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Next Steps + CTAs

No matter the primary goal of your website, you will want your visitors to get a clear idea of their next step(s). No one who comes to your website should ever be left wondering, “Now what?” 🤔

What is a CTA?

CTA (or call to action) is the part of your website that urges the visitor to take the next step, which is almost always whatever action corresponds with your primary goal: sales conversion, lead generation, or brand awareness. The CTA will be a direct ask of the visitor, and it will likely be repeated throughout your website or will at least occur in a couple of different forms

Below are some of the most commonly used CTAs. You’ll notice that these are verbs, words describing the actions that we want the visitor to take.

  • Buy now
  • Purchase
  • Sign up
  • Get started
  • Start a free trial
  • Get in touch
  • Contact us
  • Apply now
  • Learn more

What makes a good CTA?

For a lot of reasons (including accessibility), it’s a good idea to have your CTA be descriptive. Someone should be able to know what will happen if they click on your CTA, which is very commonly a button. “Buy now” is less descriptive than “Buy a self-warming coffee mug now,” but there are instances when design will necessitate a shorter CTA. Try to balance these desires, and avoid vague CTAs like “Click here.”

There’s been some evidence in the last decade or so that the word “get” outperforms other common CTA verbs, so you’ll see lots of iterations of this on the web. (In fact, that’s one reason why you’ll see so many websites, including our own, with “get” in the URL.) If you can create a few “get” CTAs, it may help with conversion, but you shouldn’t shoehorn your copy into an awkward CTA just to be able to use “get.” (Also, oddly enough, “Get started” doesn’t count. This phrasing doesn’t see the same kind of boost that “Get a coffee mug” does over “Buy a coffee mug.” 🤷🏼)

CTA sections

While you may use CTA buttons in the midst of other sections on your website (e.g. in your Home page hero or in your solution section), you will want to have at least one section that is dedicated to your CTA. A lot of times, this can be the last section on your Home page, so if folks scroll through all your content, they are left with a nudge toward your desired outcome.

In these sections, think about what kind of phrases and language might buff up your CTA itself. Include some aspirational language or an especially inspiring quote from your testimonials. You can also leverage ideas like scarcityfear of missing out (FOMO), or prestige to motivate people to take the next step.

Secondary CTAs

While you shouldn’t shy away from the big ask that corresponds with your website goal, that doesn’t mean you can’t include a softer version for folks who might balk at the idea of purchasing or signing up right away. This is called a secondary CTA, and it allows you to capture website visitors even if they aren’t ready to perform your desired outcome yet.

Good secondary CTAs often involve offering something of value to your website visitors. This will differ a lot depending on what you are selling or doing, but here are a few ideas:

  • newsletter is a great marketing tool, and it can serve as a secondary CTA if you put enough effort into it to make it valuable to folks who may not be your customers or clients yet. 📧
  • Take a concept that is crucial to your product/service/etc. or connected in some way, and make an educational PDF that visitors can download if they give you their email address. 🧑‍🏫
  • If you have time, offer free consultations where you don’t try to sell, you just try to help folks figure out their problem/obstacle. 📞 (If you do this for a while and you don’t see great conversion rates, try something else.)

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