The call to action button is a fundamental cornerstone of good web design. We analyze a showcase of real-world call to action buttons to better understand what makes a good call to action and what makes a bad call to action.
A website call to action is as important as BAM! is to Emeril Lagasse. Without an effective call to action no amount of PPC or ad spend will increase your conversion rate because the visitor either won’t want to, know how to or be able to enter your conversion funnel. Let’s take a look at what a few best practice calls to action buttons look like and what some not so best practice calls to action buttons look like.
So what makes a good call to action, well, good?
The call to action button is the strongest and easiest element to find on page:
Vuze.com visitors will have no problem finding the download call to action button. The use of contrasting color, plenty of white space, and placement on both the top and bottom of the page make this call to action findable and effective.
The call to action button includes primary as well as secondary call to actions:
Scoutlabs does a great job of using a primary and secondary calls to action without overwhelming the user with options or buttons. The users eye is immediately drawn to the 14-day free trial call to action button (the most important conversion) but the user will also quickly notice the tour option, which doesn’t overpower the more important conversion (the second most important conversion).
The call to action button is incorporated throughout the site:
Digsby.com allows the user to download their software anywhere on the site, even the blog page. Not all consumers enter conversion funnels on the home page or product page. Some consumers decide to enter the conversion funnel after seeing a forum post, a blog post, an FAQ page.
Call to action button tells the user what to expect:
The Firefox call to action button immediately sets the visitors expectation as to what the download contains. Instead of just saying “Download Now” you can see the language, the cost, the version number, the operating system, and the release notes. Since almost everything the visitor needs to know is in the call to action, the visitor is less likely to ignore the conversion funnel in search of additional information.
The call to action button conveys urgency, ease, or value:
Postbox adds value through the download call to action by adding that its “FREE” 30-day trial and reduces consumer doubt with the purchase call to action by stating it’s a “No Risk Guarantee!” More often than not web sites calls to action simply ask the visitor to Buy Now! without reinforcing the value or ease of the action.
What do bad call to action buttons look like?
The call to action button is found on the homepage and the homepage only:
Here I am on the Compete product and service page…what’s missing? If you’ve sold me on your product after reading about it are you going to force me to go back to the home page to find the call to action? The primary call to action must be located on more than just the homepage! This is a mistake I see time and time again. While it won’t reduce conversions significantly, it most certainly won’t help you increase them.
The call to action button has no clear or focused call to action:
I would have thought that with all the additional revenue BOA made from charging me overdraft fees they could have afforded to clarify their calls to action and created a greater focus. I do see the “open an account” call to action link, but my eyes are brought to 100 other areas before it even reaches that link. The likelihood of me clicking that link right off the bat or even after my second or third visit is very low.
There are too many calls to action buttons:
Why stop at 4 “Start Now’s” when you could have 5 or 6? Rather than force the visitor to choose between four different funnels, create one main call to action that forces the user to enter the funnel and THEN ask them to choose their own path.
The call to action button gets lost in content:
If there’s a call to action somewhere here I sure can’t find it. Can you?
Less important call to action buttons overpower more important calls to action buttons:
Salesforce.com’s main call to action is far from clear. “Editions and Pricing” is not the first phrase or keyword I think of when looking to sign up for my product. What’s worse is that the additional calls to action on the right are much clearer, appealing, and bold thereby detracting attention away from the more important conversion of all – the purchase!
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