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The 20 CTA Do's and Don'ts to Live By (Part 1 of 2)

Posted by Rick Lambert on Wed, May 22, 2013

The 20 CTA Dos and Donts to Live By Part 1 of 2

When you can’t see all your customers and clients you have to make sure to put in a little extra effort to give them an incentive to choose you over your competitors.  Many, if not most, company’s interactions with their clients are conducted on a remote basis.  Due to phones, emails or simply because of your website, the personal face-to-face customer relations marketing strategy has gone the way of the Dodo bird. 

Call-to-action (CTAs) are the dynamic way to engage with your potential lead.  CTAs have many forms – text links, images, buttons, etc – and they each encourage browsers to become more involved.  The range of action can include registering for an event, to downloading content, to preparing the visitor for an eventual sale.  In short, CTAs take the place of in-person consultations and product test-drives and has the potential to generate excellent results.

That being said, not all CTAs are effective and, if executed incorrectly, can lead to some very disappointing results.  Below is a checklist of Do's and Don’ts for your CTAs that should have any website spruced up in no time. 

1) Don't make your customers anxious with official-sounding words.

Official sounding words that most often appear in the pages of contracts that ask you to sign your first-born away are not the types of phrases you want to use to encourage your customer to click on your CTA.  Get them excited for the action they are taking with words like “Download Now”, “Get Your Free Trial”, “Speak to an Expert”, or “Buy Now”.

2) Don't play hide-and-seek with your CTAs.

What is the point of having a CTA if no one can find it?  Your CTA should be prominently featured in an appropriate location otherwise it’s just a waste of html code.

3) Don't have wallflower CTAs.

In the same vein as not hiding your CTAs, make sure that they stand out as different in some way from all of the other content on your page.  If people have to hunt around for something, they will get bored or frustrated and move on to another company that gives them easier access to what they want.

4) Don't have CTAs that you need a magnifying glass to find.

Ever heard of the expression: go big or go home?  It holds true for CTAs too, but just remember that it is possible to be too prominent.  Have an appropriate size CTA that is slightly larger than the rest of your page content, but not so big that it looks like you are pushing the sale.

5) Don't have lackluster designs and boring CTAs.

No one wants to put effort into something that is dreary.  The more exciting and dynamic your CTA is the more likely people are to get excited about it.

6) Don't misuse your CTAs

Placement is key in the success of your CTA.  Put it in the wrong place and no one will find it.  Use it at the wrong time and no one will click it. It’s a fine balance, but it can be achieved from knowing your target audience and when and where they would be most likely to respond to a CTA.

7) Don't drown your CTA in words

Some things are better left unsaid and when it comes to a CTA that could not be truer.  All that is required from a CTA is a direct, specific instruction to a visitor that they either will or will not respond to. This is not the time or place for coaching, advice, or congratulations.

8) Don't use rhetoric

Jargon and witty banter is great for every day conversations but keep it short and sweet when it comes to your CTA.  Only use words that convey action and progress.

9) Don't make promises you can’t keep

Nobody likes false advertising.  People are immediately distrustful if it sounds too good to be true, so keep your goals realistic and the benefits attainable.

10) Don't circle your CTA back home

CTAs are implying an action unto themselves and therefore they deserve their own page.  It only causes confusion for the visitor when they take action only to be sent right back to the starting point.

Stay tuned for the next 10 in our post "The 10 CTA Do's and Don'ts Part 2" 

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Topics: digital marketing, Toronto Inbound Marketing Agency, buyer personas, Inbound marketing, sales funnel, call to action, CTA

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