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Even folks who aren't forgetful may need repeated urging and incentives to take the action step you want them to take. (Photo courtesy of NativePakistan.com)

Q: Our website keeps getting more and more traffic, but we aren’t getting more business. What am I doing wrong? Would a call to action help?

A: It’s a bit retro to call the Internet an “information superhighway,” but that metaphor can help you picture people speeding from site to site and page to page. For you to get more business, some of those people must stop long enough to contact you or give you the means to contact them.

Those who pause long enough to visit more than one page on your website are at least a little interested in what you offer. But oddly enough, most won’t stop unless you specifically ask them to, and some want an incentive along with the ask.

The ask is a “call to action” – a set of words and images designed to turn thought (“I am interested in this”) into deed (“I will respond now”).

Calls to action vary in several ways – from how they look and where they’re placed on a page to the type of action a viewer is encouraged to take. Some common calls to action entice the viewer to learn more, sign up for special offers, subscribe to a newsletter, get a quote or download a free e-book.

All calls to action have the same purpose: to generate leads for your business by inducing visitors to contact you or provide their contact information. With that, you can begin communicating with your visitor, nurturing the lead and then making the sale when the person is ready to buy.

Make it your goal to have a call to action (CTA) on every page, or at least the most visited pages on your website. If you can make each CTA relevant to the page topic, all the better.

Here are a few tips on how to create a lead-generating call to action:

  1. Color. Use color in your call to action to attract the eyes of visitors and focus them on the action you want them to take.
  2. Text. Use simple words and keep the text short, but say enough to give viewers a clear sense of what they will get and how it will benefit them.
  3. Button. Website users expect the call to action to involve clicking a button, so give them a big, bold button to click.
  4. Steps. Require as few steps possible. Sending visitors to another page, or asking them to fill out too many fields in a form, will cause many to abandon the process.
  5. Follow-up. Have a well-thought-out plan for following up with helpful information to nurture the leads you get.