Close Encounters with Call to Actions

There’s a wonderful scene from the classic Steven Spielberg Close Encounters movie where abducted people are brought back to Earth. They gingerly emerge from the blinding light of the futuristic alien ship, disoriented, and slightly bedraggled. As they appear, they begin to transform from faceless silhouettes, into living breathing humans, waiting to rejoin society.

This is admittedly a very tenuous link to today’s article: converting your faceless anonymous website visitors into actual humans (you can talk to).

Website Purpose

Ecommerce websites aside, the purpose of most websites is to help showcase their products & services and to positively represent their brand online. Anonymous website visitors land on the website, they navigate around, hopefully having an engaging brand experience, encouraging them to take further steps.

We help our anonymous online visitors take these further steps by offering them “call to actions” (or CTAs for short). CTAs typically take the form of buttons and encourage our website visitors to take a particular action. Examples of call to actions are:

  • Phone you
  • Email you
  • Submit your contact form
  • Use another type of form (e.g. quote request)
  • Download a resource such as PDF (e.g. an eBook). No details required.
  • Download a resource such as PDF. Email address required (this is a type of form).
  • Register (again, a type of form, really).
  • Buy something (whether a standalone product, or perhaps you run an ecommerce store).

As soon as we can encourage our visitors to take action they, like the abductees emerging from the alien ship, are converted from anonymous entities, into living breathing humans who we can have further conversations with.

Which CTAs should I have?

At the very least, you should have a contact page that has a contact form. You can then have ‘contact us‘ sprinkled across the website, and on your primary navigation.

If you are an avid blogger, regularly creating top-quality content of interest to your audience (ahem! like this post?!) then why not encourage people to sign up to your newsletter.

If you are creating white papers or Books etc, these can also be excellent teasers to help your anonymous website visitors part with their email address. Note: it should go without saying that you can only use the personal information that people submit in a manner that is compliant with what the person thought they were signing up for – yes, we are taking GDPR etc here.

How many CTAs should I have?

You should have as many as you need….but no more than that.

If you offer people too much choice, they get snow blind by options, and will hesitate. Less is definitely more here.

Also bear in mind that CTAs have a hierarchy. E.g. if someone signs up for your email newsletter list, then they can receive a future notification about your latest blog post – you can’t bombard them with sales calls etc. Whereas, if they have submitted a ‘quote request‘ form, they are certainly looking for sales information etc.

If we can do more with people who have submitted a targeted CTA (e.g. ‘quote request‘), rather than a newsletter signup, then you might be excused for thinking “why not just have the quote request“? The problem here is that a typical quote request form needs the online visitor to enter more fields than a more simple newsletter signup form.

As people’s attention span on line is finite, it pays to have a low barrier method of conversion (e.g. a newsletter signup that just asks for an email address). When people are on that email list, they will be reminded of your business in future emails – keeping you front and centre in their thoughts. Also, such newsletter update emails can also make passing reference to your ‘quote request’ and other CTAs – giving you a second bit of the apple in terms of getting them to engage with you on the next level.

Also bear in mind that your online visitors will be in different parts of the buying process: some will be making very early exploratory searches (therefore a newsletter signup might be all they need, they are certainly not ready to buy), some may well be much further down the road and are looking to buy today – your website needs to be trimmed to handle all of their needs.

How you delicately balance your website so as not to overwhelm all your website visitors, well, that’s the job of gifted WordPress designers :)

The End

Hopefully this gives you some food for thought in terms of call to actions on your website. Ideally you want a CTA or two on each page of your site – though that is not a hard and fast rule – remember, less can be more here.

Armed with this knowledge you now should be able to able to make the most of your close encounters with your website visitors (groan, sorry, couldn’t resist that).


p.s. Feel free to jump over to our Facebook Group to chat about this topic.


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