After pouring sizable resources into the creation of a website—all the hours developing and collecting content, copy editing, graphic design, photo shoots, video production and dozens of design decisions—we launch our shinny new website and wait for the new business inquiries to roll in.
What if, however, new business doesn’t automatically flow from the mere launch of a new website. This is, after all, a common occurrence, and in most instances it’s because of one of the most overlooked aspects of web design: calls to action.
Websites with little to no calls to action are much like a sales professional who is great at getting meetings with prospective clients, but forgets to ask for the business. Calls to action are necessary, and thankfully an enjoyable process for website enhancement.
“Enjoyable?” you ask. Well, yes. To us it’s a chance to flex our creative muscles, to collaborate, and explore the psychology of online marketing strategies. It’s also an opportunity to give people permission to engage with our product or service. It’s the natural progression to all the hard work we’ve put into the development of our site, and most importantly, it’s what visitors are expecting.
Calls To Action Are a Natural Progression
If you have visitors on your website and you’re holding their attention for more than thirty seconds, then most likely they’re interested to some extent in what you have to offer. More importantly, you’ve put your heart and soul into the creation of your product or service, designing and perfecting your craft so that you have something valuable and perhaps even meaningful to offer. Why wouldn’t they want to try your product or service?
If someone says, “Two, four, six _____.” In your mind you will hear “eight.” So too with website marketing when we make a compelling case for a product or service that fills a need, sparks curiosity or builds anticipation—we want the next step in the process to be, how do I sign up, connect, download or purchase.
Where To Place Calls To Action
While there is a growing trend of placing well designed calls to action above the fold on the home page so that it’s the first thing visitors see, the most important criteria for placement is for it to fit within a logical flow of the content. That could mean at the end of a page, or in the middle of the page where there is a clean break in the flow of content, which also means that nearly every page on your website could contain at least one call to action.
While the presentation of a call to action at the top of the home page is a great way to entice further engagement, it may not work for every website, particularly where more of a story or visual landscape is required to build curiosity. For well-known brands, a first-time visitor to their site may already know something about them and an above-the-fold call to action will be more effective. For less known brands it’s more effective to first entice and build curiosity (at least a little) before introducing a call to action.
Good marketing websites will unfold a story (visually and in words) throughout the site and intersperse calls to actions at every opportunity while maintaining an intuitive flow.
Calls to action are mission critical for good website marketing. They are also expected as the natural progression from education and enticement to a request to take action. Calls to action should be placed on nearly every page of your website within a logical and intuitive flow of the content.
For more on calls to action, visit Call To Action Marketing Part II in which we've explored how storytelling is key to effective CTA’s, and then delved more into the psychology of CTA’s. In the meantime, take a quick assessment of your website and ask yourself if you’re taking advantage of every available point of transition to ask your visitors to take action.