Web Marketing Today

5 Places to Use your Calls-To-Action

Every business website should have a goal. Common goals are for visitors to buy something, fill out a form, download a document, or even just view a certain page — like driving directions or hours of operation. But before visitors can reach a goal, they must first learn that it exists.

Visitors typically find your goals through various bits of linked text, buttons, or images that attract their attention and urge them to click. These are “calls-to-action,” or CTAs.

For example, your CTA might be a “Request a Proposal and Quote” link that sends visitors to a form where they can request a price quote. Or you might have an “Add to Cart” button that allows visitors to select a product for purchase.

Unfortunately most website owners don’t take every opportunity to push their visitors toward their online goals. In many cases a website’s primary goal is only promoted with a single CTA in one location. Or even worse, it may only exist in the website’s primary navigation — like the “Contact Us” page often is.

This leads to lost opportunities.

There are a few places that you should remember to use a call-to-action to promote your website’s primary goal. Not all of them are actually on your website.

But first, let me address why you’re probably doing this wrong now.

A Common Mistake With Calls-to-Action

A common misconception is that visitors enter your website on your home page and finish their sessions on your website’s sub-pages or sections.

For example, say Bob owns a company that cleans carpets — “Bob’s Carpet Cleaning.” Bob’s primary website goal is for visitors to fill out his “Request a Quote” form. When Bob receives new quote requests via email on his smartphone, he calls each lead and often closes new appointments in just a few minutes.

Assume Bob’s website has a number of pages, including a home page, a quote page that includes the request form, a page describing his cleaning process, a page that tells his story as an entrepreneur, and a blog with about 25 articles that Bob has written about carpet cleaning.

His primary website goal, the Request a Quote page, is mentioned only on his home page. You can read all about Bob’s story or all about carpet cleaning on the other pages of the site, but you can’t instantly click to request a quote from those pages.

Adding calls-to-action on every page can increase conversions.

Adding calls-to-action on every page can increase conversions.

Like many websites these days, only about 20 percent of Bob’s new visitors land on his home page first. The other 80 percent come in through the search engines and social media citations that link directly to the sub-pages on his website.

Bob is currently receiving about 15 website leads through his Request a Quote form each month. His home page receives 100 visitors per month, but the rest of his website receives 400 visitors per month. Since his only call-to-action is on the home page he is currently converting 15 percent of those 100 people into sales leads for his business each month.

But only 20 percent of his total website visitors are even being presented with his primary call-to-action. Based on his existing 15 percent conversion rate, adding the call-to-action to every page of Bob’s website could deliver as much as 75 sales leads for his business each month, as follows

500 visitors x 15 percent = 75 sales leads per month

The point of the story is this. Place calls-to-action all around your website and anywhere else you interact with prospective customers.

5 Places You Must Use Calls-to-Action in Your Online Marketing

Don’t be like Bob and lose out on thousands of dollars of potential new business each month.

Here are five places you should be using calls-to-action in your online marketing, but probably aren’t.

  1. Every page of your website. You should have a strong CTA on every page of your website. Consider adding your CTA in the page header, at the top of a side-column, at the bottom of your last paragraph of text, and maybe even again in the page footer. Make it impossible to miss.
  1. Your blog. Many people think their websites and blogs are separate. The search engines and your online visitors don’t see the difference. Your blog is part of your website. Since you probably update your blog more often than your primary website, the search engines often show these fresher pages to online searchers first. Make sure your blog page template prominently highlights your call-to-action so it displays on every post. Place your call-to-action at the top of the blog sidebar — usually the right column — or before and after every blog post for maximum exposure.
  1. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Social media is part of your total web presence. Having a page for your business on these sites is about more than just getting a bunch of Likes, follows, and tweets. Place your primary call-to-action on these pages and you’ll direct social media visitors to your website, where they can easily complete your desired goals.
  1. Your email newsletters. Your email marketing list is one of your most important online marketing assets. Your monthly newsletter is not only an effective way to keep your business top-of-mind with your customers, it’s also a good place for a call-to-action. Include it at the top of a side column or immediately following your main body text.
  1. Your email signature. You likely use email to communicate with customers, partners, and prospects. Your employees and team members do too. Make sure everyone in your company has a call-to-action in his or her email signature. You never know when someone will find it interesting and decide to click. It’s also easy to forward along to others, which makes word-of-mouth referrals even easier for your customers.

Ring Your Bell

A call-to-action is sort of like the online equivalent of the Salvation Army bell ringer. The Salvation Army accepts donations year-round, but during the holiday season volunteers ring bells in front of stores that are bustling with people. If it wasn’t for those bells, would you remember to donate at all?

Don’t miss out on more sales leads and revenue for your business. Use calls-to-action in the five places I’ve suggested above and you’ll make it easy for your online audience to do exactly what you want them to do.

Where else do you use calls-to-action in your online marketing? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Aaron Houghton
Aaron Houghton
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Comments ( 2 )

Have Something To Say ?

  1. Kathleen Booth January 29, 2013 Reply

    Aaron, great tips here! We are also big fans of using the email signature line for CTAs, and make sure that everyone in our company has the same CTAs in their email signature. That makes every email that goes out from our firm a marketing tool in and of itself. Very effective!

    • Aaron W. Houghton January 29, 2013 Reply

      Hi Kathleen, thanks for reading and thanks for your comment. It sounds like you and your team are doing a great job with your calls-to-action.

      Would you mind sharing your current email signature CTA? Or could you suggest some that you’ve found effective in the past?

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