We talk a lot at Auburn about “calls to action” and it’s justified because we’re in the business of helping our clients win new business and customers online.
There is a lot of satisfaction from making beautiful websites that work like a dream on desktop, tablet and mobile, but the thing that gets me going is when I can see the increase in sales, enquiries and calls that our clients get, and this requires “calls to action.”
Different levels of intent
We understand that the people who visit your website will have different levels of intent, just like in a department store, some just pop in for inspiration or to get and idea, others are comparing which product to will suit them, perhaps comparing benefits and features, while others see what they want and head straight for the checkout.
It’s not too different online, that’s why we believe it’s important to have calls to action to capture as many of the people that come onto your website whatever their intent. The key to success is to ensure that as many people as possible give you some form of contact details before they leave.
The researchers and idea searchers
For those researching or looking for ideas, offering them a free white paper or guide to ‘the best way to solve this or that problem’ can be enough. If you can help educate them on how to do something or provide a shortcut to lots of research time, then there is a good chance that they’ll exchange their email address to get this. Providing they have opted in for you to keep in contact with them, you can then start building your credibility through email marketing.
Those reviewing features and benefits
For the second group who know what solution they need, but they’re just not sure which or what features they need, or if your product has it, saving them time is a key factor. Video often works well here and a large amount of information can be conveyed quickly, or a product can be shown working, demonstrating its features.
But one of the most compelling calls to action for this type of visitor is to simply offer a free and instant call back. It’s so much easier speaking to an expert, who can confirm what the exact specification of the product is. A simple, ‘name and phone number’, with a call to action of “our product expert will call you straight away” is a great timesaver and creates that immediate connection.
Those who want to buy
The final group is the people who have strong intent to buy or get in touch. These are the people who know what they want so it’s important that you don’t get in their way. Easily accessible navigation, clearly identifiable buttons with easy to understand labels ‘order now’ or ‘get in contact’, along with short forms (research shows people hate filling in long contact forms) capturing name, email phone and message usually does the trick. Obviously having your phone number easily visible and accessible on all devices helps too, if the client wants to initiate a call.
There are many other calls to action too but in our experience you just need a number of different prompts to capture people with different levels of intent, this will ensure that you’ll get more of your visitors turning into customers.
Having said all that, some people don’t want to call but they may want to contact you. Good website design breaks down the number of barriers between someone visiting your website and then connecting with you.
I believe that you should give new visitors the opportunity to connect with your business on a number of levels. We’ve found the “Request a call back” often tempts people to get in touch as it takes out the cost and effort of calling.
Always ensure links are descriptive
People don’t read copy, they scan it, looking at headings and descriptive links that lead to the information they are looking for. Crafting good copy, with descriptive links helps users navigate around the site and means they get to where they want to be more quickly, improving user experience.
So it’s important to make links standout both visually and contexually. A massive mistake to make on a web page is to create an underline style to emphasise something that is not a link. An underline will tell users that there is more information to be found if you click here, so it should only ever be used to show a link. In the same way, highlighted words in blue also indicate there is a link, so it’s best to avoid this also.
Additionally, poor link labels hurt your search-engine ranking. Search engines use the anchor text as an additional cue to what the page or document is about. For example, one of our most linked to articles is Usability 101: Introduction to Usability. Other websites link to this article with various link text, such as Usability basics, Intro to Usability, and What is usability. Search engines use the anchor text from other sites to determine what queries to return this page for. This is why you don’t need to search for “Usability 101” to find this article.
Good Links Are Descriptive, Unique, and Start with Keywords
First, the most helpful link text describes the page that’s being linked to. When writing links ask yourself, “What will the user get when they click this link?” Mention that the link opens a PDF if that is the case. (Media format warnings don’t have to be part of the anchor text itself, but can be appended — for example in parentheses or as an icon.)