Lead generation and nurturing often take center stage for digital marketers. They are commonly the top goal for most businesses, with the majority of their budget being funneled in this direction. But when the numbers at the bottom of the funnel refuse to budge it can be incredibly frustrating.
As a result of excessive focus on lead generation or lead nurturing, marketers might be ignoring an important factor that is hurting conversions further down the funnel: Call-to-Actions or CTAs.
CTA buttons are the link between a potential lead and a converted sale, so they need to be the center focus if you really want to increase conversions. Little mistakes could actually have a major negative impact on your CTA’s effectiveness; however, there are a few basics that you can stick to in order to keep conversion rate steady.
1. Be Mindful of Above-the-fold Vs. Below-the-fold Placements
The placement of CTA buttons is incredibly important. They need to be highly visible in order to catch your customer’s eye and lead them to the next step of the buyer’s journey. Historically, marketers have been warned not to place the first CTA buttons “below the fold” – meaning that when the site loads, the user should see the most important prompts at the top of the screen (above the fold) without having to scroll down.
Here’s how email marketing platform Mailchimp does it:
You see three CTAs – all important ones – above the fold.
However, all CTA advice should be taken with a pinch of salt and extensively tested to see if it works for you. A case study reported by Beem Digital showed that when the CTA was placed on the bottom half of a very long landing page, conversions grew by over 300%.
One reason why placing the CTA lower down could actually be better in some cases is because it waits until the visitor’s purchase intent builds up. As a customer consumes more content, scroll down on the page, and engage with it, they move from awareness to interest to consideration, the CTA naturally appeals to them at that point.
Research from Google on display ads (which could be considered similar to CTAs in terms of impressions) also found that while the most viewable position for something on your page is just above the fold, page position doesn’t always tell the full story. Not all above-the-fold elements are viewable while below-the-fold items often are.
2. Reduce the Number of Options and Simplify Them
While most of us prefer to have lots of options when it comes to choosing products, having too many can actually be problematic – it leads to the paradox of choice, meaning that customers become overwhelmed and unable to make a decision. It’s the same case with CTAs.
Here’s a great example – take a look at the menus for two well-known fast-food restaurants: In-n-Out versus Sonic. Clearly, one of these menus is far easier to navigate and choose from than the other.
Simplifying your customer’s choices down as much as possible is going to have far better results than listing out every possible choice on your home page. So, start by taking a close look at the CTR metrics. Which CTA buttons are clicked on the most and which ones lead to the highest number of conversions? Conversely, which are clicked the least or lead to the greatest number of exits? Keep the most popular and effective CTAs highly visible while reorganizing the others into drop-down menus.
3. Use Heat Maps to Know How Customers Browse
The layout and appearance of your website have a great effect on your audience’s behavior. You want to make sure that your website is as user-friendly as possible while still making it attractive.
For consumers, usability and appearance go hand-in-hand. Adobe’s State of Content report found that nearly the same number of customers will stop engaging with a website simply because they find the layout to be unattractive as those who would exit because the site was not working properly. The report also found that for both B2B and B2C audiences, a layout that kept visitors’ attention and looked appealing was most important, with functionality following close behind.
So, in addition to ensuring that your loading speeds and screen layouts are working properly, you should also be keeping the overall look of your website as a top priority.
In order to truly optimize the layout of your website, you can turn to heat mapping tools that can identify the popular (and unpopular) elements of your site by measuring mouse hovers, clicks, and scrolls. This is incredibly important for on-page CTA positioning – they need to be in places that users’ eyes naturally drift towards.
4. Don’t Disdain (or Dismiss) Pop-Ups
Pop-ups get a bad rep, but they can be useful for capturing your audience’s attention – if they are used correctly. Obviously, most pop-ups will annoy your website visitors, especially if they appear to soon on page load, obstruct their view of the page, or have a condescending message.
However, you can use pop-ups more strategically and optimize them to appear at the right time and the right place.
For instance, you can set up your pop-up to show up based on behavioral triggers that signal a potential loss in engagement. If there’s a sudden uptake in the visitor’s scrolling speed (especially in an upwards direction) or their mouse starts to head towards the exit button, it would be an optimal time to send a pop-up message with an enticing CTA.
5. Always Run A/B Tests
You are most likely not going to nail your CTA placement on the first try. Just like with any marketing method, you need to test and monitor performance until you find what works best with different segments of your audience. As you make changes, be sure to conduct frequent A/B testing to see which colors, copy, fonts, sizes, and tactics actually drive the most conversions.
Over to You
Ultimately, the central purpose of any CTA is to nudge leads one step closer to conversion (or customer advocacy). The point here is to provide your customers with the “next step” on their journey and get them to take an action that’s beneficial to both you and them. While new techniques and tactics to optimize your CTAs are being uncovered every day, the basic principles remain the same:
- Draw attention.
- Include a clear directive.
- Remove barriers.
- Encourage immediate action.
So, let’s end here with our own call to action: relentlessly improve your CTAs. Good luck!
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