Direct Vs. Indirect CTAs for Your Website

James Wolff

Developer

Do you ever get tired of hearing about how fantastic calls-to-action are?

With CTAs being so short and direct, it’s hard to imagine that there would be anything new and exciting to learn about them.

But there is.  

CTAs are some of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. Assuming that they’re run-of-the-mill marketing tactics only limits the potential they can bring you.

Of course, creating calls-to-action for your website is harder than it looks. It’s a balancing act, really. If you spend too much time fussing over the CTA, you could end up looking desperate. If you don’t spend enough time on it, it’s possible that no one will notice your CTA.

How can you create direct CTAs that get people to convert without coming across pushy or aggressive?

In this post, we’re going to share insider tips on how to make your CTAs most valuable for your business.

But do remember one thing: You must test everything. Different things work for different audiences, and you won’t know what’s working for yours unless you measure the results.

Let’s get started with some practical tips for using successful CTAs on your website.

Direct vs Indirect

We’ll start with the difference between direct and indirect calls-to-action. All of your CTAs should be direct. In other words, you’re telling the person exactly what you want them to do: download an ebook, submit a form, view your gallery.

An indirect CTA is the opposite. It’s not clear about what you want the person to do next. The CTA could be indirect because of your choice of words. This usually happens when there are too many words, and the call-to-action ends up being confusing or vague.

As you create calls-to-action for your website, make sure that they are simple and direct. This is not the place where you need to do explaining or practice soft sales. Be clear and straightforward.

Color Choice

The color of your CTA button can have a significant impact on how many users convert. There’s a couple of reasons for this. First, colors influence spending. Yellow grabs people’s attention, and red makes them want to buy more.

No single color works best for CTA buttons, although you probably see green the most. Green signifies “go” which is why it works so well in this context. Experiment with different colors to see which your audience responds best to.

Second, color helps visitors spot your CTA button. This is one time where the button color doesn’t have to fit your design perfectly. It just has to work. Choose a color that makes the button pop out without looking desperate.

Adding Images

Sometimes CTAs perform better with an image. Sometimes they do not. What’s the right choice for your audience? You will have to test to find out.

Each situation is unique, but graphics work best when you’re trying to give the CTA its own image. Rather than it blending in with the background, the CTA looks like one complete image.

In other cases, an image is too much. The CTA may perform better when it looks like it’s a part of the copy.

Proper Positioning

If you’ve been adding your CTAs in the same places, you could be missing out on more conversions. The positioning of your calls-to-action is highly important, and you can’t afford to simply generalize on this one.

Many visitors will never make it to the bottom of the web page they land on, so it’s usually not wise to put the CTA here. At the same time, people who won’t scroll to the bottom of your page probably won’t follow through with your CTA just because it’s shown sooner.

Again, the placement of your calls-to-action needs testing. Try placing a CTA at the bottom and at the top. There’s nothing wrong with that!

Or perhaps you should make your CTA animated…

Moving or Stationary

Static CTAs are traditional, and people usually don’t feel strongly toward them. But if you find that visitors are looking right over your quiet CTA sitting in the corner, you may find that a moving one increases clicks and conversions.

Moving CTAs (the ones that slide across the screen or pop into view) can increase engagement, but people tend to feel more strongly about them. They can be obnoxious and intrusive, so you must play your cards carefully here.

Again, you can’t make everyone happy all of the time, so you must go with the option that attracts the most clicks and conversions.

Button Size

Remember when you were a kid and your mother told you not to press the button on the remote? Didn’t that button look so much more attractive?

CTA buttons are like that. The more you invite people to click on them, the more they will be compelled to do so. And you don’t even have to scream “Click me! Click me!” to get them to listen. The size of the button says it all.

A button that is too small will go ignored because it’s either too petite or will blend in with the rest of the page. A button that is too big can look desperate. Try out different button sizes to see which works best for your audience.

Goldilocks will probably agree on this one: something that’s not too big and not too small is best.

Urgency

If you only had 6 hours to take advantage of a sale, wouldn’t you jump on it?

People who are on the fence can be pushed to click or convert when you put the pressure on. And that pressure comes in the form of time.

Rather than just telling visitors to do something, let them know that they only have a specified amount of time to do so. Things like “while supplies last!” or “limited stock available” indicate to users that they need to act now if they want something.

Conclusion

Don’t underestimate the importance of CTAs. They are designed to be short, simple and direct, so use this to your advantage.

Also keep in mind that people are often skimming over web pages, so you want your CTA to stand out. A bold request is all that is needed to get interested people clicking.

A final piece of advice is to split test everything: images, colors, sizing, text, etc. You won’t know what works for your audience until you test and see which options deliver the best results.

In the end, CTAs can be highly influential in how many people click and convert on your web page.

About the Author: James Wolff

James Wolff was raised in Howell, NJ. He started his programming education in high school at the Freehold Boro Computer Science Academy for four years. Next he continued his education with a four year Information Technology degree from NJIT. Today he spends his time designing websites, developing video games, creating apps, sketching, designing graphic artwork, writing stories, acting, dressing up at conventions, and practicing massage therapy. His least favorite hobby is sleeping.

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