Marketing talking heads love to spout out call-to-action best practices:
- Keep it easy to find
- Put it above the fold
- Make it a big button
But all of these “rules” miss a fundamental shift in the way we need to be thinking about CTAs. There’s something wrong with the word “call-to-action” that focuses us (as marketers) on ourselves and not on the needs of our customers.
This manner of thinking treats the audience as if they’re a mass of mindless peons, just waiting for us to command them what to do next.
Simply put, I think a call-to-action should be an act of customer service.
It’s not because of some abstract ethical construct I made up. It’s because it works. It increases marketing performance.
Here are five examples:
125% Increase: Don’t state a command; help foster a conclusion in the customer’s mind
120% Increase: Don’t make customers request more iInformation; help them understand next steps*
*Note also the change in the visual nature of the CTA. It was moved into a tab in the main content. Again this emphasizes that the essence of “the ask” is to provide information, not “call to action.”
2,793% Increase: Don’t just show a button; provide an on or off switch
263% Increase: Don’t make customers fill out a quote form; give them an instant quote tool
74% Increase: Don’t just show customers links; give them a configurator to select what they want
Effective calls-to-action are not focused on calling people to action.
And they are certainly not effective due to a set of best-practices.
Effective calls-to-action are effective because a marketer somewhere put some creative thinking into solving the problem of how to best serve a set of customers. Until we can put our creative energy behind that objective, our CTAs will always underperform.
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