By Josh Ledgard
How do you get visitors to do what you want them to do? With hypnosis, of course! But besides dangling a swinging watch, there is one surefire way to increase engage and that’s with a killer call to action.
So, what is a call to action? It’s a word or phrase that prompts the reader to some action, like signing up for your newsletter or joining your contest.
But take note: not all calls to action are created equal.
For example, we’ve all come across the word “submit” on email forms. While it is a phrase that prompts the reader to act, the word “submit” holds the distinction as pretty much the worst call to action ever created. Who wants to be submissive, even in the form of email?
Some calls to action are so compelling that readers can’t help but click. Imagine teetering back and forth over whether you should buy a certain app, and then getting to the bottom of the features page and reading a call to action that says, “Sign up for your free trial now.” That seven-word phrase can put your mind at ease and make you feel great about the brand. Of course you’ll sign up for that risk-free trial!
Let’s take a look at some the most successful calls to action ever created (and how you can use them in your own blogs and campaigns.
By the way, we’ve compiled an awesome list of free resources to go along with this article. Download your free copy now
Is it simple? Yes. But does it get the job done? Absolutely. “Sign up” is an oldie, but goodie. It insinuates an exclusive membership which can motivate people to subscribe and see what’s behind the closed door.
The best way to transform a simple phrase into an effective call to action is through positioning. Your call to action should be the logical answer to the problem that the visitor is facing. For example, on IFTTT, the overwhelming problem is having too many disconnected apps. IFTTT promises to connect all of those apps. Don’t you want that? Heck yes! So sign up.
The principle works the same whether you want people to sign up for your subscription or join your community. Always frame the call to action as the sought after solution to whatever problem brought your visitor to your site in the first place.
The word “free” is one of the best in the English language. If you want to get anyone’s attention, add “free” to the phrase. Free trial, pain-free, buy one get one free– there’s nothing quite as satisfying as thinking you’re getting something of value without having to pay for it.
If you’d like for your visitors to download your digital goods, create a compelling call to action with the word “free.”
Take note that in the above example, LastPass also encourages the visitor by framing its download offer as a no-brainer solution.
We’re totally biased, but we think this call to action is stellar. Bonus points to anyone who can figure out why. That’s right: the word “free” stands out here again. Also, this call to action reassures any tentative subscriber that they won’t have to worry about being locked out of their account after a trial period. The combination of free and forever removes risk for the user.
This call to action is great for those with a freemium or multi-tiered pricing model. Use this call to give off an impression of trust and dependability, which will inevitably grow your community.
While I do love a freemium model, limited trial offers are also wildly successful. Just ask Squarespace. The simple phrase “Get Started” prompts the visitor to act, but the biggest selling points are the two supporting sentences, “Free 14-day trial. No credit card required.”
With those two selling points, what’s the harm in taking a peek and seeing what all the buzz is about?
If you are interested in trying this call to action on your own blog or project, make sure that you reinforce what the subscriber gets in exchange for getting started with you. Market your proposition with a sentence or two.
There’s a lot of great variations of this call. For example, Sign up and get my free ebook. Everyone wants a free ebook, especially one that will save them time that would normally be spent searching Google for the answers. There’s something about the word “book” that enhances the value of your freebie.
This type of call to action is most often paired with an opt-in newsletter subscription. You want to grow your email list, they want to get your free asset– everyone wins.
Well, duh! Who doesn’t? And that’s the beauty of this call to action. When you click on this particular button, you know that you’re getting one step closer to boosting the traffic on your website.
You can mimic this call to action on your own site by tapping into the most sought-after desire of your site visitor. In this case, Quicksprout visitors want to boost their site traffic. What do your visitors want most? Maybe it’s to find and prepare easy meals. If that’s the case, try a call to action like, “Yes, I want easy-to-prepare meals!”
The magic phrase here is “Yes, I want…” and then you fill in the blanks.
One quick note: you’ll see many websites offering this type of CTA and changing the cancel button to something like, “No, I’m fine not getting traffic,” or “No, I don’t like easy cooking.” If you’re going to use these, be careful. You don’t want to come across as condescending and burn a bridge just because someone isn’t interested in your offer at that particular moment.
Sometimes you have a product that’s a head-scratcher. It may not be immediately obvious how the product works. If that’s the case, you should definitely include a “How it Works” call to action. Send your visitors to another, more detailed page, or even link to a popup video that walks them through the key features of your product.
“How it Works” promises the visitor that you’re going to answer all their questions (or at least most of them). If you can get them to click on that button, you should definitely follow it with a “sign up” or “download free” call to action on the next page.
Is it time for you to update any bland calls to action on your website? Any one of these highly successful action phrases would be a great addition to your site. You’ll see increased engagement, or your money back. (See what I did there?)
If you have any questions or comments, be sure to let us know.
Psst. Check out this awesome list of free resources to go along with this article. Download your free copy now