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Calls to action are the gateways that your visitors must click through to become leads. If your calls to action aren't optimized and attractive to your visitors, they are less likely to complete the actions you want them to on your website. Creating a great call to action isn't simple of course, as it takes work to figure out exactly what to offer and how to portray that offer on your pages.
Whenever I start any creative project, I typically look at what other people have done for inspiration and ideas. If you're stuck and don't know how to portray your offer to your visitors, have a look at some of the examples below. These companies have nailed it down to a science; their calls to action convert their visitors into leads (or customers) and you should use their ideas to your advantage.
Regardless of your political affiliation, you have to admire the marketing effort of the Barack Obama team during the 2008 campaign, most notably their inbound marketing efforts. Check out their calls to action. First of all, there are 3 above the fold (visible) on the front page. One of them rotates which incorporates 2 more into the mix. All the calls to action are well-optimized, too. They begin with a verb, are action-oriented, and each of them are simple and concise. You know what you're getting and what to expect when you click on any button on BarakObama.com
Salesforce's homepage includes three distinct calls to action above the fold: one that attracts people to their conference, another that gets people to a landing page, and yet another that places people in front of a demo of the software (a great example of secondary and tertiary offers.) One of the remarkable things about Salesforce's calls to action is the simplicity of their design. Each one is a simple rectangular button with rounded corners, red outlines and simple text - and that's it.
What I like about Mozilla's call to action is that it gives a clear indicator of what a user can expect when they click on the button.The offer is laid out in front of the visitor; They get 1 Firefox download and it's free. Clear. Easy. Attractive. The other remarkable thing about Mozilla's call to action button is its size. It's BIG! It sticks out on the page and draws your attention.
The nice thing about Commercial IQ's call to action is that it's action oriented and attracts the visitor's eye. They also follow other call to action best practices by placing the button up high on a page on a background that contrasts with the color of the button. The user can see the button really easily and they know exactly what to do.
The calls to action that 37 Signals feature are a little over the top. Check out the homepage of their Basecamp product and you'll see what I mean. Basically the entire page, or at least everything above the fold, is a call to action. Their text is hierarchical, they employ lots of attractive images (of their products), and they top it all off with a big, fat button for the user to click on. Notice that on the button there is some text that indicates what the users can expect: a free, 30-day trial of the product and a super fast sign-up process. Remember, an effective call to action is always visible, attractive, and matched to a compelling offer.
Regardless of how much time you decide to spend designing calls to action, always install the end product above the fold so that you can convert more of your visitors into leads and customers. Creating effective calls to action are a crucial piece to achieving inbound marketing success and often the most overlooked.
What calls to action do you think are the most effective? What are your biggest questions about creating calls to action? Tell us in the comments!
Originally published Nov 19, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017