Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Call to Action Best Practices (including Buttons)

Call to Action Best Practices (including Buttons) : by Jason Li 2013 ©

Call to Actions (CTA) are really important...

In fact critical...

Whether it’s on a web page, sales letter, or email...

Get this wrong and sales conversions will be low...

Get good at it and your enquiries and sales conversions will allow your business to grow.

How else does Call to Action affect business?

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·         Call to Action affects how many enquiries you get.

·         Call to Action provides better qualified leads.

·         (It’s unusual – but yes, Call to Action) Reduces labour costs. You see, sales people spend lots of unprofitable time cold calling or visiting prospects at the very earliest stage of the sales cycle with no idea if the prospect is ready to go all the way to conclude by making an order; especially in business-to-business and complex sales. This means working with a prospect at the low interest/enquiry stage leads to low response rates and makes the business inefficient.

·         Call to Action brings forward interested buyers because they are not sold to. Buyers can sniff out a sales pitch all day long... because they get pitched all day long. But after reading your copy, prospects that contact you have decided they want to seriously consider working with you. Otherwise, why would a CEO of a business with legal, operational, human resource, turnover, logistics, product, brand, Inland Revenue issues, and so on make an enquiry?

·         Call to Action provides your sales people more productive time on working on seriously interested prospects.

·         A good Call to Action can determine whether a prospect makes an enquiry today or in 6 months. (However, you may need to provide an incentive to bring forward an enquiry.)

·         A good Call to Action motivates interested prospects to consider if they are ready to take action now (or very soon after assessing their own situation on the spot.)

Case study: Email Campaign business-to-business using Call to Action

I manage an email campaign to certain businesses. Many businesses that receive emails from this campaign usually have a professional gatekeeper (I call them pro gk’s – I imagine if they had goalie gloves they would be brilliant because nothing would get past them). Therefore by telephone the owners are always out of reach. (It’s like trying to contact Richard Branson you would think sometimes for some sales people due to well trained gk’s.)

As the email is genuinely targeted at business owners (or directors as a minimum decision making level), the emails have to be excellent in getting their attention and them to read it (and we can’t use Meercats because they don’t work for this campaign).

Criteria for success from the email campaign:

·         Business owners get 100s of emails... so they must be very interesting to get read... I can’t emphasis this enough.

·         Ensure owners see the value of the product and services.

·         To drip feed value over a series of emails.

·         Ensure the whole offer is of better value and differentiated from competitors.

·         The email is viral enough to get passed around.

·         Different decision makers see value in the email (this allows the buyers to assess the email content and if the products and services really are compelling enough for the board room to make it a priority).

·         Generate enquiries from serious prospects (The general buying and thinking process of buyers will be to go on the website, look at competitors, speak to friends – even the wife), and carry out internal investigations.

·         Get the company in front of decision makers at an early stage and build up a relationship... even if the prospective buyers already have long standing relationships or in a contract.

·         Be a means to build up a relationship with decision makers where cold calling and sales reps can’t due to little success leaving messages and voice mail with admin staff.

·         The sales staff earns more commission and have better holidays as they are spending time on closing not speculation.

·         Sales staff are travelling less miles and in better health as time is organised with serious buyers only... bordering on order taking as much as possible.

·         After all this... the call to action must draw out interested buyers to call this company, not another, and to call sooner rather than later.

So here are some Call to Action observations:

Due to writing direct response sales copywriting, and taking part in a number of marketing communications campaigns, I have gathered some interesting titbits of knowledge about Call to Actions which may be of interest (Please note your own A/B split tests can give different results):

WIIFM Value: Your Call to Action should answer why your prospect should take an action. Remember, humans are inherently selfish. Your Call to Action must answer “What’s in it for me?” better than any other competitor.

It’s easy to do: Even if your product or service is complicated. Simplify the starting process so that prospects can get up and running in a matter of seconds. (If you struggle, some tips are in the beginners guide book ‘The Goose Bump Effect’ in the top left above Services.

Urgency: Create a time limited offer. Such as 40% discount or a free matrix/chart worth £20 if you register by X date.

Bigger is better: Generally, if your Call to Action is larger than the surrounding copy and designs... your Call to Action has a better chance.

Easy navigation: Prospects who are interested will want to get going now. If they’re sat on the fence, making it so simple to start now will also help you persuade the ones who are just “so close to registering.”

Remind them what to expect: Ideas include: download a file, request information, add a product to shopping cart, subscribe to a newsletter, navigate the next page, download a trial, submit form, request a call back, register for prize draw, and so on.

Stong guarantee: Humans are risk averse because they don’t like change. We’re programmed to avert being hurt. A strong guarantee reduces this worry.

No links, ads or cluttered text (on web pages) next to the Call to Action: Humans cannot multi-task. Humans cannot focus on two complicated things simultaneously.

F-shaped Call to Actions: Humans start at the top left (in the Western world) and move the eyes to the right, then down a bit, then across again, and then down again. If your Call to Action can mimic this, if will catch the prospects eye.

Simple Products have Call to Actions above the fold: You can have the Call to Action right at the top if it is a very simple and universally known product. Many prospects won’t need to read the copy or look at the pictures to ‘get it.’

Complex products have Call to Actions delayed: The more complex and more you have to educate, add value and differentiate, the further down you should have your Call to Action. Putting your offer and what you want to be paid too early reduces your chances of success because prospects can’t understand how you are worth the value.

Colour: Orange or Red against a contrasting background can assist conversion rates. Red colours generate a feeling of aggression and increased heart rates. This is where marketing consumer psychologists will tell you that many people make decisions based on emotions. You can use red for strong actions such as ‘buy’ and soft actions such as ‘request contact’ (and use a blue colour for trust).

Copy: The wording makes a big difference to response rates. If you just have a simple ‘buy’, you are risking leaving this open to the 100% convinced only to buy this product, and from you, and right now to take action. Sometimes an 80% convinced prospect is ready to go to 100%, and your copy has to take them there.

Of course... if you’re just another HR payroll software, plumber, interior designer, or tax accountant who provides great service or other commodity out there, a Call to Action alone won’t help you too much.

Spend a bit of time improving the product so that you are more helpful (of value) and differentiated than other competitors, and your conversion rates will naturally improve.

My call to action to you: Share this with another person who likes business articles about sales conversions right now. 

Time to do this: only 30 seconds so start right now.

Karma points: plenty (and you’re friend might be delighted you thought of them too.)

Further reading:

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