Your web copy is missing something. But you just can’t put your finger on it.
It’s no coincidence that your reader is missing something, too. He isn’t sure what his next step is, so he abandons the page and gets lost for four hours on YouTube instead.
Readers desperately need their hands held. Think of them as suburban teenagers lost in an Amazonian jungle. If only the jungle had clear paths, with signs pointing the way to the next destination…
Here’s your chance to be a sign-maker. Your web copy can be compelling, thoughtful, informative, clear and concise — but it will never, ever convince someone to take the next step without a clear call to action.
A call to action is a command that pops. It’s a next step that drives readers through the sales process. And it’s the most necessary part of creating web copy that sells.
A few good examples of calls to action
All of the web’s most successful brands grab readers with a call to action, gently nudging them in the direction they want to go. Sometimes, they even corral readers with not-so-gentle commands.
Below are a few great examples of powerful calls to action.
If you visit Problogger.net and aren’t sure what to do next, you’re in the minority. Wherever you go on the site, founder Darren Rowse has placed a clear “subscribe to the newsletter” call to action first thing on the right sidebar. At the end of each article, you’re invited to share your opinion in the comments. Past the article, you have a clearly marked “What Next?” section, paired with related articles for further reading.
Social Community, Decoded
Pinterest is a great example of the perfect call to action. At the top of the page, the online community tells you what it is, how to use it and what to do next in two short lines and a red “Join Pinterest” button. I’m sure there’s plenty that’s sticky about the community itself — still, they did a good job reducing any barriers to entry for new users.
Specializing in CTAs
HubSpot has grown quite the reputation for its digital marketing prowess. When you visit the company’s site, you can see that they practice what they preach; the homepage hits you with a handful of benefits and an orange “See The Software” call that works well.
Tips for creating your own call to action
We’re all capable of creating great calls to action. And we absolutely must create them if we want to be respected web copywriters.
Most of these tips are pretty straightforward, but it doesn’t hurt to see them on the page so you can burn them into your brain.
- Clarity is key: Your call to action must stand out from the rest of the copy, whether it follows a thousand words of copy or three sentences. For businesses, this usually comes in the form of a colored, eye-catching button to direct the visitor to the next step.
- Start with the benefit: If you can work the benefit of the action into the call, that’d be great. For instance, if you want to coerce users into signing up for an email newsletter about beets, you might say something like “Click here for secrets to growing the best beets.”
- Make it timely: Using words like “today” and “now” can help snag the customer that may not return without a good excuse to opt in that very day. Create urgency so you don’t lose customers that will convince themselves to come back but will never return.
Share with us
Do you have a “go-to” call to action that works like a charm? Share it with us in the comments.