Alright - you have a website. You have analytics installed. Maybe you've even run some ads and your site is getting a healthy amount of traffic. All looks good, except for one thing: the calls or sales simply aren't coming in.
The gap between the amount of traffic your website sees and the amount of customers you actually get is a little too wide for comfort.
Conventional advice might be to simply drive more traffic to your site. Spend MORE money on ads. More money on marketing. More money on social media. Unfortunately, even if these efforts resulted in a few more sales, chances are you aren't winning enough new business to pay for all of the extra marketing to acquire them.
Rather than paying to drive more traffic, it's important to invest as much time (if not more) in converting the traffic that you do get more effectively.
That's very easy to say of course and not so easy to actually do. There are several common mistakes that many businesses make which cause visitors to leave without becoming customers. The good news is - many of these mistakes are relatively easy to address, and today, we're going to talk about one of those things in particular.
"Your Calls-To-Action are not causing people to take action."
In the event that you aren't aware of the term, a call-to-action (CTA) is a button that points users to an action you want them to take.
- "Click Here To Buy"
- "Schedule Your Appointment"
- "Reserve Your Seat Now"
Notice how with each of these examples, it is clear what action you will be taking. If your site is like most however, you will typically fall into one of four categories.
- You have too many competing CTA's.
- Your CTA's are vague or uninteresting.
- Your CTA's are asking too much.
- You have no CTA's at all.
Let's look at each of these scenarios in turn.
Too many competing CTA's
Probably the most common error I see businesses making with their CTA's is that they simply have too many of them. This is particularly rampant in pre-designed Wordpress templates - but certainly non-templated sites are guilty of this too. The problem is, links are often styled to look like buttons. When you have several buttons on a single page, all pointing to different things, it becomes unclear what action you want a user to take. As they say - "when everything is important, nothing is important".
Take a look at your own website and evaluate how many buttons are present and how many of them point to something different. If you have a "typical" website - you might have two buttons in the hero section, one that says "Click here to buy" and another that says "Learn more". Further down the page, you might have a section of the three most recent blog entries, each having a "Read More" button. In the footer you might have a button to subscribe to your mailing list. If you've been keeping count, with three very common elements for any website, we're already up to 6 competing CTA's.
Every page of your website, including the homepage, should have exactly ONE primary action.
StoryBrand is a great example of this done well. If you go to their homepage, you will see one call to action, repeated several times, throughout the entire page. It is abundantly clear what they want you to do.
Vague / Uninteresting CTA's
Some of the most common CTA's that you see on a website will say things such as "Learn More", "Keep Reading" or "Contact Us". There are two major problems with CTA's such as these. For one - they're just not exciting. Using phrases such as these for buttons would be like a textbook saying "Turn the page to keep reading...". It might direct the user, but it does very little to entice them. The other major issue with CTA's such as these is that they are vague. "Learn More" does not give the user a great deal of insight about what they are in for. Ultimately, it takes the work off of your shoulders, and places it on the shoulders of your visitor. It is now their job to guess as to whether clicking on your button will actually give them the information they are seeking.
You're Asking Too Much
For some websites, a clear call-to-action may be present - but taking that action is too painful or time-consuming for the user. There are many steps that might be considered too painful.
- Having to call just to get a quote.
- Having to open their email to send you a message.
- Filling out a long form.
- Waiting on hold for customer service.
- Having to wait for a carousel to cycle through.
All these actions require effort and assume the user has time to complete these steps. Consider the difference between requiring a user to call your office to get a quote to providing an online calculator for a quote. The first approach requires the user to get their phone, look up your phone number, dial it, wait for an answer, and endure the pressure of feeling obligated to go through with a purchase. The other allows them to get the same information with a few clicks of their mouse.
You want your call to action on your website to be clear to your user but to be the most simple and painless step they can take. When it comes to selling online, you don't turn a cold lead into a sale in one fell swoop. It is done through a journey of minuscule actions.
No CTA's At All
The final scenario that I want to discuss is when a website has no CTA's at all. When this is the case, it leaves the user unclear what the next step is. If your ultimate aim is to drive sales for a product, but you have no action for the user to take to reflect that - it becomes the users job to figure out what the next step should be. If a user is asking themselves questions such as "Should I call?", "Should I just go to their store?" or "Should I send them an email?", you have not done your job well. With any single page on your website, it should be abundantly clear what the next step is.
Make no mistake - converting a visitor into a customer is no easy task and not something to be taken lightly. It is critical that you spend time considering your potential customers, what their needs are, and how you can make every single minuscule decision easier for them. When you get in the habit of considering your customer's needs every step of the way, the more success you are going to see.