Calls-to-action (CTAs) are a vital piece of your inbound marketing strategy and you should be using them in all aspects of your marketing campaigns, including social media, email, blog posts, and website pages. Whether they take the form of anchor text links, images, or buttons, CTAs are what motivate and direct your visitors to take a desired action. They bridge the gap between anonymous website visitors and marketable leads. Are you making the most of them?

This April, join our #InboundLearning webinar series and gain a deeper understanding of how to write and place your CTAs on your website, how to design great and effective CTAs, and how to analyze the data accumulated from your CTAs in HubSpot.

Understanding CTA Placement & Performance

Choosing the placement of your CTA can be an extremely difficult decision to make. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Consider your whole page layout when deciding where to place your CTA. It's very important that your CTAs are placed in a visible area on your website and emails. Calls-to-action should stay "above the fold" meaning a visitor shouldn't need to scroll down to see it. Preferably, your CTA should also make sense in context to the other text on the page.
     
  2. Make good use of whitespace by separating the call-to-action from other design elements on the page. By keeping a generous amount of whitespace around your CTA, you will help it stand out from other less important elements. What's more, people will want to click it.
     
  3. Help move visitors through your website by placing calls-to-action on every page. Yes, CTAs will help you generate leads, but you should also think of them as a secondary navigation tool. This takes some of the guess work out for your visitors and helps get you happy, qualified leads.
     
  4. Include a CTA in every blog post. Typically these CTAs are visible at the end of the article to encourage readers to take another step on your website.
     
  5. Every time you send an email, include a CTA. Each email you send should have a clear purpose and should provide valuable information to your users. By making the subject line a call-to-action, aligning the body of your email with the subject line, and including a call-to-action button in the email, you're sure to get a higher click-through rate than general informational emails.

How to Design CTAs that Convert

Once you have a strategy in mind for which calls-to-action you'll feature on your website or other marketing assets, you'll probably start obsessing over their design and wondering what works. To help you get started and to give you a bit of confidence, here are 7 tips for designing capitivating CTAs:

  1. Make a BIG call to action, but one that still doesn't overwhelm your overall page design. You want it big enough to stand out so that people can take action on it, but not so big that it's the only thing people can see. 
     
  2. Use contrasting colors to help your CTA stand out on the page. The best color for CTAs has be debated for quite some time. Whether you use a bright red CTA, a bright orange CTA, blue, pink, purple, or any other color, make sure the color contrasts what is already on your page and encourages people to click.
     
  3. Tell visitors what to do with strong, active language. If you just write the name of one of your content offers on a button, what does that mean to a visitor? Nothing, really. Tell them what to do: "View," "Download, ""Explore," "Gain Knowledge." You get the idea. 
     
  4. Create value for the offer in your text. Instead of saying, "Download your free ebook," add a bit more. Tell the visior why they should download your ebook. "Download your free ebook and learn how to create the best calls-to-action you've ever seen."
     
  5. Keep it short and to the point. Any CTA longer than a tweet is typically ignored by visitors on your site. The sweet spot is between 90 and 150 characters. If you have extraneous words that don't provide value or clarify meaning, remove them.
     
  6. Align your CTAs with different stages in the buying cycle. If someone is in the top of the buying cycle, using language like "learn" resonates with them because that is exactly what they're doing at this point in time. As your users move down the buying cycle, ensure that your CTAs match thoses stages as well.
     
  7. Test, test, test. The best way to tell if your CTA design is working is to test it as much as possible. What does your data show? Is your placement effective? Is your design effective? The only way to truly know this is to test it.

Analyzing and Improving Your CTAs

Not sure if your CTAs are up to par? In April's #InboundLearning webinar series, we'll be accepting customer submissions to be reviewed live by HubSpotter Mark Kilens. Get feedback on your design or on the placement of your CTA by submitting using the button below.

 

Originally published Mar 26, 2013 3:09:00 PM, updated January 13 2014