Article written by Leo Welder, founder and CEO of Zilker Holdings, LLC
Creating a new website for your business is an exciting process. In your mind, you’ll be thinking of all the great things about you, your team, your services and your products that you want to share with your visitors. You’ll tell them why you’re the best at what you do and all the reasons people should want to buy from and work with you.
After you’re done brainstorming all of these great ideas, don’t forget the most important piece of the puzzle. What is the next step for users after visiting your site? Do you want them to call you? Fill out an application? Make an appointment? This is where goals and calls to action become necessary to your success.
If you’re not building an ecommerce website, this step is often given very little attention. Site owners spend all of their time creating content they want to share with their audience, rather than on the actions their sites’ visitors should take. By clearly defining goals for your website, building distinct and useful calls to action and employing useful tracking tools, you will turn your website from a neat project into a powerful marketing tool.
Set Website Goals
When you’re thinking through the design of your site, you need to decide on its objective. If you’re an electrician, you probably want someone to call you, send you an email or complete a “contact us” form. If you own a restaurant, you want people to come to the restaurant or make a reservation. These are examples of goals for your website, and you need to make sure that you build your site with the intention of achieving them. You know your business better than any web designer; therefore, you are the best person to determine your site’s goals.
Call Them To Action
In order to encourage people to take the actions defined by your goals, you need to make it clear and obvious what you want them to do and how they can do it. These are called calls to action (CTAs). CTAs can vary from something as subtle as a phone number on the top of the page to an in-your-face pop-up asking if you want a free quote. In order to decide on an appropriate CTA, you need to think about your audience and the best way to motivate them. Here are some examples of CTAs commonly employed:
- Request a Quote Form: This is a form you can create, allowing visitors to receive a quote your services upon completion. Don’t ask for too much information here, or people won’t fill it out. Once you have their contact info, you can always reach out for more details.
- Whitepapers or eBooks: If you write a valuable article with useful information that is relevant to your prospects, you can fairly request them to fill out a contact form in exchange for access to that article. These should be differentiated from blog posts, or other articles, and have some basic design.
- Coupon: Use coupons or discount offers to encourage your prospects to take action on your site.
- Button: Place buttons on your site with text like “Sign up” or “Free Quote” to make the next step more obvious to your site’s visitors.
- Pop-up: Pop-ups are often considered “spammy,” but, if used properly, they can be effective and helpful to visitors. For example, if someone has been on a product description page for more than ten seconds, you can have a small window pop up asking if the person would like more information and directing them to a phone number, contact page, or possibly even offering to chat with them live directly in the pop-up window.
- Contact Us: A “contact us” page is typically included on any site, but make sure that you don’t hide the navigation to this page if your goal is to have people contact you. People typically know to look for a contact us page, but it helps to make it easy to find.
Where Should You Put Calls to Action?
CTAs should be prominently displayed “above the fold” – high enough on the page, so a person doesn’t have to scroll down to see it, as well as at any point in your content where a CTA fits naturally. Phone numbers and “contact us” navigation should be on every page. If you’re offering a free quote, clearly place this CTA in the upper right corner, ensuring it will stand out without interfering with the usability of the page. When using buttons, be careful not to overuse them. You want buttons to stand out from the rest of your content – if you use too many of them, they will lose their effect.
Tracking and Testing
In order to make sure that your calls to action are effective, it is extremely important to put some kind of tracking on your site. Google Analytics is free, easy to use and very popular, but there are dozens of other options. Using tracking tools, you’ll be able to see how people are using your site, and if your CTAs are effective. You should also run tests by moving or changing your CTAs and using your analytics to monitor the effects of your changes. Tracking your site’s analytics is one of the most effective ways to maximize your site’s impact.
Leo Welder is the founder and CEO of Zilker Holdings, LLC, which owns and operates a series of websites, like FindAFax.com, that provide comparison and review information for small business tools.