Click Here, Not There: Making Your Calls-To-Action More Effective

Calls-to-action are the most important part of landing pages. In this article, I will provide some recommendations on how to make your CTA’s work better.

A call-to-action, or a CTA, is probably one of the most important parts of a landing page. Usually designed in the form of a button, this short imperative phrase tells the user what action to take. In this article, I will provide some general recommendations on how to make your calls-to-action work better.

  • CTA text

    Avoid vague formulations, such as “Click here”, tell your visitors exactly what you want them to do:  “Sign up for the newsletter”, “Submit the registration form”.  If the phrase used for CTA seems to be very long, you can break it into two parts (e.g. Sign up now – and receive our weekly newsletter). Write the explanatory, second part either below the main CTA (in smaller letters) or put it outside the button – above or below. In the CTA text, you can either evoke the sense of urgency: “Sign up now”, “Limited offer” ; or mention the main benefit for the user: “Get free expert advice”.

  • Number of unique CTA’s

    An older rule prescribes only one unique call to action per landing page. Asking users to perform two or more actions on the same page can confuse them when navigating. However, sometimes there are two or even more options a user may have on the same landing page, depending on their stage in the buying process or their buyer type. An example would be offering to sign up for the trial or taking a feature tour first. In this case you would need two CTA buttons. They can be positioned next to each other or one on top of the other. Usually, the more important one of the two CTAs comes first and is highlighted graphically (e.g. with a brighter color).

  • CTA design

    In designing your CTA’s, you will need to balance two requirements: first, your CTA should look like an organic element of the landing page, and second, it should have enough contrast to the rest of the page to be noticed and clicked. Make your button 3-dimensional: use gradients and shadowing to get that “clickable” look. Also, an arrow within the button or outside it can have a positive influence on conversion.

  • CTA color

    It is believed that buttons with signal colors (red or orange) work better, however, do not sacrifice the look of your page in favor of a red button if does not match the overall design. You may also use some creativity and add texture or pattern to the design of your button, but only if this goes well with the look of the page and the product you are offering. Remember that in any case, the CTA text must remain clearly readable.

  • CTA positioning

    Placing the CTA button “above the fold” as the first element on the page seems like a good idea. However, visitors might not be ready to perform the desired action until they know more about what you have to offer. So I would recommend listing your main benefits first and then introducing the first CTA. A widely used strategy for longer landing pages is several CTA buttons (one above and one or two below the fold). In this case, make sure that your buttons look the same and contain the same text, otherwise it may look confusing.

  • CTA size

    Make sure that the CTA you make has large (but not disproportional) size, in order to be noticed by users “skimming” the page.  Regardless of the size, you need to leave enough white space around the CTA: this will make the button recognizable in the text flow.

The given recommendations can help you to improve the click-through rate of a CTA. However, to achieve maximum results on your particular landing page, A/B testing is recommended.

Examples of CTA buttons

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How to write for the online reader

How to write online
A laptop (Source: Unsplash)

In this article I would like to talk about how people usually read online and how it will affect your writing.

  • People seldom read for pleasure on the Internet. Most of the time they look for particular information or research on a subject.

Use headlines to give a precise idea about the content you offer. Do not write headlines in obscure style, hoping that the reader will be intrigued by it. Most of the time, if users see no direct relevance to their search in the headline, they hit the “back” button.

  • People tend to scan rather than read, which means that they read less attentively. They also sometimes skip sections of text.

Use subheading as signposts to help your readers find better orientation in your content. Structure your text clearly: include one idea per paragraph and start your paragraph with this key idea. Use bulleted or numbered lists, where appropriate. Make sure to adjust the anchor text of your links: “learn more about our program” instead of “click here”.  Use images that support the main idea of your text and do not forget about captions, as well as <alt> and <title> tags.

  • Users generally prefer informal, easy-to-read texts

Write in shorter sentences and paragraphs. Use active voice instead of passive constructions. Apply personal pronouns instead of naming yourself or the user (“we” instead of “our company”, “you” instead of “the reader”).

  • Readers respect authoritative sources and look for supportive data

Do not hesitate to quote other sites in your content, as long as they have authority and credibility. Also, avoid exaggerated language and try to convince readers based on facts about your products or services. Include any important details or technical data, but place them in separate sections on your website, not on the main page. If you link to documents for download, mention the format and the size of the file.

  • Users expect up-to-date content

Set up “an expiry date” for every piece of content you produce, either in your CMS system  or in your editorial calendar. Some articles will have longer “life” than others (food recipes vs live-ticker of a football match).  Make sure to review and update the articles regularly. Also, periodically curate and improve the existing content, especially on pages with higher bounce rates. 

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Men Shop on Mars, Women Shop on Venus: Gender in E-Commerce

This post is a recap of the 20th E-Commerce Forum at Flagbit in Karlsruhe that was dedicated to the topic of gender in e-commerce.

gender in e-commerce
Source: Unsplash

The presenter, Astrid Wunsch, spoke about the gender-related differences in buying behavior that any online-shop owner needs to consider. The presentation was followed by a lively discussion and experience sharing. Summarizing the main points, the following recommendations can be given.

  • Consider who your audience is. Even though your products will mostly define who your target customers are (make-up products as a female domain, vs. men shopping for electronic goods), do not simply make assumptions without checking your customer data. For example, on the website selling vacuum cleaners, 2/3 of buyers were female. Also consider cross-buying, e.g. women buying clothing for their husbands. On a voucher aggregator platform, one of the most popular vouchers selected by men was that of a perfume shop.
  • Adjust the buying process in your shop. Men are normally result-oriented and know what kind of product they want. They prefer clear-structured shops with search and filter functions and few distractions. Women, on the contrary, like looking around and enjoy the buying experience itself. Their buying decision takes longer, as they need to consider a number of alternatives first. Women also like to be advised in the buying process,  so it is a good idea to set up a live chat or a customer hotline.
  • Think about product presentation. Male users need technical data and product details. They prefer to see the product in 3-dimensional view, isolated from context or other products. They also respond positively to product videos. Female customers pay more attention to colors and patterns of a product page. They also like to see products in real-life context, surrounded by other objects and performing their function. Women get more influenced by stories and testimonials around products, as well as positive social media signals.

In Europe, buying power of women is constantly increasing, and besides, women influence over two thirds of all buying decisions. Nevertheless, most online shops and websites in general still appeal to and made for a male audience. Maybe it is time to start thinking in the other direction?

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Don’t Dive Off the Shallow End: 7 Rules for Web Content Creation

7 rules to help making content creation within an organisation easier. Includes content framework and other advice.

Content Marketing is one of the biggest trends now. However, as with many fast-developing Internet trends (SEO or Social Media in the past), there is an urge to do something but little understanding of how it has to be done.

7 Rules for Web Content Creation

 

In this article I want to share 7 basic time-saving rules for crafting Web content.

1. Have a concept

Consider creating a content framework where you define your cornerstones:

  • Who are the readers of the content? What motivates them?
  • At what stage of the buying process are the readers?  How high is their level of awareness of the subject on which you are writing ?
  • What do you want to achieve by creating the content? Look at this from several angles: the customer (information needs), the company (e.g. customer retention), and additional benefits (e.g. SEO).
  • How would that content fit in the overall company strategy and the current marketing campaign?
  • Which format is the most appropriate? Do not just think in terms of blog posts: white papers, infographics, press releases, tweets, online tests, presentations — these are all valid and working formats of online content.

2. Have a plan

If you are writing within an organization, treat your content creation process like any other project. Define the roles, the responsibilities and the deadlines. Think about the stages the project will go through (briefing, planning, first draft, correction, second draft, etc), and how different roles are involved at each stage. Do not forget about the documentation of the process: either use a project management tool you have, or place your project schedule on a shared resource, Intranet or cloud-based.

3. Have a structure

This might remind you of the school times, but do create a detailed plan of what you want to write about. If there is limited space (e.g. on an infographic), note down the required length of text blocks.

If you are writing a white paper or a blog article, decide in how many smaller parts you will divide it and how to structure them. Generally, consistency is the keyword. The paragraph headings should be of the same format and the text parts of the same length.

Do not forget about the main idea that holds all of your text bits together and contributes to the strength of your argument. And even though users online are said to read diagonally, introduction and conclusion (or summary) are still the important parts of any text.

4. Be brief

“People online do not read”. It is, of course, an exaggeration, but keep it in mind when starting a writing task. What does it imply?

  • Add visuals and make your content as appealing as possible (use colors and highlighters where appropriate, but do not overdo).
  • Make sure your paragraphs and sentences are short and easily digestible. Use bullet lists to present a series of arguments.
  • Use paragraph headings as pivot points to keep the user reading by arousing his or her interest in what comes next.
  • Within your text, avoid unnecessary padding such as filler phrases and redundancies. In short, if you can say the same thing with fewer words, go for it.

5. Be precise

Because of the usual practice of skimming through Web pages, the information is often misinterpreted or badly understood. Highlight the most important points through moderate repetition and rewording. You may use the writing formula: “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell it to them, and then tell them what you have just told them” for delivering your main message. Having a consistent structure and writing correctly will also help to improve the preciseness of your expression.

6. Be correct

Even though the Internet seems to accept rather causal style, your text has to be correct. Ask other project participants to proofread your text, and work with credible sources to polish your writing and achieve grammatical and stylistic correctness. I use the Associated Press Stylebook, but there are other style guides, as well as dictionaries, grammar checking software and content creation tools you can use. Be aware that the norms in the US and UK English are different, so choose one language variant and stick to it.

7. Be true

Apart from grammar, factual correctness is important. Even when producing marketing texts, observe the boundary between promoting a product and misinforming your readers.

  • Research. Have you done thorough research on the topic? Research may include field tests, talks to product experts or to the customers, or information from special literature or industry press.
  • Citations. Are the sources you quote trustworthy? Is the information you use still up-to-date?
  • Details. Does your text cover the topic well or does it leave a lot of open questions? Can the reader follow your line of argument without interruption?

In conclusion, there is no magic wand for creating marvelous content within minutes. Writing a good text takes a lot of time and (collaborative) effort. But having a plan and working through it consistently will make content creation easier and accelerate your learning curve.

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Mobile Marketing KPIs: What to Consider

This post gives an overview of essential mobile marketing KPIs that would be considered for a performance dashboard. It also outlines a general framework of how these KPIs relate to each other.

mobile_kpis
Mobile marketing KPIs structure

Conversion funnel is an important part of any performance dashboard. The funnel shows how the user travels through different stages and interacts with the ad and then with the product.  A simple conversion funnel for a mobile marketing display campaign advertising for an app would be:  Impressions-Clicks-Installs-First Interaction, with percentage share between them.

Return KPIs can be measured as monetary values: revenue per user, lifetime user value, etc. However, non-monetary KPIs (number of installs, daily active users, daily active paying users, average session length, etc.) are also important, especially in the cases where monetization is detached from the download (free apps or image campaigns).

Cost KPIs will largely depend on your payment model for the advertising. Possible ways are:

Cost per mille (per thousand impressions)

Cost per click

Cost per install (also possible: cost per lead, cost per download)

Cost per engagement

Cost per revenue or revenue share models

ROI is calculated as a percentage share of return on what has been invested in advertisement, for a product that does not monetize immediately, the ROI is calculated per time period (daily, weekly) in user cohorts.

The framework at the bottom of the picture shows how the KIPs can be adapted to achieve a significant level of preciseness and data consistency.

Timeframe includes both how the KPIs are aggregated (daily, weekly, monthly) and what time periods they cover (past, current or future/trend data).

Segmentation is essential for getting the working data. Making the segments too broad will impact the data consistency negatively and working with micro-segments is mostly too difficult to implement and does not allow to make solid conclusions based the data sample.  As an example, consider segmenting the data by country or region, by traffic channel or by device type.

Sample statistics includes the parameters that analyze the quality of data and how the sample behaves in general. Instead of just aggregating and averaging the data, consider such parameters as median, min. and max. amounts and standard deviation. Besides, look at the size of the segments you work with: which of those have the strongest impact and why? Also, learn to recognize patterns in your timeframe, and how the data fluctuates on a daily, weekly or seasonal basis.

After you have decided on the KPI data you will include for your dashboard and reporting, consider making the data more visual and more structured for the intended users. In one of my next posts, I will cover the issue of data visualization in more detail.

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