You can’t force someone to buy something any more than you can force them to do 50 pushups on the spot. This is where a call to action (CTA) comes into play. Imagine you’re at the supermarket on a productive Sunday. You’re looping around the aisles when you see a grinning face serving up samples of those little hot dogs wrapped in puff pastries. You float right over, chomp down and suddenly that same grinning face is showing you where you can buy a whole box of your own. That small sampling is a good example of a CTA in action. How do we write a good CTA for your online store? Keep reading:
1. Be direct by leading with a verb.
“Buy…!” “Shop…!” “Order…!”
This is a call to action, after all, and if action is to be taken, then action must be encouraged from the very beginning. By getting right to the point you’re conveying to your customers exactly what you’re asking for. “Buy now!”, “Shop our Platinum Collection of fishing rods!”, “Order five pounds of jellybeans and the next five pounds are free!”: each of these CTAs are common examples of marketing an e-commerce store. As you can see, each tells a consumer precisely what they should do.
2. Try appealing to emotions.
“Defeat the summer heat with these overhead fans!”
Any CTA is designed to inspire. By considering the needs your product or service addresses, you’ll be able to inspire your customers directly, while simultaneously pointing them in the right direction to take action. In the above CTA, for example, the overwhelming feeling of high heat is summoned, but with a solution. Most, if not all, of us have experienced what it’s like to endure sweltering heat. It’s a universal experience. This CTA acknowledges that, then inspires to do something about it.
3. Load it up with a benefit.
“Buy two Venus flytraps and get a third free! Terrify those flies!”
Sure, your CTA should instruct an action to be taken, BUT it helps to include an additional incentive to click. Consumers are savvy. They know better than to simply click on any ad they may see online. By providing a benefit, whether it’s a sale, a promotion of some sort or even to reinforce the results of your product (as pointed out in the second line of the example above), weaving in a benefit to your CTA may make the difference in conversions.
4. Issue a deadline – maybe with a limited-time sale or promotion.
“Order your water skis before Memorial Day and receive free shipping!”
Speaking of sales and promotions, mentioning one or the other in your CTA boosts a sense of urgency to take action. When a consumer is aware of a deadline for your offer, they’ll be more inclined to click. In the above example, the CTA informs the customer of an action to take, when they’ll no longer be able to do so and, for added measure, a solid benefit by doing so.
5. Speak to your customers’ practical side, instead of your inside knowledge of the industry.
“Kiss the days of boring hot sauce goodbye!” vs. “Taste the Scoville Heat Units with our line of hot sauce!”
You should mention insider knowledge on your landing page, which is where a consumer will end up. For the sake of a CTA, though, make your products and your store as accessible as possible. Ideally, this is a quick introduction to your store, like a coming attraction before the movie. You don’t want to pile everything on right away, but at the same time, your customers need to know some info ahead of time. By speaking to their practical side you’ll be leading with what they’re familiar with, therefore piquing they’re curiosity about what’s to follow by clicking.
6. Throw a number in there.
“Save 50% off your first ukulele for the next 48 hours!”
Whether it’s a percentage off, an actual price or the amount of days left to save, including a number will define the CTA. When consumers are equipped with concrete information, they may be more motivated to click. With the understanding, as in the above example, that they will not only receive your product at half price, but that they only have two days to take advantage of the offer, customers will make a snap decision about whether or not to click to your store. Defining the numbers allows for a more enticing reason to click.
7. Welcome to the Age of Exclamation Points.
“Buy one spatula, get one free!” “Order a pair of binoculars today!!!”
There’s a reason the exclamation point pops up all over the internet, in our text messages and everywhere else in between. Plain and simple, they convey enthusiasm. And when you’re passionate about your product and online store, your customers are sure to follow. Try ending your CTA with an exclamation point to employ enthusiasm where appropriate. (I don’t necessarily recommend this tactic for funeral homes, medical supplies, or museums dedicated to the life of Edgar Allen Poe.) They’ll add a little flair to your CTA, while also representing a spirit you maintain for your product.
A great CTA will employ an excellent use of language. Consumers require the motivation to click through to your landing page, so, naturally, the best way to inspire is to speak directly. Be creative, be honest, and above all, be ready to deliver the results your customers are shopping for.
How do you like to write CTAs? Let us know in the comments!