Your site looks great. You’re driving traffic and you’re getting sales. But a 2% conversion rate isn’t enough. Sure, that is industry benchmark, but you know there are techniques and strategies out there to boost that number and drive more revenue.

What’s the secret?

Calls to action –– or CTAs.

What are Calls-to-Action?

CTAs are the buttons throughout a site that tell your customers what to do, where to click and what to buy.

Having a clear call-to-action on every page allows you to steer the customer toward the most appropriate spot in your conversion funnel. The recommended action can be direct — buy this product, or simply an innocuous newsletter subscription sign-up button.

By placing the right CTAs on the right pages, you can keep customers engaged without compromising the relationship you’ve built with them.

The actions you recommend should simply align with their interest; someone on a product pages is interesting in buying, while someone on a content page is interested about learning more. The CTA simply aids them in advancing their goal.

Every online business uses CTAs, from the household name brands and platforms you interact with daily (i.e. Facebook and Google) to startups you’ve never heard of. For instance, on Facebook, most of the ads you see have a CTA to download more or read more.

There is no exact science on how to make a CTA more effective. It is important that you test language, colors and placement.



Psychology plays a large role here, too. You’ll see that many CTAs across the web utilize a timeframe factor, like “Show Now,” versus just “Shop” or “Shop Here.” This is because people respond to urgency and scarcity. Putting a timeframe on something compels people to follow through on it in that instance.

Button Placement

“Above the fold” may be an old newspaper term, but it is still alive and well in the digital marketing space. In general, you want to have your CTA land above the fold –– meaning a customer won’t have to scroll through the page to find the button.

You also want to be sure to only offer a few options –– especially as someone gets closer to the checkout point of the conversion funnel.

On your homepage, for instance, you will merchandise your products to pull people in. Once they land on a product page, however, you want to convert them. Here, you’ll want clear CTAs above the fold –– and only those that will increase engagement with your brand or signal desire to move further down the funnel.

In the Saint Heron example below, the team uses only two CTAs: “Add to Bag” and “Add to Wishlist.”

Now, beyond basic best practices for CTAs, there are a wide variety of CTAs you can and should use across your site. Each of them have different purposes.

Think for a moment of the conversion funnel: at each stage you ask for various information, leading to brand discovery and engagement, a sale and then customer lifetime value.

Coupon Codes

Coupon codes are a great way to entice potential future buyers to join your list. Plus, it sends a great signal to your email service that when you send an email, a customer opens it (because there is a coupon in it!).

Use this opportunity to build engagement with your email list, training customers top open your emails every time you send one.

You can use coupon codes in a regular subscription call out on the homepage (like in the examples above) or product page, or use a pop-up like Natori has done. Pop-ups like these more emails than static homepage ones.

 The Buy Button + Add to Cart Button

The Buy Button is probably the most important CTA on your entire site. You want it to stand out. You want it to work exceptionally well. The Add to Cart Button is the second most important CTA on your site. Users must click this before they can even reach the buy button.

If a user hits add to cart but doesn’t hit the buy button, you now have yourself an abandoned cart. Your goal is to 1) get users to click the add to cart button and 2) minimize the friction between add to cart and buy so you can increase conversions.

Let’s take a look at how simple Native Union makes this part of the funnel.


How Not to Use CTAs

While CTAs are the mechanism by which you push customers through your conversion funnel at whichever stage they are at, there is a such thing as overdoing it.

Here are a few tips on what *not* to do when it comes to CTAs.

  • Don’t go crazy: You don’t want your page to be so covered in CTAs they might as well be wallpaper for all the attention they get.
  • Don’t be irrelevant: Make sure your CTAs make sense and that they are always relevant and useful.
  • Don’t let the CTA overshadow the content on the page: Think of CTAs as a quick wave “hello” instead of shouting “over here!” in a megaphone.
  • Don’t let the CTA blend in so much that the eye naturally ignores it.
  • Don’t just add CTAs and never test them: A/B test every single CTA you have again and again. Small changes can seriously increase conversion rate
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