Increasing Conversions: How To Write Calls to Action That Convert

Hey boutique owners!

Looking to increase your sales? Need to improve your Conversion Rate Optimization? Today we are looking at something so crucial in your conversions….. Calls To Action! In this post we are breaking down what they are and how to use them effectively on your ecommerce site - in other words, how to write calls to action that convert!

Over at Hot Mess, there is nothing we love more than a perfectly executed Call to Action. This is literally gold🥇 for your website - it will be the perfect aid for your customer journey, it will increase your conversion, and consequently it will increase your revenues.

But done badly? Eurgh. It will send people running for the hills. They certainly won’t make it on to your mailing list, and they would rather poke their own eyes out than buy anything from your store. And we do not want that, do we?

So in this post let’s look under the hood of what makes a good call to action…

But first!

You might be thinking...

What is a Call To Action?

A Call To Action (CTA) is a marketing term which basically is a word or phrase that invites someone to take a specific action. They are specifically worded in such a way that your audience does the thing that you want them to do - and they are usually placed on buttons for someone to click on to take action - for example signing up to your newsletter, adding something to cart, add into a wish list, or even booking a call, or shooting you a message.

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These can be super blindingly obvious, but they can also be subtle - it depends on your brand, your audience, and your intention. Either way, they need to be the logical next step for your customer in their journey, and it needs to be so easy for them that they don’t even have to think about it. Zero friction - that’s the aim.

So let’s break down what makes a call to action good… And let’s not forget what we want to avoid! Let’s discuss these right now so you know what NOT to do!

How To Do Calls To Action Badly

Okay. A bad call to action is one (or all!) of these things:

  1. Needy
  2. About your brand and your needs instead of the customer
  3. Doesn’t actually work
  4. Unclear

Are you asking too much of your customer without really highlighting the benefits that they are going to get?  

Are you asking people to get on your list, join your Facebook group, book a call with you, join your program, jump on your text club, buy your products….?

Calls to action that are all about you, like Hey, sign up for MY newsletter, buy this thing from ME, support MY business, book a call to talk to ME…

They are super needy, and that is not good juju for your store.

They won’t always be SO obvious (my bad for wanting to really spell it out) - but take a look at the calls to action that are on your site, or when you’re browsing someone else’s. If your CTAs revolve around you, your store, your goals and not that of your customer, you may want to rethink how you’ve phrased them.

And look at the practical aspects too… If the button doesn't work - like you click on it and they don’t deliver on what you promise, then your visitor is going to bounce off your site - the opposite of them taking the action you want them to.

Lastly, if the call to action is vague or unclear, people will just scroll right on past. This could be a design issue, but it could also be an issue with the copy. So make sure you look at it critically - does it light you up, or does it bore you? Does it make you want to take action, or does it make you feel meh?

Ok, so we have looked at some of the, ahem, off putting tendencies of Calls To Action. But what about doing them well?

How To Write Effective Calls To Action

Let’s look at the basics of a good Call to Action.

Firstly, it needs to stand out. It’s not going to be doing you any favors if it is tucked away where no one is looking, or blends into the background or the rest of the text.

Second. The context needs to be right. It has to make sense on the page and where the customer is on their journey. Is it part of the sales journey? Or is it part of the stay in touch journey? Make sure your CTAs are in the right places on your site and that the context is clear and not confusing.  

Third, Make sure that the call to action is focused on the customer and their needs. That means it needs to be outcome focused - and focused on their outcomes, not yours! So what will they get out of taking that particular action? What is in it for them?

Think: Get Early Bird Access to The Sales Before Anyone Else - not Sign Up To Our The Mailing List. See the difference?

Fourth. Be simple and clear - let your customer know what happens next AND make sure it’s not full of complicated steps! Studies show people get put off if there are a bunch of hoops to jump through to get something, and if it’s not totally clear what will happen next, people will scroll past. A confused mind says no.

Really, it’s about being clear and simple, and compelling. That’s all there really is to writing effective Calls To Action. But every store is different, every audience is different, so you need to experiment until you find what works, and the truth is, you’ll need to keep on experimenting as ecommerce changes and evolves.

Ultimately, like anything with business, there is no magical formula. It will take trial and error and lots of testing. You’ll know when you find something that works - you’ll see it in your conversion rate, and in your revenues!

So good luck!

And if you want some homework: Go take a look at your store, and pay close attention to the buttons and Calls To Action. Are they clear, simple and compelling? If not, how could you improve them?

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