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The One Simple Secret to Calls to Action that Convert

calls to action

There’s no shortage of blog posts or checklists spouting off tips for better calls to action. If indicate a sense of urgency, keep it short and simple, or start with a command sound familiar, then you’ve probably been reading them. And while these are great tips, there’s one big, overarching rule that often gets overlooked when it comes to creating an effective, persuasive call to action.

Your call to action copy can make the difference between a bounce and a conversion. Think back to some of the calls to action that you may have seen recently. Many of them were probably variations of “Download Now” or “Buy Now,” weren’t they? Sure, these calls to action do a great job of indicating a sense of urgency by including both a command and a time frame, but where is the value proposition? Why should consumers download your content? Why should they purchase your product?

The value proposition is often the hardest part of the call-to-action formula. Calls to action are short by definition, which means that you have a limited number of words and characters with which to get your value proposition across. If you find yourself struggling with this part of your call to action development, then use this one question to help guide your efforts:

Is your call to action telling consumers what to do, or is it telling them what they’re going to get?

Allow me to explain.

Crafting Your Call to Action

What’s the difference between a call to action that says “Download Now” and one that says “Get Your Free White Paper”?

The first one is telling a site visitor what to do, while the latter tells them what they’re going to get if they click (read: value). Now ask yourself which one you would find the most persuasive. Chances are, you’d pick the one that’s telling you what you’ll get. Most people do.

Unbounce wrote a great article a few months ago that goes through several case studies demonstrating this point. In each case, the call to action that requests an action performs significantly worse in testing than the call to action that indicates the value of what consumers will get by clicking. Some examples that they cite are: using “Get Free Quote” instead of “Submit” at the bottom of a form, substituting “Get Information” for “Order Information,” or even just saying “View Free White Paper” instead of “Download White Paper.”

Let’s face it, nobody likes to be bossed around, and they really don’t like being told what to do — two important things to keep in mind when you’re crafting your next call to action. So when you put pen to paper (or these days, hit the keys on your keyboard) to start jotting down call to action ideas, remember to consider the following three things:

1. Your prospect or consumer’s motivations for clicking
2. What they will get by clicking
3. The value of the item or service they will receive by clicking

So the next time you feel tempted to throw a “Download Now” button onto your site, think twice about the conversions you could be losing with such generic call to action copy. This is your chance to get creative — good luck!