The Choice Paradox — Choosing to Click the CTA Button

How do you make your call-to-action button convert? Experiment with your CTA options.

In a now famous experiment at Columbia University, a high-end grocery store offered one customer group samples of 24 different jams. Another display offered just six choices to a separate group. The display of two-dozen jam jars attracted lots of attention, but the smaller display garnered more actual sales.

Researchers theorized that too many choices caused a sort of inability to make a choice at all. Unable to decide, they put the decision off and consequently, fewer jars of jam sold. Fewer choices meant that the customer had more satisfaction in the choice they did make. On the World Wide Web, too many calls-to-action create “click fatigue.” Your customer doesn’t know which CTA to click, so he doesn’t click any.

To avoid click fatigue, your call to action needs to appeal differently to your customer. It needs to appeal both verbally and visually. Yesterday, we talked about word choice. Today, let’s think about your CTA’s visual appeal.

Color and Contrast

CTAbutton2Visual contrast comes from color, the shape of the button, the shape of the letters, an image (such as an arrow or other directive icon). As we noted in the discussion of CTA phrases, appeal to the amygdala requires creating a sense of urgency, sex appeal or some other basic instinct to get your potential customer to click that button. Augmenting the “call” with color, shape and other triggers can either irritate a browser or urge them to click.

In one test of CTA buttons, Copyblogger tried changing the color of just one of three buttons in a row from black to green and saw an 81% increase over the control (all buttons the same color). When they changed the button to orange, however, it saw a 95% lift. The contrast of the green over black was not as great as the contrast of orange over black.

Simplify the Choices

Back to the jam example, when there are too many choices, too much information and a host of distractions (busy graphics, lots of words or movement) in your CTA button, customers don’t know when or what to click.

Online shoppers know what a button is. They know that a button is “clickable” when it has color, and they may believe that a button is not “clickable” when it is gray. This latter comes from software menus that gray out unavailable or disabled options. So, when you have a call-to-action button, make sure it looks like a button and has visual indicators that say, “Click me.” Adding an image to your CTA such as a cursor arrow may trigger the call to action in your site visitor’s mind.

Some suggestions CTAbutton3include:

  • Contrasting colors (but no gray)
  • A hover effect with feedback (shows where the “click” will take them)
  • White space or contrasting dark space around the button: If your button is lost in the midst of your other images, your customer may move right past it.
  • Shading, drop-shadows or a 3D effect (give the button a literal button “feel” that urges clicking)

CTAbutton4Add Sub-Text

In experiments with multiple buttons on a page, a simple call to action, but that had a sub-title added to it (either on the CTA button or in the space around it) had higher conversion than the buttons on the same page without added text. When that text appeared to add value and relevance (using “get now” instead of “order” emphasizes what you will receive rather than what you’re required to do) or included a value-added option such as “free” or “save $, the CTA conversion rate was even higher.

If the sub-text changes the visual appeal (lowercase or title-case below an uppercase CTA), it draws the eye quicker and may convert more often as well. When the appeal is personalized (“you will receive” vs. “buy now”), it appeals to your prospect’s motivation. When you create a call to action, consider these two questions:

  • Why is my prospect motivated to click this button?
  • What does he/she get once the button is clicked?

Then, test your call to action buttons over a period of a marketing campaign to see which works for your product and your customers.

If you missed the first two posts of this series but want to learn more check them out here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Choice Paradox — Choosing to Click the CTA Button
Fewer choices means customers have more satisfaction in the choice they make. On the World Wide Web, too many calls-to-action create "click fatigue." Your customer doesn't know which one to click, so he doesn't click any. To avoid click fatigue, your call to action needs to appeal differently to your customer. It needs to appeal both verbally and visually.

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