When a customer opens your email, they usually skim it for relevant information. Subscribers typically read the first line, check out the picture and glance at your Call-to-Action (CTA). That’s why creating a compelling CTA is so important. It’s one of the few items within your email that can draw attention and encourage the reader to act.
What makes one CTA better than another when it comes to affecting your conversion rate? We’re glad you asked. To help distinguish between good and bad calls to action, we’ve created a list of CTAs that sell, and a list that repels. At the end of each list, we explain why they work, or don’t work.
We scoured inboxes and created a list of 50 CTAs that sell, and broke them up by category.
All of the calls to action are descriptive and provide enough information for subscribers to act. You don’t even need to read the entire email to understand its purpose.
Calls to action should encourage an instant reaction. All of the CTAs above use urgent language to do just that. Words like “now,” “today” and “limited time offer” show a need to act immediately.
There are a few traditional calls to action like “shop now” and “read this post,” but the list also has quite a few original ideas too. For example, “Love to share? Please do” isn’t a call to action that you see every day. It’s okay to think out-of-the-box and be creative when you write a call to action.
Now for the not-so-great calls to action. Here’s a list of 10 CTAs that could repel your customers.
Most of the calls to action on this list don’t provide any real information. For example, what does the CTA “continue” mean? Is it encouraging a customer to continue to a website? Is a customer supposed to continue shopping? Or should a subscriber continue on to a brand’s Facebook page? There just isn’t enough information to inspire a customer to act. CTAs play an important role in the UX sphere, helping drive people to their next action but they can't get there when a challenge or obstacle is in the way. In this instance it's a lack of clarity.
The call to action “Get our custom report” focuses on the business, not the customer. A CTA should focus on the customer. In this case, it’s better to explain how the report helps a customer. For example, “Download now to increase your traffic” defines the value of the report to the customer. By getting specific about what you're offering them in exchange for their action, they can progress to the next stage and feel like they're important to your brand as opposed to another number, while you focus on your business.
Some of the calls to action are just bad habits. You don’t need to tell customers to “click here” anymore; everyone understands the concept of clicking on a link.
You want customers to act quickly so why would you ever use a CTA that says “get it later?”
You don’t need to write out your entire website address. Instead, just create a CTA that says, “Learn more on our website" and link to it appropriately. This will help you in terms of search results, which factor in the words you hyperlink from various channels.
Any sell sheet without an effective CTA is missing a huge opportunity. These simple yet targeted phrases or links are directly responsible for encouraging your audience to take the next step toward becoming a buyer of your product. Without a CTA, your sell sheet will amount to little more than an unprofitable writing exercise. Here are some tips that I have developed from my product marketing experiences that will help improve the response rate to your sell sheet:
Put your CTA in the appropriate place on your sell sheet. On a product’s sell sheet, the CTA will typically be included with the company’s information, and with the physical details of the product. It might be included in a list of items, or in a separate text box, or simply lined-up on the bottom of the page.
It doesn’t need to be long or complicated. Keep it as simple and attention-grabbing as possible. Your buyers don’t have time to be wasting trying to figure our what to do to get more information about your product.
On the printed version of your sell sheet, make sure that the links are short and easy to follow, not long and complicated. On the PDF version of your sell sheet, make sure that all of the links are live and that readers can click-through. You can even incorporate CTA buttons on PDFs, pop-ups or opt-in pages.
On the sell sheets for my books, for example, I simply tell them that my books are available from “B&T” and “Ingram”. Every book buyer at every library, university book store and library, and every bookstore retailer knows exactly what this means, and within minutes can order my books. I also list “Amazon” so that the general public can get more information and buy my books.
I also offer an email address for more information, as well as my publisher’s website address. All very simple and effective. Your users don't have to be a website visitor of yours in order to acquire your products. Plus, it's easier for them to order your product from a third-party sometimes and that's okay. Website traffic isn't the be all and end all if it's not the best place for the user to go to.
Do not appear too aggressive about asking for the sale, lead generation and converting is a more subtle game. You do not want to scare them away. They already know you want to sell your product to them. Instead, your sell sheet should be trying to convince the buyers that you have a great product that they can benefit from.
You can accomplish this by making your sell sheet professional looking and polished, having a great product description, including specific details about it, having a connection to major distributors, and an easy and simple way to get more information and buy your product. You can also add an action button, which will do some of the work for you and is a familiar visual cue for most users.
An effective CTA is the linchpin of a successful sell sheet, when it comes to enticing potential customers. If it is done right it can generate greater sales. After all, there's a reason they call them "action words".
Just remember to keep it short, simple, and actionable, and to convey urgency. After all, viewers are bombarded with content all day every day, and they need a clear direction in terms of how they should interact with your messaging and the quickest way to get them to the end result. Don't get in your own way by creating lengthy CTAs that try to convey to much. Improve your click-through rate with succinct and useful examples.
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This article was written by Joseph C. Kunz and Jr. and Lisa Furgison from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.