CTA Buttons, Brain Science Up Email Conversions
When marketers send an email, they typically have two goals in mind: to share information with their audience and to move them to take an action. More often than not, that action means clicking a mouse (or tapping a screen), which leads them to a landing page and, hopefully, a conversion.
But those same marketers often overlook the thing their subscribers are actually clicking on: the call-to-action (CTA) button.
Did you know that some CTA buttons actually appear more clickable to our brains? For years, smart marketers have used basic psychology to create campaigns that instantly grab our attention, and CTA buttons are no different. Here are four ways you can use brain science to create CTA buttons that skyrocket your click rates.
1. Pick the Right Color
Bad news, friends: There’s no magic color that converts best (trust me, we’ve checked). But color choice is super important, especially when 85 percent of people say color is the main reason they buy a product. Start with a button color that contrasts with your email’s background – red on green, for instance – so it really pops. Due to the Von Restorff effect, we’re much more likely to notice and remember things that stand out.
Or choose a color that promotes a certain feeling. For example, we associate blue with feelings of trust and security, which is why most financial institutions and healthcare companies use it in their branding. Orange encourages immediate action, and red amps up the urgency – both are great for encouraging subscribers to sign up, buy or join right away. And we all know green means "go," which is pretty handy when it comes to CTAs.
2. Write Action-Oriented Copy
The entire purpose of a CTA is to move someone to take action right away, so write compelling copy that feels irresistible to click. It should be specific – think “Shop now” rather than “Click here” — and use active verbs like “start” and “get.” Passive words are easy to ignore, so leading with active, energetic verbs will help drive more clicks.
Also, don’t be afraid to test out something different. For example, a recent study found a 90 percent better click rate using first-person copy (“Start my free trial” vs. “Start your free trial”). Want to add a bit of extra urgency? Simply include the word “now” at the end of your CTA.
3. Don’t Overlook the Size and Shape
When it comes to size, buttons should be big enough that they can be easily tapped on a mobile phone, but not so obnoxiously large that they ruin your overall design. Apple recommends they be at least 44 pixels, squared (the size of the human fingertip), but most good CTA buttons are much bigger than that.
As for shape, rectangular buttons are by far the most popular. But because our brains are programmed to avoid pointy things, make sure to round off the corners. And if you’re feeling adventurous, test out a circular CTA. It looks like a button that’s begging to be pushed.
4. Give It Plenty of Room
CTA buttons don’t play well with others, so make sure yours isn’t competing with other content for attention. Because 80 percent of subscribers are only scanning your email, it should be clear at a glance what you want them to do. And consider placing a CTA above the fold rather than at the very bottom. People spend almost 80 percent of their time above the fold, according to the Nielsen Norman Group, so you’ll catch those folks who are ready to act right away without forcing them to sift through content to get there.
Also, make your CTA the star of the show by surrounding it with plenty of white space to help it stand out — but not so much room that it doesn't feel like part of the overall design. It should attract the eye, not look lost in the desert.
Disclaimer alert: Your audience is unique, so you’ll have to test color, copy, shape and placement to find the right combination that sends your email conversion rates soaring. But it’s totally worth it in the end: A/B tests can boost conversion rates by as much as 49 percent!
Related story: CTA Buttons That Convert