Think about the last time you went into a retail store. Every square foot of the store, besides the aisles, was probably being used to sell something.
- Every shelf was stacked with products or advertisements
- Every end-cap was packed from top to bottom
- Every checkout lane was full of drinks, snacks, and electronics
They used every square inch of the store for maximum commercial benefit. They treated it like the valuable real estate that it is.
That’s how you should treat your website. As your commercial real estate on the Internet. It’s incredibly valuable.
You might not need to go to that extreme, but if every page isn’t used to its full potential, you’re missing opportunities.
Having plenty of calls to action is the marketing website equivalent of a packed retail store.
Instead of products on every end-cap, you’ll have a clear call to action (CTA) on every page. You’ll use every opportunity to get your visitors closer to the sale.
It’s all about lead-generation
The whole purpose of a CTA is to generate leads. That way you can take people on your customer journey.
Since most of them won’t be ready to buy right now; you’ll keep in touch with them, regularly show up and provide value, and keep yourself top of mind. Then when they do need what you sell, you’ll be the obvious choice.
What is a call to action?
Generally, a call-to-action is just asking your website visitors to do something:
- Subscribe to your newsletter
- Connect on social
- Share a blog post
- Fill out a form
- Get in touch to chat about a product or service
Depending on the design and layout of your site, this can be done in a few different ways.
It used to be commonly done with overlays. They would pop up, interrupt your flow through the site, and force you to pay attention.
Those things are annoying. I’m not in favor of forcing visitors to do anything. I think it lowers the quality of the user experience (UX).
If your content is good, and your visitors find it valuable, then you shouldn’t have to force anything on them.
I personally disregard any site the moment something pops up over the page or tries to forcefully get me to click something. It just seems pushy and desperate.
How to do it
Whatever you do, make sure you only add one CTA to each page. They don’t have to be the same, you can have different ones for different pages depending on the goal of the page.
Just make sure each page has one, and only one.
Wider screens have room for a sidebar to the left or right of the main content. If your site has a sidebar this is a great place to put a CTA.
It used to be common to pack the sidebar with as much as you possibly could, but I think it’s better to keep it clean and focused.
When the screen gets narrow, it’s common for this to drop below the content. At this point, it becomes a bottom-of-the-post CTA.
Bottom of the post
When your visitor reads to the bottom of your content, you can have a CTA ready for them. If they read that far they probably enjoyed your content.
If there’s no CTA, you probably missed your opportunity. And they won’t make an effort to do anything else.
If you want to ask your reader to do something before they get to the bottom of the content, you can put a CTA in line with the content.
This is usually the same type of CTA you would have in the sidebar or at the bottom of the post. It’s usually designed to stand out and has an image, some text, and a form.
But it can also be a simple text link guiding the reader somewhere else on your site.
This is usually a large button in a special action color, used only for things like CTAs, and nothing else.
It can go anywhere on the site. You commonly see these in the navigation at the top of a site. That way no matter what page you go to, it’s always up at the top ready to be clicked.
You want the text on the button to inspire action. Avoid using generic words like send or submit. There are unlimited reasons for people not to click it, so do everything you can to get them to take that last step.
The best buttons use action phrases like “get my free consult” or “send me my free e-book”.