5 Reasons Your Call to Action Button is Being Ignored

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

If your call to action button isn’t generating the clicks you had hoped it would, you may be guilty of one of these simple oversights.

It’s all about the click. It’s what generates leads, drives conversions—and ultimately helps your business. That click rests on the power of your call to action button, a relatively small space that can pack a big a punch.

Marketers often struggle with the design of the call to action button, knowing its potential to generate valuable leads. If your call to action button isn’t generating the clicks you had hoped it would, you may be guilty of one of these simple oversights.

You’re not designing for the eye.

The call to action button should stand out. That sounds like an obvious statement, but many websites are guilty of not using simple design tactics that draw the eye and convince people to click.

Color—and Contrast: There is no one-size-fits-all color for CTA buttons. Many articles have cited red as the go-to color, while others have said that dissuades clicks; this manner of thinking is actually the wrong way to design the space. The key in choosing color is to make sure it contrasts with the rest of the page.

This concept is not new to “neuromarketers” such as Patrick Renvoise, who penned the book Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer's Brain. In it, he says—quite simply—“a sharp contrast is often needed to help [the brain] make a decision,” thanks to our “old brain” that relies on simple visual cues for survival.

Visual Effects and Elements: That statement also goes for the space surrounding the button, which should be white. White space sets the button apart from other elements on the page so that users are more likely to see it.

Related: 10 Online Marketing Trends

Other visual effects and cues, such as highlighted arrows, 3D effects and shadowing, are also great tools to subtly persuade visitors to click.

Make It Big: Size correlates to importance. The CTA should be larger than other, less important elements on the page.

If more than one CTA is on the page, choose which is the most important and scale that particular button to be slightly larger than the others.

Your copy isn’t enticing.

Many marketers focus on the design of the call to action button, proclaiming that “no one actually reads the copy!” But that’s not true at all, as the copy is one of the most important aspects of a CTA.

Use First Person: According to a case study performed by Michael Aagaard of ContentVerve, using first person (“my”) versus second person (“your”) improved the click-through rate by 90%.

So when writing the copy, try to visualize what you want the visitor to “say” when they reach your page, and use their voice.

Lead With Verbs: Verbs are the strongest of all word classes. They can be hard-hitting, persuasive tools that help users make the decision to click.

Begin phrases with words like “try,” “learn,” or “save.” One verb to avoid, however? “Click.”

Don't Flourish: Adverbs and adjectives can be fun to use, but they don’t have a place in CTA copy. Using them too much is akin to trying too hard.

Short and Sweet: The copy should stay as short as possible, such as one to two sentences. If you can’t sum it up in a shorter space than that—see mistake No. 3!

You’re overcomplicating the page.

If a consumer has to hunt around the page for the call to action button—or if he or she isn’t too sure what is clickable—the page is just too busy. There should be very few elements on the page besides the CTA so that the visitor doesn’t get distracted.

Related: Best Practices for Small Business Web Design

Adding too much to one page can also mean too many offers on the table. Again, our brains are hardwired for simplicity; when there are too many choices, the user may end picking none instead of making a more complicated decision.

You’re not being clear in what you’re offering.

Eliminate “click fear”—a user’s feeling of the unknown, which deters them from clicking in the first place—by clearly explaining what it is that the visitor will get in exchange for their information.

They need to know what exactly you’ll do with their information and why you’re asking for it in the first place. So you can tell them you won’t contact them or share their information—all they want is to know what they’re getting.

Related: PPC Landing Pages: Click to Conversion in 5 Seconds or Less

If you’re trying to get someone to download your research report in exchange for his or her contact information, for example, don’t start talking about your membership plans or free ebooks.

You’re asking too much for too little in return.

Communicate the value of your offer, which should have no risk associated with it, as the benefits should far outweigh risk of entering information.

Why not start a free membership if all they want is my email? Why not get a free whitepaper? To reduce the apparent risk, keep the form as short as possible and don’t ask for unnecessary information.

A successful call to action button boils down to a few key areas: design, intention, and copy. Steer clear of these simple mistakes and your CTA buttons will start to receive those sought-after clicks.

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