Updated: Dec 12, 2019
What’s an online Call-to-Action?
An online Call to Action or CTA – is a popup screen, button, sidebar that appears on a page or multiple pages of your site and effectively stops your visitors from reading the page and encourages them to perform some kind of action. Let’s take the why and then the how of this process one-step-at-a-time:
Let’s begin with the concept of CTAs. In marketing/selling terms – both on and offline - the CTA tells your listener/prospective client to do something. In any business discussion you must tell a person what you want her/him to do, otherwise the conversation is forgotten and no result follows. Saying something as simple as "Let's discuss this in more detail next Tuesday at 2:00" or "I'll send you details of my proposal today" are great CTAs.
On a website, the visitor carries out all the actions - she/he clicks a link, scrolls down a page and so on. If you want the visitor to take some kind of action you must force the issue with a visual cue – a popup screen, button, sidebar - that appears on your site and encourages the visitor to perform some kind of action.
The 15 second widow of opportunity We all spend mere seconds in any one site we visit. Statistics tell us that over half of all visitors to your site will spend about 15 seconds there. What's more, it seems that if you can get a visitor to stay on your site for 30 seconds she/he may stay for much longer - maybe even a whole minute or two, which is the online version of ‘forever and a day’!
With a 15 second window of opportunity, we must grab the attention of your visitors in the first 10 seconds of their visit or they are going to click out and go on to the next site or on to their next task.
How I visit a site I can tell you that personally my first visit to any site – for any reason – follows this pattern (even if a google search takes me to a specific page): I will take a peak at the home page and look at the main menu, scroll down to the footer to find, usually, a more detailed menu and I'm gone. Sometimes I do take a longer tour including my peak at the Home page, a click on the services/solutions tab to see the list, an actual click to the Contact page and sometimes an actual click on the About page.
These clicking, staying and leaving behaviors are described in technical terms as bounce rates and dwell times. You can find explanations of these terms and what they mean for your site in countless blogs; my favorite (because it is short and to the point and with plenty of links) is http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/06/10/dwell-time.
Grabbing your visitor's attention Let’s get back to getting visitors, including ones as jaded as myself, to stay or at least make an effort to stay on your site and let’s get back to our 15 second window of visitor opportunity. Short bursts of incredible, valuable content and images on your Home page will grab their attention and keep them for the 15 seconds; but I believe that in our pop-up MTV world, where something is always happening on the screen - a CTA popup screen, button or sidebar is the attention grabber of choice during those critical first 10 seconds of your visitor’s time on your site.
Creating the CTA Popup The CTA popup mechanism should be a feature of your web design platform; Wix has it (www.wix.com) and I am sure other platforms have their own versions as well.
The CTA popup usually takes the form of a whole window, side window or button that pops up with a one to two seconds delay when a page is opened. Usually the text of the pop up is found in a box of a solid color and the screen around is covered in an opaque color. This allows the visitor to see your screen, but draws her/his attention to the actual CTA. There should be an easily visible X in one corner of the CTA for the visitor to click to close the box. I personally get very upset when I can’t easily find the X and leave the site in a huff if it is not readily available!
The short delay allows the visitor to understand that the site has opened and the CTA popup displays a point of interest, usually a sign up form for a newsletter or an announcement of a sale or new product line or an event. The visitor can sign up or click the X to close.
Keep your CTA screens interesting Keep your CTA screens interesting and fresh by trying and changing different forms of CTAs on important site pages to see what works and what doesn’t. Try buttons instead of screens or side screens instead of whole screens. Change colors, texts and even different delay times to keep the CTA new and attention-grabbing, but don’t make the delay time too long or the visitor will leave your site before she/he even gets a chance to see your CTA screen. Try different CTAs on the pages important to you. I have two different CTAs: one on my Home page and one on my Blog page; each has the same basic signup message for my newsletter.
CTAs can be a great way to keep visitors on your site and to get them involved in a particular point of interest, such as a newsletter, sale or event. CTAs are not a do-it and forget-it feature, but an important part of keeping your website fresh, timely and interesting. For small business owners, the time invested in creating and maintaining CTAs can have big rewards. Go out there and create a great CTA today!
Do you want to open yourself to a more successful business? Are you lost in the social media jungle? Let me help you re-energize your business and rediscover your passion in your profession. We’ll work together to improve your online exposure and find the perfect target markets for your business.
Contact me today to schedule a free introductory meeting. Yochi Eisner | 052-3413249
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