A call to action (CTA) button can be the difference between securing a successful online transaction and losing your potential customer to your competitor’s webpage. To prevent an unfortunate turn of events, you, as the marketer or business owner, must learn what it is that makes your potential customers continue through your site and what causes them to flee the scene. This understanding and research can be primarily summed up by the study of CTA button psychology, or, in simpler terms, the reason people click what they click.
Color is a huge factor in CTA button psychology. For a look at how color choices can affect your marketing, take a look at this infographic. By choosing color schemes that match your company’s objective and purpose, the site visitor will subconsciously feel as though the calls to action are simply part of the overall process. For example, people might think the bank site they are visiting is secure because the blue color scheme encourages them to, just as customers are more likely to open a savings account if the button they must click to do so is green because of the color’s association with money.
In choosing a color scheme, you also want to be aware of what complementary colors are necessary to make your CTA buttons stand out. Orange, for example, can simultaneously command attention, while remaining welcome and friendly, which is why it is so often chosen for CTA buttons and internet marketing. The most important, or primary, CTA buttons should be in a color, like orange, that will attract immediate attention. Any secondary options you wish to give your site visitor should be in a color that stands out less.
In this example, found on the website of virtual private network service Le VPN, color contrast is used very well to make the green CTA button pop. They reserve this shade of lime green for highlights on their site, like the calls to action, which makes them very powerful wherever they appear.
It is important that your CTA buttons look like they are legitimate virtual buttons. Keep the shape of the button to what would be a “normal” button shape in real life. Think of radio buttons, dials and power “on” and “off” buttons. All of these maintain a similar shape: round or rectangular. Maintaining these shapes will ensure that the visitor recognizes what it is they need to push. Paul Olyslager suggests that virtual buttons should have rounded edges because sharp angles push our eyes to where the corners are pointing, rather than to the center of our content.
This example from Empire CAT, a heavy machinery dealer, has a clear “learn more” button in the bottom right of their slider. The rounded edges draw the attention into the text at its center, and the right facing arrow suggests there is more to see on the next page.
Size and Placement
The size and placement of your rounded CTA button directly correlates with the number of clicks and conversions your site receives. The primary CTAs need to be larger than any other secondary option and will more likely to be used if the user doesn’t have to scroll down to find them.
A great example of this is with the shopping cart. Often, you’ll see the larger “Proceed to Checkout” button with a smaller “Continue Shopping” next to it. Their color and size are almost always different from one another. Our eyes naturally gravitate towards the larger of the two. Making the primary CTA more visually significant will increase the number of visitors who go forward with their purchase.
Custom Car Covers allows its customers to choose between PayPal and regular checkout. The iconic PayPal button is familiar, and customers who use PayPal will be drawn to use the service to check out. However, visitors who do not use PayPal still have an option – and the bright red ensures that it won’t be missed.
Keep your CTA copy simple and straight-forward. This is not the place to put a paragraph. Use the copy to give your visitors the confidence to know exactly where they are headed when they hit the button. “Proceed to Checkout” is a great example. Three words and you know exactly where you are going. “Continue Shopping” will put you right back where you were, looking at the last product you viewed. Joanna Wiebe, from CopyBlogger, made the suggestion that CTA copy be written in the first person. This solution will make the site visitor feel like the CTA is personal and just for them, as in “View My Cart.”
Maxwell Systems, a construction software provider, sells their products to other businesses. They know that free demos convert well for this audience, so they encourage visitors to check out the trials with big buttons that turn orange when rolled over.
By recognizing these factors in CTA psychology, you and your company will be able to understand and differentiate what works well for your visitors and what achieves the most conversions. Don’t be afraid to play around with and analyze how color, copy, size and shape affect the number of clicks you receive. By doing so, you will be able to optimize the experience for your site visitor and optimize your conversions.
About the Author
Adrienne is a freelance writer and blogger who loves analyzing what makes websites tick. To see more of her work, follow her on Twitter at @adrienneerin.