cta - call to action

Call to action is a term used for elements in a web page that ask a user to perform some type of action. The most popular manifestation of call to action on charity websites comes in the form of clickable buttons that when clicked, perform an action like making a donation or signing a petition.

Although it’s a tiny element of your website, your call to action button is nevertheless one of the most powerful elements on your pages. Done right, optimising your call-to-action button can have a huge affect on click-throughs and conversion rates and therefore increase the amount of leads you capture or donations to your appeals and campaigns.

The design, style and language used to create your CTA’s can have a huge impact on how likely your visitors are likely to respond. Applying these foundational rules to your button designs will help increase the chances of them standing out for your visitors and being clicked more often.

Use actionable language

Your button should use action-oriented language and include a reference on what it is the customer is getting — for example ‘Give food to starving children’, is far more compelling than ‘Donate today’.

Make it clickable

Make it look like a button — give it depth with gradients, drop-shadows or both.  If it looks flat and unclickable it could be just another design element on the page. You can also increase the feeling of interaction by including a rollover state where the color or depth changes when you hover the mouse over it.

Making your CTA stand out

A common mistake is to make your call-to-action area blend in with your website.  So when you’re encouraging visitors to fill out a form and click on that ‘submit’ button, make sure it’s easy for visitors to see where they should complete that action.

While you can use the same elements of your existing colour scheme, keep in mind that you always want your main call-to-action (CTA) to really POP off your landing page. It is a good idea to give your button and the background of the page area where your offer is, enough contrast to where they immediately draw the eye in to read more. Contrasting colors are the best way to make your button stand out from the rest of the page. Choose the color that makes it stand out the best, rather than the color you like the best.

Positioning your call to action button 

The button should be placed in a prominent position that will draw attentions.  The button is a part of the whole design of the page so it is impossible  to know exactly where the button should be positioned.  I recommend you test it, though, because positioning a call to action at the right point on your page is critical to drawing the eyes of visitors, and thus getting visitors to donate or otherwise do what you want them to.

Include a click trigger to increase conversions

A click trigger is any message that’s positioned near a key call to action, with the express purpose of compelling people to click the button. They knock barriers out of the user’s path, make worries go far away, and call dreamlike attention to what you want them to do, why they should do it, just when they need that information to make a decision.

For greatest impact, a click trigger should a) neutralize a key anxiety that is likely to keep your prospect from moving forward or b) amplify the value of proceeding, which is all about reminding your prospect of what motivated them to seek you out in the first place, what value you offer, what benefit they’ll derive. If you’re offering an incentive, your click trigger may be that incentive.

Don’t forget to test your Call To Action

It may sound strange to test your call-to-action — after all, it’s just a sentence or two and a button, but small changes can make a big difference to your conversion rates. Sometimes you find some really peculiar results that seem counter-intuitive but make a huge difference to how your pages perform.

Calls to action are generally very easy to test (with tools like Optimisely and UnBounce). That’s because they’re so contained, compared to testing, say, tone, and conversions are directly tied to them. Swap one design for another, or swap copy on each design.