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What You Need to Create an Effective Call to Action

Dart being thrown into bull's eye. Creating an effective call to action for your site.
One of the most crucial elements of a well designed website is the call to action, where readers are compelled to make a purchase or sign up for more information. Like the game of Chess, it is something simple to understand and yet difficult to artfully master.
A mistake many tend to make is focusing all of their energy on writing engaging copy. In doing so, they either forget the call to action entirely, or don't place enough emphasis on developing powerful messaging to clinch the sale. Don't be mistaken—the copy you include is important! It tells visitors why they need your product or service, and why what you offer is the best decision they can make. However, the call to action is what puts your readers over the top. You want the copy to whet their appetite, and the call to action to be the final bit of motivation they need to go from "maybe" to "yes"!

What you need to design an effective call to action:

1. Limited Options
There is truth that you can have too much of a good thing. Research has shown that giving customers too many choices can overwhelm and lead to fewer sales. Your call to action should contain just one to two of your products to choose from, with very simple ordering instructions. Use strong action words: buy, call, join now!
2. Added value
Being able to offer your customer a bonus, something extra for acting immediately is a great way to increase conversions. Unless it is a necessity, most of us tend to window shop and not commit to a purchase until we feel compelled to do so. An attractive bonus can give you the edge among your competition.
Alternatively, having some sort of guarantee in place (such as "No Risk" or the ability to cancel anytime) is another great way to add value. This assurance helps to reduce customer stress, which in turn makes them more likely to purchase.
3. Urgency
Make your offer time sensitive to help overcome your customer's reluctance to pull the trigger. The notion of having to do something now or to miss out on an opportunity will improve the response rate you get. As mentioned above, consumers linger often in the decision making process, and by instilling a sense of urgency, you are making them feel that they have to turn this purchase into a priority.
Some of the most commonly used phrases for urgency are to offer something for a "limited time only", or on a "first come, first served basis", or that the customer "must response before X to take advantage of this deal", where X is an expiration date you set.
When creating an effective call to action, the best thing you can do is to ask yourself, "what am I trying to accomplish"? If you're looking to reach new prospects, you may want some sort of introductory offer for customers. Otherwise, for an established customer base, you may want to sell them on a higher priced offer with special pricing that is only good for a limited amount of time.
With relevant copy and an effective call to action designed around the goals you want to accomplish, you'll have a much better success rate of converting customers!

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