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How to Drive Conversions with Effective Call to Action Elements

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), responsive design and content marketing are core elements within any good marketing campaign. In order to create conversions, you also need a strong Call to Action (CTA) that improves your metrics. Engaging your audience and creating opportunities for them to purchase a product, sign up for a subscription, or otherwise convert is one of the main goals for marketing your business. Successfully growing your engagement will increase your conversion rate – read on to learn more…

A suggested prerequisite

Another article that relates to this subject is, “Engage Your Readers with Emotional Triggers in Content,” which you will want to read in conjunction to this blog post.

The article discusses which emotions to trigger in order to reach your marketing goals, and how some successful companies are using emotion within marketing campaigns. When writing CTAs, you will want to keep the emotions of your readers in the back of your mind – specifically love, greed, fear, duty, and honor, since these are the feelings that drive sales.

Defining the primary CTA for any piece of content

Before you start plastering CTAs all over your website, take some time to ensure your content is aligned with your website goals. If you run an eCommerce website, for example, the main goal might be to get readers to “shop” or “buy.” If you run a brick and mortar store, you might want website visitors to “call” or “come in.” If you are trying to build a contact list, it may be best to ask users to “subscribe.” Your business goals will help you define the primary action you want people to take. This is your primary CTA.

The importance of secondary CTAs

With the addition of a good secondary CTA, you are providing an alternate action for a potential customer to take. This supplementary content will provide users with something to do, should they choose not to take advantage of your primary CTA, or if they are returning visitors who have already engaged with it.

Secondary CTAs can be used to help readers navigate to different pages on your website or to external brand pages. By leveraging them, you can start taking control over the actions that your viewers take, directing them into conversions. If your primary CTA is “shop now,” a good secondary CTA might be “sign up” (for a newsletter or to receive promotions).

When should you use a CTA?

You should use a CTA whenever you want a user to take action. This can be on your website or blog, in the realm of social media, within external content or emails, or anywhere else you are interacting with potential customers.

In general, CTAs should be used:

  • When someone first lands on your site.
  • When someone finishes viewing a piece of content.
  • As someone is scrolling down a page.
  • When someone wants to move away from your website or content.

Be careful about how you present this information to your viewers…. Some will appreciate giving you feedback or signing up for emails after viewing specific content, but some users may feel trapped if they are presented with a CTA that prevents them from leaving your website. Keep in mind that your user experience is, first and foremost, your highest priority. If you need to present a CTA to users who are exiting your website or cancelling an account, do it as non-invasively as possible.

Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes and ask yourself what would motivate you to engage in a CTA, and also, what would repel you. Asking yourself these questions will give you the best ideas and help you to engage with your customers in the most effective way. If users feel you are on their side and their needs are the most important, they will more likely engage with you.

How to use CTAs in your page headers

When a visitor arrives on your website, the content that is immediately visible is above what is called a fold line. Check out Mouseflow’s Scroll Heatmaps to learn more about this.

A fold line tells you where the page cuts off for the average user, meaning that the average user has to scroll down to see the content below the fold line. The content above the fold line gets the most attention, which is why you should place your most important content there.

You should be interested in taking advantage of this page space, because there’s a chance that your reader will move away after just a few seconds. You can minimize the likelihood of this by giving them something else to do – an action to take.

Creating Your Primary CTA
Your page header is likely to include your logo, company name, page title, navigation, and maybe even an image – find a place in your header where you can place your primary CTA, as well. Depending on the page, this should be something like, “register,” “sign up,” or “shop.” Make sure to follow modern design standards when you implement this by working with web designers to determine the best layout.

By utilizing a highly visible color that compliments the page design, you can make your primary CTA stand out. It should also be accompanied by verbiage that creates a sense of urgency, like “now,” or “today.” This will trigger visitors to want to click.

On the Mouseflow website, the primary CTA is a green colored button, placed in the top right corner of the screen header. It stands out in color but is in alignment with the theme. The text used on the button is “Sign Up Now.” This is the perfect example of a well-executed primary CTA.

Creating Your Secondary CTA
After you’ve inserted your primary CTA in the header of your site, think about what you want the secondary CTA to be. Ask yourself the following: Once readers have already converted at my primary CTA, what should they have instant access to when they return to my site? This will be your secondary CTA, and it should be very close in proximity to your primary CTA.

Since we’re already here, let’s use Mouseflow as an example again: The secondary CTA, “log in,” is placed directly next to the primary CTA at the top of the header. This CTA does not stand out from the rest of the page header; the design is exactly the same as the rest of the navigation menu. What gives this piece of content visibility is its position in relation to the (bolder) primary CTA.

Utilize your sidebar space

Another area of your website that tends to grab user attention is your sidebar – use this space to place another primary CTA. The Mouseflow blog does a great job of this too:

To compliment primary sidebar CTAs, you can also use secondary CTAs in the same way as you do in page headers… close to the primary CTA, but not as bold or visible. Some websites use CTAs above all of their widgets, and in each section (categories, recent posts, etc.) to help get readers to click. These tactics are all worth testing on your own site.


Compelling calls to action are what directs traffic on your website to drive conversions. They should be strategically crafted to help you reach your business goals. There are notable differences between primary and secondary CTAs – use them whenever you want someone to take action.

This article discusses how to plan CTAs, specifically for use in your website header and sidebars.

Start implementing these advanced strategies today.

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Megan Hicks crafts content for Write This Essay and is always on the lookout for the new ways to promote it.