No matter how successful you are at generating website traffic, your sales and profits won’t rise accordingly unless you can convert visitors into customers. While conversion rates are a complicated topic with many factors to consider, one of the most upfront and important elements is known as the ‘call to action’ or CTA. This is the section of your site that expressly tells your visitor how to take that final step into becoming a customer, commonly through a ‘buy now’ button, or a ‘click here…’ message.

Such is the importance of the CTA that it has been the subject of decades of study, both in its online form and in previous marketing arenas such as direct mail. While putting together an effective CTA remains something of a dark art, there are four major elements needed to make it successful.

1) Put the Visitor at Ease

Even now that online shopping has become so deeply woven into everyday life, customers can still harbor a residual wariness that needs to be overcome to clinch the sale. The CTA should include a message that reassures the potential customer that there is no risk in continuing the transaction. Whether you offer a free trial, a no-quibble money back guarantee, or an easy exchange policy, try and anticipate any worries that are getting in the way of conversion, and deal with them clearly.

2) Reinforce a Benefit

By the time a visitor sees the CTA, they will already have experienced your primary marketing efforts. Now is the time to reinforce the main benefit of your product or service in simple, compelling terms, spelling out what will be gained by clicking on the buy button. It’s too late to introduce any new concepts by this stage, so just ensure that the main point has been conveyed clearly.

3) Give an Instruction

It sounds a little blunt, but it’s been shown that a potential customer responds well to being told exactly what to do. Don’t force the visitor to figure out how to proceed, and don’t waste all your effort in bringing them to the cusp of a sale by leaving them adrift at this point. ‘Buy now’ and ‘click here’ are classics almost to the point of cliche, but this isn’t the time to try and be clever and stray too far from what’s been proven to work, so keep things simple and clear.

4) Add Some Urgency

Finally, you need to add a sense of urgency to the deal. Don’t give your prospect an easy excuse to think things over, but at the same time don’t go overboard with aggressive sales language. Offering a time-limited offer is the obvious technique for this, but subtler variations on the hoary old ‘while stocks last’ message still work well.

How you address these issues, and in what order, depends on your product and goal for the customer, but an ideal CTA should include all four concepts. It should be succinct enough to reinforce the marketing that has already brought the visitor to the edge of conversion, without being too aggressive and obviously sales-oriented.

When it comes to digital marketing, huge effort is poured into attracting traffic through paid advertising, SEO, viral marketing, and a myriad of other channels and techniques. However, clinching the deal will always be the ultimate goal, and a well-crafted call to action is a vital component in this process.

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