What do you want someone to do when they visit your website?
A clear call to action is one of the most important aspects of your website, but it’s hard to get right. Someone stumbles across your site, they find the information compelling, and then … what’s next?
Answering “what’s next?” can be the difference between a prospect contacting you or moving on.
A big, shiny button
The past few weeks I’ve been up to my eyeballs in three website redesign projects. In each case the companies are wrestling with two strategic questions:
- How do we effectively convey who we are and what makes us unique?
- How do we get the phone to ring?
We’ve invested a lot of time analyzing the second question, because it’s the starting point of the sales process. We’re looking for a bright, shiny button to convert a website visitor from passive to active.
You can see the application of a clear call to action on websites like:
- Microsoft Exchange: “Try or Buy”
- Salesforce.com: “View Demo” and “Free Trial”
- State Farm: “Get A Quote”
The call to action is usually in the form of a button, and it’s prominent on every page. Microsoft, Salesforce.com and State Farm make no bones about it. They give the user the content they want, and make it clear where the relationship will go next.
Where do we go from here?
The call to action is specific for each company.
Muldoon’s Coffee has a specific call to action: a 5 day free trial of their office coffee services. They actually don’t want to sell their systems without the trial. Muldoon’s wants their clients to experience the difference of hand-roasted coffee before they buy. The trial is an essential part of the buying process.
The call to action can shift depending on the industry. A car website is driving their prospects to visit a dealer for a test drive. A software website typically leads prospects to schedule a demo.
What is the logical next step from your website?
And the call to action doesn’t have to be sales driven. One of my website redesign projects is for Sticky Branding. The call to action for the upcoming version of StickyBranding.com is “sign-up” for our content. The request is prominent throughout the site, because email is an essential aspect of my marketing and communications. (Stay tuned. The launch of the new site is a few weeks away.)
Rely on the metrics
Your call to action is a performance metric. It will clearly demonstrate if your website is working or not.
Analyze its performance on a monthly basis:
- Are people clicking on the call to action and engaging with you?
- Are the right prospects responding to the call to action?
- Is the call to action generating enough response?
You will be able to measure performance from response rates and Google Analytics. Google Analytics provides the added insight of how website visitors are interacting with your call to action: views, click through rates, conversions, goal tracking, and a host of other metrics.
The call to action is the driver of your website. Put it front and center in your website design, and make it prominent on every page. And if the metrics aren’t positive, re-work your call to action until it’s achieving peak performance.