Click here. Start your free trial. Download now. You see phrases like these on sites all over the Internet. What you probably didn’t know is that this type of phrase has a name: a call to action. This is the part of a webpage or any advertisement that is meant to urge users to do something, whether that is buying, calling, clicking, or any other immediate action.

A call to action is like the sales associate who talks you into buying an item. Because your visitors are in a virtual space instead of a store, you need something that drives them to buy or try out your product or service: without that call to action, your site is incomplete and ineffective.

You can add a call to action with a button, a banner, a graphic, or text on the site—anything that you think will effectively prompt a user to click and continue down your site’s conversion funnel. If it’s surrounded by an attractive website and engaging content, a call to action will likely be that final push you need to win customers.

How to Create a Great Call to Action

1. Tell users what’s in it for them

What is it that they are going get out of taking action? If readers see the reward involved, they will be more likely to move forward with the action. All of these phrases explain the benefits of performing an action:

  • Call now to find out more
  • Sign up for membership
  • Register now, members get 5% off
  • Subscribe to our newsletter and get a free e-book
  • Donate and be entered into our contest

You should also choose words that create a sense of urgency, such as the following:

  • Offer expires March 31st
  • For a short time only

2. Make it visible

The position of your call to action on the page is an important factor. Ideally, it should be placed high on the page and—if possible—in the middle or on the top right after the user reads the company name. This will keep the user from getting lost in the page and tell them what it is you would like them to do. Never make it hard for customers to spend money.

3. Make it stand out

  • Make it big. Size does matter. The larger your call to action is, the sooner it will be noticed.
  • Use a vibrant color, or at least something that stands out against the rest of the page. This is an effective way of drawing attention to the button.
  • Use white space or a shadowed backing. Adding something extra around the call to action will draw more attention to it.

4. Add a call to action on every page

It can be the same call to action or something unique to each page. The goal is to tell the user what you would like them to do on every page. This will, of course, require you to know what the purpose of each page is for your potential customers.

5. What happens next?

Think about what will happen when a user responds to the call to action, where will it take them and what will they see?

  • If the next step is an order form, don’t ask for too much. Minimize the amount of data collected and resist the temptation to collect extra information. You got visitors to come this far; don’t give them a reason to back out now.
  • Keep the next steps consistent. Never let the overall feel of your site change, and don’t take them to another domain. The user might feel tricked and not complete the process.

In the end, an effective call to action converts visitors into customers, and that’s what makes a website successful.