Several days ago my friend and I were looking for a coffee shop in our neighborhood. It was after 5 pm on a hot, humid night, so we conducted a quick Google search – to avoid sweating through our clothes on a long walk – only to arrive in front of a sign that read “Closed”.
Our original search for local coffee shops yielded “Drip Shop” (for anonymity’s sake), which had a slick website, but their hours weren’t listed. So when we looked for an alternative and found a comparable place (let’s call it “Café Éclat”), whose hours were clearly listed at the top of the homepage, it was the obvious next stop.
Creating an Effective Call to Action
When someone visits your company website, they’re curious about you. But since you might have as little as 10 seconds to grab their attention, you need get them on board quickly. It’s your job to show them the way with a clear and direct call to action.
Café Éclat understood its call to action: to get people to view business hours so they’d stop by. All too often, small businesses make Drip Shop’s mistake — the call to action is vague, hidden, or simply not there. This marketing oversight could cost you thousands of potential customers or users who don’t sign up or visit your store. Not for lack of interest, but because you’re not clearly telling them where to go. So why not tell them?!
Here are five steps to create a simple and clear call to action for your company website.
1. Identify what you want visitors to do.
The nature of your call to action depends on your business and how you want to engage users. Are you a restaurant? Your call to action should invite people to dine at your establishment, by calling or making a reservation online. Social media startup? Encourage them to sign up for an account. Freelance web designer? Guide them towards your portfolio, or to contact you for a quote. The first step towards converting a visitor to a customer or user is your call to action.
2. Support your call to action with effective copy and design.
Once you’ve identified your call to action, make sure the surrounding copy and design gives visitors a reason to act. What are you providing? How is it special? Why should they care enough to click “Sign up!” or “Contact us”?
If you don’t have one already, a simple headline that summarizes what you do is a very useful tool. It’s the North Star of your page, a reference point that orients visitors as they navigate content. Use straightforward and positive language so that visitors think, “This sounds great, How do I get it?” Then: boom! Your call to action is right there, ready to show them the way.
3. Tell visitors precisely what action to take.
Once someone is interested, they need to know how to “act”. Don’t be afraid of sounding too direct or pushy. Direct commands that would seem overly aggressive in a conversation – “Get your free account now!” or “Start shopping!” – actually add much-needed clarity on a company website. If someone wants your product, telling them how to get it is helpful.