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Increase Your Conversion Rate with a Call to Action

by Justin Palmer - August 24th, 2007

When I was in college, I worked part time at an electronics retailer, where I was paid on commission. For the first year or so that I worked there, my sales performance was decent, but nothing spectacular. Many times I would spend hours telling customers the benefits of a product, only to hear them say, “Thanks for the info, maybe I’ll be back.” Then one day I learned an amazing trick to closing more sales, I simply needed to ask for the order. “Would you like to purchase this today?”  

Surprising, this revolutionized my sales. I was shocked that simply asking someone to make a purchase would actually convince them to do so. I always figured that if they wanted it, they would tell me. Man, was I wrong.

The same principle applies to website conversion strategy. If you want somebody to do something, you have to tell them so. From a webmaster’s point of view, when I put a hyperlink in a webpage, I expect people to click on it. After all, I know it’s there, and if the user rolls there mouse over it, they will know it’s there too right?

This is seriously flawed thinking. Recently, I fell in love with the CrazyEgg analytics software. One tool they offer allows you to see a “heatmap” of clicks. In other words, highly clicked areas a different color than rarely clicked areas. You can even see what non-hyperlink elements people are clicking on.

Using this software, I ran a test on a client’s homepage. The splash image for this homepage was full of products displayed in an attractive way. Each product had an image map link going to the product page. Surprisingly though, no one was clicking the products. When we added a simple call to action button, such as “View more” or “See All”, the situation changed dramatically. People began doing that we asked them to.

Studies have shown time and time again that a strong CTA is more effective than a subtle or vague one. For example, “Buy Now” usually works better than “Add to Bag”. “Learn more” is probably more effective than “click here.”

As internet marketers, we can sometimes lose touch with our customers because we don’t see them face to face. For this reason, it’s important to fall back on the basics of salesmanship. Always create a strong, persuasive call to action!

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3 Responses to “Increase Your Conversion Rate with a Call to Action” by Justin Palmer

  1. jspinner Says:

    You are so right. My mother always said, “the squeky wheel gets the oil”. You can’t be subtle all the time. You are 100% right when you sal that you have toask for what you want. Since you are a webmaster, I need your advice specifically regarding a new marketing concept that I recently got into. I need to know if you think this concept has value and is cost effective. Please check it out for me. Here is the link. Thanks, Joe.

  2. June Campbell Says:

    I agree. Good point about the call to action. I also think if you’re going to use image maps, fine, but be sure to put some text on them that uses a call to action as well as a pretty picture. We’re socially conditioned to respond to a direct order. “there’s more information at this link” will never work as well as “visit this link now for more information.”

  3. Joe Trobert Says:

    Hello Justin,
    I absoutely love the information lists of do’s and don’t and suggestions that you posted.
    There is much to it and it’s not always intuitive but clearly explainable and understandable.
    Having said that, we are planning a campaign using a 100,000 email contacts ( by SIC codes ) to computer ISV’s, integrators and those associated with computer software.
    I would like to know if you could review our approach and give me your the suggestions on what changes we should make in order to have the best possible initial and repetitive response rate.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Joe Trobert
    800 432 1255 EST

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