seeing which one performs best. CTAs are prime targets for this approach, as even small alterations can have dramatic effects, and not always in ways that tally with expectations. A typical CTA is also a fairly compact and self-contained page element, with only a limited number of things that can be changed, making side by side comparisons fairly easy to carry out.
Some CTA Variables to Test
– The Text Content
This is the most direct element of your CTA, as it is essentially telling your visitors why they should click on the button. It tells your potential customer what you want them to do, and, ideally, gives them a persuasive indication of how they’ll benefit from doing so. The opportunities for creative testing abound here: should you be direct or suggestive? Commanding or subtle? Humorous / clever or play it straight?
The psychology of colour is an intriguing field in itself, but for our CTA purposes it can be simplified down to a simple point: which colour attracts the most clicks? This is an easy variable to measure, and although you should bear conventional wisdom in mind – for example, red and orange is a universal STOP! sign – don’t be afraid to try different ideas out; the results may surprise you.
– CTA Element Size
Bigger is better, right? Usually, but not always. Going over the top with size can come across as too upfront, even ‘spammy’, and so try a range of sizes to settle on a happy medium that grabs attention without over-egging the pudding.
There are plenty more variables you can test in your efforts to find the perfect CTA, from placement on the page to accompanying graphics and logos, but always remember the golden rule of split testing: decide exactly what you want to achieve and how you’ll measure success, and then dispassionately home in on the variation that works the best, even if it goes against your pre-conceived ideas.