5 CTA Button Design Best Practices
You need to ask questions like these every time you review the results of your marketing efforts.
One way you may be able to improve these results: Take a close look at your call to action (CTA), particularly the design of the CTA button. It’s an element that many designers do not give enough attention.
Unfortunately, there’s no universal template or design style that works across the board. What works for one email or landing page site may not work for you.
But there are some elements that have been tested which may be able to help you improve your results. The key word here is “tested.” I present this information for you to consider, but like anything, test everything as it relates to your CTA buttons.
After all, there are a many factors that contribute to improving results. CTA buttons are just one ingredient among many. Effective web pages and emails don’t depend on the CTA button alone, but upon a lot of factors, both in the realms of design and copy. If you get them right, your results will improve.
Parts of a Button
There are two parts to a CTA button — the design of the button itself and the copy within the button. Both have a critical role to play.
Button design is all about directing a viewers eye and answering the question: Where should I click?” Button copy, on the other hand, answers the question: “Why should I click this button?”
I’m going to focus more on the design aspect of CTA buttons, but you need to think clearly about these as a team and they must work together.
1. It’s a Button
Pay attention to convention. No need to reinvent the wheel here — CTA buttons are buttons. Make it clear that it is a button. The call to action is so important, you should not attempt to make anything but a plain button. It can be different shapes, but remember, it must clearly be a button.
2. Make It Stand Out
Contrast and position are the key words here. No matter how wonderful your product, your information or your offer, if your CTA is not easy to find it’ll be lost. The two things to do:
• Use contrasting colors: I’ve read that green and orange work better, but in reality there’s no magic color that works better than another. Every page, email and site are different, and testing your button color is critical.
• Place in an obvious place: This may seem logical and obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times people place their buttons poorly. Even though your button my have contrasting color, if you place in the wrong place, it’ll be difficult to find. Even Apple makes this mistake.
3. Make Your Copy Active
Many designers don’t pay much attention to the copy on a button. That’s a big mistake. Making your button say more than:
FOR MORE INFO
can make a dramatic difference.
Add a benefit, make copy clear what about what the customer will get, and make the copy relevant to your product. Try copy like:
START YOUR SUBSCRIPTION
ENTER MY NAME
GET MY HEAT MAP
GET YOUR FREE REPORT
START YOUR 30 DAY FREE TRIAL changes to START MY 30 DAY FREE TRIAL.
Michael Aagaard, in a recent post for unbounce, did this exact test and saw a 90 percent increase in the clickthrough rate.
4. Add More Copy
Sometimes an offer might need clarification or highlight a benefit (free 2-day shipping). Maybe you want to waylay an objection (no credit card needed to get started). You might want to feature a review or testimonial (as reviewed by the NY Times). Go ahead and add this, either near your CTA button or as part of it.
5. Try A Direct Mail Technique
One of my favorite things to do is to see if a direct mail technique will work in digital. I like to highlight my CTA button by pointing it out with a message to help close the deal. You can be creative and try different approaches. What works in traditional mail can also work in digital
Are there more things you can do? Absolutely. I’ve simply covered what I think are the most important.
Sometimes I’m asked what a good conversion rate is — but it’s such a relative question. Judging conversion rates or sales, even from different companies in the same industries, is not an apples to apples comparison. There are too many factors (traffic, quality of traffic, offers, brand strength) to make this possible.
How will you know what will work for you? There is only one way to know, test regularly.
Patrick Fultz is the President/CCO of DM Creative Group, a creative marketing firm producing work across all media. He’s an art-side creative, marketing strategist, designer and lover of all things type. His credentials include a degree from Parsons School of Design with 15 years of teaching at his alma mater, over 40 industry creative awards, and he previously served as President of the John Caples International Awards. Always an innovator, Fultz was credited with creating the first 4-color variable data direct mail piece ever produced. He continues to look for innovative ways to tap the powerful synergy of direct mail, the web, digital and social media.