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The more websites we build and the better we get at our trade over the years, the more important having clear and concise ‘Calls To Action‘ on each website we build seems to become.

What Is A ‘Call To Action’?

Calls To Action‘ in the context of a website are actions you want your website visitor to take while on your website…click this, or download that.

Hey! I am an example Call To Action (CTA).

I want you to focus here, and perform some action.

I am some promo text. I can give you some really good reasons to perform the action that I want you to perform.

Much effort and expense is made on the internet in the realm of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to get more traffic to one’s website, but from there, once you have earned some website traffic, the real emphasis should be to get a website visitor to act on something on your website, often known as ‘goals‘ or ‘conversions‘. In a more general sense these types of goals or conversions are the real ‘purpose‘ of your website, and can be referred to as the ‘Calls To Action‘ on your website.

Website Monetization

Typically, particularly if your website represents your business, the main goal of having a website is to make money, known as ‘monetization‘ of your website.

Of course there are exceptions to ‘monetization‘ being the goal of a website for website types like community sites, some non-profits, and even some businesses.

In some cases a business or non-profit just needs what we call a ‘brochure site‘, a website that acts as a living and editable brochure for the organization for purpose of giving them credibility in the marketplace.

But I would argue that even in such cases as a brochure site there is still at least one type of  ‘Call To Action’. In the case of a brochure site the purpose may be to get a customer to review a price list, or to call to place an order, or to download a PDF file of a product/service specification for more understanding of the product or service.

Targeting Customer Engagement On Your Website

The purpose of your website should be to ‘target specific customer engagement’ on your website. That targeted engagement should be in the form of clear and succinct ‘Calls To Action‘ that persuade your website visitor to go down a guided path to a ‘conversion’ on your website.

One of the best ways to target customer engagement on your website is to make a clear path of what you want your visitor to do, make an interactive area on your website that allows the site visitor to engage with you, offer a reward for doing what you want them to do, and then follow up by giving them the reward. The reward can come in the form of a discount on a product/service, a follow up phone call to discuss their needs, a downloadable PDF file such as an eBook, or a reciprocating ‘follow’ on social media.

Calls To Action‘ Hierarchy Priority List

Calls To Action‘ carry different values for different organizations, but in general I believe strongly that for any website there is an hierarchical order of priority for what you want your site visitors to do while on your website. The order of priority for ‘Calls To Action’ will generally be tied directly to their value for any specific organization.

If constructed well, many of the ‘Calls To Action’ can be combined, i.e. a contact form that is successfully submitted can reward the submitter with a PDF download or a coupon for future purchases. Contact forms can also be integrated with professional Email Marketing services (such as Mailchimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, etc.), auto-responders (automated email responses), membership management, and much more. This helps to reduce the clutter on your website and has the important benefit of reducing the number of options you are presenting to your website visitor, therefore streamlining the sales funnel process.

Don’t Make The Common Mistake of Too Many Options

One of the biggest problems that I often see with many websites is that they offer too many Calls To Action. A website should have about 2 main Calls To Action that are clearly defined, and then a few more lesser important Calls To Action are allowable if they are much more subtle and non-distracting from the primary goals. As they say, ‘when everything is important, nothing is important‘.

The Calls To Action Are Your Sales Funnel

The Calls To Action hierarchy is really an inverted ‘sales funnel’. Often your site visitor will begin towards the bottom of the ‘Calls To Action‘ priority list and work their way up…very similar to the process known as a ‘sales funnel‘, where the goal of the ‘broader’ engagements is to lead and guide a ‘prospect‘ down the funnel towards the narrower engagements of converting to a revenue generating, purchasing ‘customer‘. In the case of the ‘Calls To Action‘ priority list the ‘sales funnel’ is inverted, simply meaning that the most important/valuable items are at the top of the list, and your prospect will typically begin towards the bottom and work their way up the chain to the more valuable goals.

What Does Success Look Like?

One of the most important considerations when defining the top ‘Calls To Action’ for your website should be ‘how do you measure success?’, what does success look like?

Since I already made the point that each Call To Action carries a different value for each unique organization, what means success to you may be different than the organization across the street, or the internet. It’s critical that before building your website that you define what success should look like for your website.

For some, a high volume of ecommerce purchases with no phone calls is the best measure of success, for others a phone call leading to a consultative sale over the phone is what means the most to them, for others having someone click on their affiliate banner (earning the site owner a commission) is what it’s all about for them. Others are happy just getting social media followers. There is no ‘one size fits all’.

Measuring Success With Analytics

Once you have defined what success should look like on your website, you’ll need to set up proper ‘analytics‘ with well defined ‘goals‘. Google Analytics does this well and is free, but may take some learning to set up goals. That way you can measure when someone completes one of your goals like making a sale, or signing up for your membership program, or downloading your eBook.

Please leave your comments as to what Calls To Action are the most important to you, and how you set them up on your website for most effectiveness…