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Website Conversion 101: CTAs

I’ve talked before about the importance of a well-optimized site, examining specific elements of your website like the homepage. Well, today we’re talking about the all-important Call-To-Action (CTA). To help you determine if your CTAs are doing their job, I put together a 5-question litmus test that you can try out today. Go ahead, take ’em for a spin. 

If you didn’t know, CTAs are the friendly, clickable buttons on your website that you want visitors to hit when they convert. For example, you might have a “Submit” CTA at the bottom of a contact form. But the uses go far beyond the practical – you can use CTAs to help expedite the conversion process by enticing your site visitors to go a few clicks further into the purchase process. Specifically, you can create a want or a need with a well-designed CTA, which can help you achieve a goal.  A basic example might be getting a potential lead to fill out a contact form on a vehicle landing page. Or maybe sign up for your monthly newsletter.

Even though they look simple enough (a small button and 3-4 words), a lot of thought goes into creating a well-optimized CTA. Or, at least there should be. Use these 5 questions to determine if your CTA game is strong, or needs some work.

1. What’s the purpose?

Like I said earlier, the purpose of a CTA is to create a perceived want or need. If the goal is to get your site visitors interested in a particular vehicle, then “LEARN MORE!” at the bottom of your internet pricing specials might push someone further into the conversion process. But we can get more specific than that, can’t we? “GET PRICE QUOTE” is actually a little more specific. But what about a sense of urgency? “GET PRICE QUOTE NOW!” is even better.

Think of your CTAs like signs pointing to the finish line. Decide what purpose your CTA serves and make it as detailed as necessary. Make it as easy as possible to click. Don’t make it too wordy and don’t make it too generic.

2. What are you saying?

Let’s talk about messaging, or how we can further appeal to the customers visiting your website. Consider the example from above. The messaging on that Toyota Camry vehicle page is personable, right? You’re not telling people that all Toyota Camrys at your dealership cost this much, No, you have special discounts & incentives to give someone their own custom price. Handpicked for them, right?

Your CTAs can be personable as well, by simply adding things like model specific or brand specific language. “GET TOYOTA PRICE NOW” is specifically referring to Toyota vehicles. However, changing it to “GET MY TOYOTA PRICE NOW!” gives even more of a personable touch. Not only is the messaging brand-specific, but it’s personable for the customer as well. There are lots of variants on this, obviously, but the most-clicked CTAs tend to include some sort of pronoun.

Finally, consider including a more powerful action word, or verb, in your CTA. “Get” is a little generic, and it doesn’t particularly give the customer an incentive to click. “Get” is pretty boring, to be honest. “SECURE MY TOYOTA PRICE NOW!” creates a sense of urgency, subtly inferring that the listed price won’t last forever, and that you need to act soon. Obviously, there’s a real opportunity to use branded words here. If you’re famous for your “Davison Discount” at the Davison Toyota dealership, for example, then add that into your CTA!

3. Why are you saying it?

It’s worth mentioning again: the purpose of your CTA is to help guide your website visitors through the conversion process. The overall goal is to take a website visitor, however they got there, interest them in your content, present an enticing offer, and make it as easy as possible for them to reach out and potentially become a customer for your sales team to handle. Of course, that means you want to keep people on your site. Don’t link your CTAs to an external page, because that’s effectively kicking those leads off your site and out of your conversion process.

Not everything is a lead generation effort, though, and sometimes data collection about your customers is the only goal. That information is valuable, and those CTAs might not be the most exciting things in the world. However, you can get a little more creative with those. For example, you might try “HIT ME UP!” as a CTA on your contact form, instead of the standard “SUBMIT.” Hey, go wild.

4. Where are you saying it?

Variety is another metric to consider when optimizing your CTAs. Some people believe firmly in having just one CTA per page, while others advocate multiple. There’s not really a “correct” answer here, it’s driven by context. However, our own A/B testing data shows that multiple CTAs at the beginning of User Flows decreases conversion rates. In other words, if you bombard people with tons of buttons to click, they’ll get sensory overload and not click any of them. Think about the old MySpace accounts, when people got a little crazy with HTML & colored fonts.

5. How do you look?

CTA placement on your website is just as important as the verbiage. First off, keep your CTAs as visible as possible! Always keep them above the fold, so that users don’t have to scroll down to the bottom before they can take any action. Remember: path of least resistance. The key to making your CTAs visible is contrast. Of course, that rules out using any weird animation or flash to cover your CTAs or make them move.

Generally, it’s best to pick contrasting colors on your website and use those. DealerOn’s colors are blue and orange, and we tend to use our signature orange color, because it’s very noticeable.

Wrap it up

There you have it, 5 simple-ish questions you can ask about your CTAs to see if they’re as first-class as you are. Again, context will drive a lot of your decisions. Don’t make the mistake of thinking, “Well, I always need a unique verb, and it must be personalized with contrasting colors.” The mad scientists in the DealerOn labs have done thousands of tests to get the stats that work for our clients – which are auto dealerships. If you’re not seeing results, start A/B testing different elements of your CTAs and fine-tune your own process.

Author Mike Somerville

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