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6 Reasons Why Nobody Listens to Your CTAs

Jacob Brain


Calls to action are essential parts of any website. That’s because CTAs are where the rubber meets the road. They’re where all of the hard work you’ve done in developing your brand, from offline to online marketing efforts, finally culminates in your visitor taking action.

Whether that’s downloading an eBook, making a phone call, or buying your product, the result is this: when a visitor clicks on your CTA, they’re taking steps down the road that you’ve been paving for them during their whole time on your site.

But what if your visitors aren’t clicking and your conversion rates have fallen through the floor? You may feel like you’re shouting at a brick wall, and hearing nothing back.

Well, you may be making one of these six call-to-action mistakes. Read on to find out why nobody is listening to your CTAs – and what you can do to change that.

1. Your CTA is the wrong color.

I know, I know – this one may make you roll your eyes. Could changing the color of your “Contact Us” button from orange to green really make any difference at all? Will a red button really get more people to click than your current blue button?

Well… maybe. The truth is, there is no one “right” color for CTAs (no matter how much you may love the color blue). What is true, though, is that certain colors will work better on certain pages. Making changes can demonstrably improve your conversion rates – not necessarily because one color is “better” than another, but because certain colors stand out more on certain pages.

2. Your CTA is in the wrong place.

The position of your CTA is another thing you’ll need to test to make sure that you’re getting the best conversion rates possible.

Some of CTA positioning has to do with purely aesthetic design attributes. Does your CTA on the right column of your page look out of place? You may have a design problem.

A mistake that’s made just as commonly, though, is positioning your CTA in a place that doesn’t make logical sense in the flow of the page. Again, there is no single solution for CTA placement (although there are general placements that tend to work). What’s important is making sure that your users have an easy journey through your website.

If you haven’t given them any information yet, don’t hit them over the head with a huge CTA at the top of the page. If your CTA needs to convey a sense of urgency, don’t hide it in the footer below all of your content where nobody will see it.

You need to understand how users are viewing your site. Again, testing can help. You may find that your conversions greatly increase as you move your CTAs to the right spots.

3. You have too many CTAs.

We all know someone who talks a lot – and when we say “a lot”, we’re politely describing an amount of words that would make a used car salesman blush and a librarian explode.

Needless to say, spouting words at a continuous high magnitude comes with side effects. One of the more unfortunate is that nobody ever actually listens to what these people are saying. Their words become background noise.

Ugh. That hurts to look at, right? And yet, I’m sure you’ve been on well-meaning sites where you’ve been bombarded with CTAs from all sides. First, you see a huge CTA at the top of the page, and then a full-screen popup hits you right in the face. A couple of quick jabs from the sidebar call-outs and one final kick from the footer ebook later, and you’re either long gone from the site or just numb to its attacks.

Don’t bombard your viewers with CTAs. Use them judiciously, in places where they will actually add value for your users. Again, choosing the right number of CTAs is all about understanding your user experience. If your users have finished reading about your services and are ready to choose between several service options, show them several CTAs. But don’t just show them CTAs for the sake of shouting at them.

Your message will be lost in the noise.

4. Your CTA isn’t relevant to the rest of the page.

Now we’re getting a little bit deeper. Is your CTA relevant to what your users are looking for? Do they have reason to trust that clicking on your CTA will benefit them based on what you’ve shown them so far?

Your CTA needs to be aligned with what you’re offering on your page. This can be a hard lesson to learn. Many companies are more concerned with what they’re offering than with what their potential customers actually want. They’ll push CTAs that urge users to “Sign Up!” or “Buy Now”, when their viewers are more concerned with gathering information. Or, they’ll push a jumble of information on their viewers when all that their viewers want is a quick and easy buying process.

Make sure that your CTA is aligned to your page in a way that fits into your viewer journey.

5. Your CTA isn’t worth listening to.

At this point, we’ve gotten beyond your actual CTA. Now, we’re talking about what action your CTA is meant to encourage.

Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter if your CTA is well designed, it doesn’t matter if your CTA is the right color, it doesn’t matter if your CTA is in the right place, it doesn’t matter how many CTAs you have – none of that matters if your CTAs aren’t encouraging people towards an action that’s worthwhile.

I love this example (from The Daily Egg): do you remember what it was that compelled you to sign up for Facebook?

Chances are, it wasn’t the color of the button, the design of the sign up page, or the placement of the CTA, even if Facebook does do a nice job with those things.

No, chances are that you signed up for Facebook because you felt like doing so would be valuable to you.

That, ultimately, is the secret to getting good conversion rates on your CTAs: providing something in return that is valuable to your viewer.

6. You haven’t told the right story.

Great, so where does that leave us?

Well, if your business has a website, you probably believe that the products you’re providing are valuable. Your business is designed to meet your customers’ needs, after all. And because your CTAs can play a role in helping you meet customer needs, your CTAs have the potential to be incredibly valuable.

If you’ve covered your aesthetic bases and you’re still getting low CTA conversion rates, it means you’re telling the wrong story.

Go back to the Facebook example. Chances are that, when you signed up for Facebook, you already had a pretty good idea of what you were getting into. You knew what Facebook was, and you wanted to be a part of it. The CTA was conducive to you signing up, but it wasn’t the reason you signed up. You signed up because you liked the story.

How the Story Ends

So, what’s the right story for your site and CTAs? Well, let’s ask the question like this: what do your customers want?

Creating a great story starts with understanding the conflicts that your customers face, and it ends with you providing a product that resolves their needs.

Think of your story as the foundation for customer conversion. It’s not that color, placement, and design aren’t important to your CTAs. It’s just that, without a meaningful story, all of your little optimizations on color, placement, and design will be irrelevant – no matter how pretty they look.

Are you ready to start telling a story that people will actually listen to? We’d love to help. At New North, we love partnering with companies to help them tell their stories in a way that connects with their customers. And we pay attention to the little details, too, to make sure that you get the best possible conversion rates.

From website design, to conversion optimization, to content creation, we can help you to reach your viewers with a message that will resonate.

Get in touch with us, and stop worrying that nobody is listening to your CTAs.

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