Your website is more than just an online brochure. An effective website should act as a conversion machine – each and every element pushing users to take that next step. This is where calls to action and landing pages come in.
What are they?
Calls to action are everywhere! From ‘Purchase now and receive free shipping!’ proclamations at the end of infomercials to the ‘Call us today!’ banner on the back of your local plumber’s van, chances are slim that you will go through an entire day without seeing one.
For websites, calls to action have become a constant in design. Take a look at the next homepage you visit. There’s likely some kind of language encouraging users to do something along with a big button that allows them to easily take the action.
After the button has been clicked on, the user is brought to a landing page. This landing page generally includes information on the item the user will receive along with a contact form.
With these two throughout your website, you have a combination built for success.
Why do calls to action and landing pages work?
There’s more to these tools than meets the eye. Both are rooted in psychology. You see, nothing is ever perceived exactly the same by each person. According to the perceptual set theory, our brains perceive everything with a three-step process.
- Selecting: The mind pays attention selectively. While you may hear an air vent quietly humming, you’re focused instead on the visual item before you.
- Inferring: Past similar experiences that your mind draws on when working to understand a situation.
- Interpreting: After considering past experiences and the situation before it, the mind comes up with its final interpretation.
So how does all this psychological mumbo jumbo relate to your website? When a user comes upon a call to action or landing page, they know exactly what’s next. Whether they consciously know it or not, their brain has led them through this situation before and knows what it is supposed to do next.
We have a bias for familiarity and our minds want to click calls to action.
Start by defining your goals.
So let’s get to what you were promised to begin with: how to create killer calls to action and landing pages.
What are your overall business objectives and how can your website help you accomplish them? How do you generate revenue?
If you’re like most businesses, your main goal is to entice users to do one of the following:
- Complete an online purchase. Author who sells audiobooks from their website.
- Contact your business. Landscaping company offering lawn care services to local clients.
- Visit your brick-and-mortar location. Retail clothing store without eCommerce.
- Read more articles/view more of your pages. Lifestyle blogger that makes a profit from advertisements.
Whichever your business’s goals fall under, proper calls to action and landing pages can help!
Determine what your audience values.
Sure, it’s easy to think of what you want, but it’s much more important to define the connection to your audience’s needs and wants. You’re not going to get what you want until you offer up something they want. Sometimes, it’s even worth giving it away for free.
Give away free content offers.
Don’t go right in for the kill – earn their trust. If you own an online marketing firm that offers professional SEO services, create a white paper like ‘The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization’.
In the form of white papers, eBooks, videos, podcasts, and more, content offers can prove beneficial in almost every field. They help to establish your business’s credibility, brand recognition and deliver you the contact information of qualified leads.
Let’s not forget the most important benefit: creating a routine of users taking the action you want them to take. That familiarity our brains love.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
If your call to action is stationed at the bottom of a page, be sure to repeatedly refer to the action you are going to ask the user to take. Prepare the user for what they will be presented with so their mind gets ready to take the obvious next step.
Let’s say you want users to download a podcast called, ‘7 Ways to Make More Money as an Entrepreneur’. Sprinkle the words ‘make more money’ throughout the page’s content. The reader will pick up on this and expect to see a call to action along the lines of:
‘Sick of living paycheck to paycheck?
Learn how to make more money now!
Button: GET FREE PODCAST’
Set a time limit.
If you let your audience feel like they have all the time in the world to make a decision, they’ll never make a decision! Set a time limit for your offer and emphasize it.
While it’s a bit cliche, there’s a reason why lines like ‘For a limited time only!’ are a bit overused… they work! Calls to action are all about tapping into the user’s instinct and calling them to action now.
For best results, work to create a sense of urgency.
Highlight that there’s nothing to lose.
There is one negative question calls to action bring to mind, “What’s the catch?” Get big concerns out of the way so users can move forward. This could be as simple as adding ‘No obligation’, ‘Free trial’, or ‘Money back guarantee’ to your call to action.
Simplify landing pages.
Now that you’ve enticed them to click on your call to action, don’t lose them on the landing page. Here is where the magic happens and they official convert from user to lead.
Think long and hard about the top benefits of your offer. You have more space to delve into them here than you did in a call to action, but you don’t want to overload readers with information.
A handful of landing page best practices:
- Shorten forms to what is absolutely necessary. Do you really need their address and phone number? Stick with a name and email field. This will allow you to contact or send marketing emails to leads without invading their privacy.
- Eliminate distractions. This is perhaps the only page you do not want to have a visible navigation. The only thing you want users focusing on is the action you’re driving them towards – submitting their contact information.
- Show that you’re trustworthy. If you haven’t installed an SSL certificate on your website, do it now! It’s free with Let’s Encrypt. Pulling in testimonials and reviews will also help the cause.
- Ditch generic button labels. Instead of placing a ‘Submit’ or ‘Enter’ button at the end of a form, try something different. Using language like ‘Claim My Free Download’ reminds the user of what they are exchanging their valuable information for and wards off second thoughts.
- Keep it consistent. Repeat the promises you made in your call to action at the top of the landing page. This will assure users they’re in the right place and avoid any confusion.
With killer calls to action and landing pages, your website can finally graduate from a brochure to the conversion machine it was meant to be! Not quite sure how to integrate them into your current web design? It’s easy with premium landing page templates.