Calling All Consumers: Call to Action Design Tips for Online Marketing

Your online marketing usually has a goal in mind, something you want the consumer to do. You might want them to buy a product, take advantage of a discount, sign up for an event, or complete some other action. Once you decide what that action is, you need to invite consumers to complete it.

The button you use in your online marketing and on your landing pages is called the call to action, or CTA. It is one of the most important elements of your marketing because it tells the consumer what you want them to do. To that end, you should design a CTA that is visible and compelling. Here are a few tips to help you do just that. 

Make the CTA look like a button.

Believe it or not, people do not intuitively know to click on the spot on your landing page that encourages them to “Buy now!” You need to make the CTA's clickability clear by designing it to look like a button. Try some of these techniques:

  • Create a 3D effect.
  • Use shadowing around the edges of the button.
  • Use rounded edges.
  • Use a border to set the button apart from the rest of the page.

Use contrasting colors.

Since the CTA is the most important element of your landing page, it needs to stand out. Consumers need to find it immediately so they can click on it. 

To that end, create the CTA button with colors that contrast with the other colors on the page. Green and red have often been touted as the most effective colors for a CTA. The reality, however, is that the most effective color is the one that sets the CTA apart. 

Include ample white space in your CTA.

White space is an important element of website design. These areas of the web page that are not populated by text and images allow the images and text that you do have to stand out. As a result, it is easier for consumers to digest your messaging. 

CTAs, similarly, should include ample white space. A little bit of extra space around your text can make the button look more appealing, and easier to read. 

Begin your CTA with action words.

Your goal with the CTA is to get the consumer to act in a particular way. The words you use can determine whether you meet that goal or not. The best strategy is to use a powerful action word at the beginning of your call to action. Your first word should have the following characteristics:

  • Be an imperative
  • Encourage a specific action
  • Elicit emotion in the consumer
  • Be creative (i.e. instead of “Buy now,” try “Get your discount now,” or “Save money today.” 

Keep your CTA short and sweet.

A lot rides on your ability to use the CTA to convince the consumer to act in a particular way. At the same time, you need to keep your CTA short and sweet. In general, a length of no more than 5 words works best. Concision must mesh with clarity in your CTA in order to create a button that is eye-catching, appealing, and effective. 

Use numbers in your CTA.

Consumers respond to action words. They also respond to numbers. If you can include numerals in your call to action, you stand a better chance of winning the reader's support. Consider adding in prices, discounts, and other positive numbers to give consumers a specific idea of what they will gain by taking action. For example, instead of saying “Buy now,” you could say “Claim your 20 percent discount now.” 

Create a sense of urgency.

Consumers suffer from a fear of missing out (FOMO). Use this fear to your advantage in your online marketing by creating a sense of urgency. Use words like “quickly,” “limited,” or “today” to tell consumers that prompt action is required if they want to take advantage of your current offer. 

Make your CTA large (but not too large).

As mentioned above, your call to action needs to be visible to your website visitors. If consumers are using a mobile device, they may also need to easily click the button with their fingers. On the other hand, avoid creating a CTA that is too large. Excessive size can make consumers feel put off or anxious. The right size encourages and facilitates action while still creating an appealing look and feel. 

Place your CTA somewhere visible. 

In order for consumers to take action, they need to see what you want them to do. To that end, place your CTA front and center. Do note that your CTA does not have to be toward the top of your web page (i.e. “Above the fold”). Instead, place it where consumers can see it after they have had a chance to read all the information they need about your product or offer. At that point, they will be ready to act, and a CTA can encourage them to take the next step. 

Test, test, test.

The best way to determine which strategies, messages, colors, and placements work best for your online marketing is to test your CTAs. A/B testing is the practice of testing two elements of your online marketing at the same time. In this case, you would test two CTAs. The CTA that performs the best is the one you keep. You can then create a new CTA to test against that one. Eventually, you will discover the ideal CTA for your audience and your website. 

Calls to action are important elements of your online marketing because they tell the consumer what to do next. In order to create compelling CTAs, make sure that your design creates a button that looks clickable, delivers a compelling message, is easy to find, and is proven to work. 

Here at Distinct Web Design, we can help you to create effective CTAs, and an effective online marketing campaign. Allow us to use our expertise to improve your online presence and increase the effectiveness of your digital marketing.