Ahh the call to action.
Are you using it in your marketing? If you’re not, you should be.
It’s a lot more than just about a button or link at the bottom of your email or sales page that asks people to do something. Sure, technically, that’s what a call to action is – literally an ask for a reader to do something specific.
The problem is, many marketers don’t pay too much attention to the “why” behind the call to action, and instead just slap one at the bottom of their message and call it a day. The “why” can be the difference between the best call to action, and a mediocre one.
But, as we know, the “why” is always important. So let’s take a look at it.
The Psychology of the Call to Action
When it comes to reveal marketing, we’re all about the psychology behind why the consumer takes action and engages. So, it shouldn’t come as a shock that many of the same principles apply when it comes to the call to action.
In fact, over at KissMetrics, there is a post that does a nice deep dive into the four main components that make up the overall psychology behind the call to action. Here they are:
- The perceptual set theory finds that humans expect things in a logical order that “shapes expectations and powers motivation,” thus driving people to realize that logically, there should be a call to action
- Curiosity is also a factor here. If you remember what George Loewenstein, the Carnegie Mellon professor who studies curiosity, said it’s really the combination of satisfaction and arousal that drives someone to take action
- Anticipation is also at play, as humans, we’re just wired to anticipate things, especially positive outcomes and experiences, thus triggering those pleasure zones before we even get to the actual event
- Finally, the call to action triggers classic conditioning (think Pavlov’s Dogs) in people, we know that if we click that link or button at the end of the message, we’ll be rewarded with something special
Starting to get the picture?
The best calls to action are those that play into human psychology and nature, triggering all those deep actions that really make us just want to click.
Call to Action Best Practices
Now that you’ve got the “why” behind the call to action, it’s important to keep a few best practices in mind. Getting those higher conversion rates takes more than simply asking someone to click.
Nail the Copy
First, make sure you’re using the right copy. Sure, if you write “click here” some people will just click here. But to really get results, work on the copy. Tell a compelling story. Entice emotion. Make them feel like if they don’t click they are going to completely miss out.
Understand (and Test) Design
Next, consider your design. Now, in some instances, all you can do is use a hyperlink, but when you can have a call to action button, use it. And, think about how it looks to your readers. Test the color, shape, and size in order to make it stand out. If your CTA is too busy, you’re going to lose conversions no matter how perfect your product or service.
Make it Clear From the Start
Also, make it clear. Remember, even something as simple as asking someone to click a button is part of a transaction. You want to make it quite clear to your potential “clicker” exactly what they are going to get out of this future relationship, providing them with the info up front.
Make it Easy to Say Yes
Finally, remove any risk on the part of your reader. Even if you manage to nail all of those psychological factors before you get to the call to action, there will virtually always be skepticism. Remove that by taking the risk factor out of the equation. Let them know if there is a free trial, or no obligations to buy.
Once you start taking a bit of a dive into calls to action, you’ll quickly see there is quite a bit that actually goes into them. Yet, most marketers are barely scratching the surface. When you work to up your game, it won’t be long before those conversions will start seeing an increase as well.