Rethink The Psychology of Your Calls to Action

Thinking RFID

Thinking RFID (Photo credit: @boetter)

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.

CTA Text

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.

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The Untapped Opportunities for B2B eCommerce

W.W. Grainger branch 2915 Boardwalk Ann Arbor ...

W.W. Grainger branch 2915 Boardwalk Ann Arbor Michigan 48104-6765 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The viability of consumer eCommerce is a no-brainer.  What’s often forgotten is B2B (business to business) eCommerce, but sites like are starting to fill the gaps left by others. While B2B purchases tend to be much larger than consumer purchases, and the sales cycle is longer, customers still want the convenience of going to a website to make the final sale, purchase supplemental parts/pieces, or be involved in the purchase cycle. eCommerce sites don’t have to disrupt the B2B purchase cycle which is based on relationships and trust — they can be used to automate processes and increase customer satisfaction. W.W. Grainger, which is a supplier of industrial parts and equipment, is an excellent example of B2B eCommerce.

For more on the opportunities of B2B eCommerce, Practical eCommerce has this article:

Many B-to-B companies have long believed that ecommerce would create channel conflicts between sales personnel, suppliers, and other channels. But in reality, B-to-B sales channels are already disrupted by ecommerce. Manufacturers are selling directly to consumers. Manufacturers and distributors are selling products on, and other portals to other businesses. Wholesalers are consolidating rapidly because they are caught in the channel chaos. B-to-B Ecommerce: Big Opportunity, with Obstacles by Dale Traxler

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Getting Your Ads More than Seen


Advertising (Photo credit: Wrote)

There’s a great  post over at MarketingProfs that dissects an eye-tracking study to show where on a web page ads are most likely to be seen:

Advertisers looking to boost the effectiveness of their digital display ads should be focusing on in-content units, nontraditional placements, contextually relevant creative, and above-the-fold locations, according to recent data from Infolinks. Eye-Tracking Study: How to Beat Display Ad Blindness by Ayaz Nanji

Having your ad get seen is just half the battle — the next problem is to get someone to actually take action (click, mouseover, etc.).  While there certainly is some value in getting an ad seen (if they look at it long enough to read and understand), most advertisers want people to take action and click the ads. MarketingProfs analysis of the study didn’t include any click data.  The assumption is that people will be more likely to click in places they are more likely to look. Is this true?

Will these types of results lead to even more advertising that is difficult to distinguish from content? How will that impact how people interact with advertising?

Another question I have is whether there is any impact with having so many ads on the page.  If you only have one ad on the left (a typical ad place), but it doesn’t look like a typical ad, will people be more likely to look?  It seems like a page that’s full of advertising is going to saturate what a visitor will look at.

One of the key findings from the study is that people completely block out areas of the page that they believe have ads (especially if there are ad-looking things there).  This should be an important consideration for the design of sites without ads — make sure people don’t think you have ads in  ad-places if you want them to look there.


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Tips for Improving Contact Form Conversion [Infographic]


Geometry (Photo credit: _Hadock_)

The entire purpose of a business website is to get a potential customer to either buy from you, or at least ask questions that propel them down the sales funnel.  One of the main ways for customers to contact a business is through a contact form, which are also key conversion methods on landing pages.  Designing a contact form that is easy to fill out and still gets the information you need can be tricky.  This infographic from Marketing Ninja explores some key ways to improve your contact forms to increase conversions…

Infographic: Contact Forms for the Marketing Ninja (Minja) by Lisa Margetis


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eCommerce Customer-Centric Sites with Great Design

Men Shopping for Clothing Accessories

Men Shopping for Clothing Accessories (Photo credit:

When your entire business is riding on the success of your website to make sales, you have to go beyond a pretty design.  You need a site that works for your customers — letting them easily find what they’re looking for as well as all the information they need to make a purchase. Marketing and customer-centric designs don’t have to be contrary.  Great marketing is all about what the customers want.  eConsultancy has some examples of great eCommerce sites along with commentary on what makes them so good…

I’ve been asking the Econsultancy blog team, as well as a few ecommerce experts, for their suggestions of great ecommerce sites.

I’ve picked the rest, some because they offer an excellent all round experience, others for specific aspects which others can copy/learn from…. Which ecommerce sites are getting it right? Here’s 21 of the best… by Graham Charlton

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Missteps to Avoid in Your E-Commerce Site Design

business   e commerceE-commerce is no longer just the future of shopping. It’s officially arrived and enthroned. According to Business Insider, total e-commerce “surged” over early holiday shopping for 2013, rising by 24% for the combined Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday shopping days. Offline retail shopping actually decreased.

This makes it even more important for your e?commerce site to be as efficient as possible, and enjoyable to use. Like any information site, it’s important that the visitor/customer has a positive experience and will want to come back over and over again. Here are some tips on what to avoid when you design or revisit your e?commerce site layout:

Don’t Assume That Customers Understand Security

It’s quite possible that many of 2013’s e?commerce customers were new to online purchasing. Something reassured these newcomers that the sites they were visiting and buying from are safe and will keep their financial and personal information secure.

Don’t assume that everyone understands online security. Put a security FAQ on your shopping cart or “wish list” pages. Ask for one from your Point of Service (POS) provider. If you don’t have one, it’s worth your time to look into a comprehensive service such as the POS System by NetSuite.

Beakrstudios recommends displaying payment icons you use, including PayPal and VeriSign. These brands are familiar to online visitors, even those who haven’t placed online purchases now understand more about security thanks to your FAQ.

Don’t Force Customers to Open Accounts

Not everyone wants to open an account that stores their information, as Marketing Tech notes, and goes on to say “you can’t bully anyone into doing this.” Requiring registration interferes with a positive customer experience, and will probably send at least a few to competitors who aren’t as pushy.

Don’t Display “SOLD OUT” or “OUT OF STOCK” for Unavailable Items

This is just frustrating for shoppers. No one is impressed that you sold out of an item. In fact, some people may think you don’t pay enough attention to trends and were caught with your virtual pants down.

Instead of leaving your customer empty?handed and likely to return to the search engine, link anything that really is unavailable to a page explaining that the item is “temporarily out of stock”, and apologize for the inconvenience. Give the customer a couple of options, such as links to similar products, or to sign up for a waiting list so you can let them know when the item is available. Some services track customer request history.

Be sure to allow customers the option to opt-out of regular emails from your business as required by the CAN-SPAM federal law. More information on this law is available at the FTC’s website.

Don’t Be Coy About What You Sell

No customer should click “About Us” to understand what you are selling. Be obvious. The lack of a value proposition is #1 on Shopify’s list of e?commerce design mistakes “that could be killing your sales.”

Show what you’re selling right from the landing page. If you’re selling boots, display a museum-quality photo of boots, as Shopify illustrates. Don’t show shoes and socks unless they are also part of your inventory. Include a tagline about the product you sell, whether it’s T?shirts built to last or fine plumbing and hardware for high?end bathrooms. Depending on the product, you can also mention free shipping; this is attractive to T?shirt buyers, but not so important to people building bathrooms fit for kings.

About the Author

Keith Hart —  Keith is a small business consultant and father of five from New York.

How to Incorporate Video Into Your Website for Better Conversion

Many business owners balk at the idea of making a video for their websites. They feel insecure about being on camera, or they worry that they can’t make a sophisticated animation with a voiceover. Even if you’re unsure about the process, you need to learn to incorporate video into your website. Consider these statistics about video and conversions that were compiled by DigiDay :

[Read more…]

10 Predictions About the Future of Ecommerce

Personalized shopping is changing the way we find, buy and recommend products to our friends already.

But from a business point of view, what’s going to capture shoppers’ attention next?

We asked 10 founders to share what they think the future of personalized shopping holds (ecommerce entrepreneurs, listen up!). Here’s what they had to say.

10 Predictions About the Future of Ecommerce by Scott Gerber

Google Wallet Makes It Easier than PayPal to Send Money

Google Wallet Logo

Google Wallet Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So far Google Wallet has been on the sideline.  Well, it just got the call from the coach to check into the game.  Google is rolling out integration between Gmail and Wallet which means that getting and sending money may soon be as easy as sending an email.  This could have far reaching impact on eCommerce — think about selling products or services without having to setup an eCommerce website… Meet a client for lunch, get paid on the spot.  Obviously there are products like Square that provide mobile payment services, but they are a separate application and signup.  I wonder how close we are to the demise of credit cards — could be good for financial security — as long as you have a good Gmail password.  What about security in terms of phishing schemes…. Should be very interesting to see how this all pans out.

What do you think?

In the coming weeks and months, a dollar sign will start popping in Gmail accounts of people who already use Google Wallet, and a quick click lets users define the recipient and the amount they’d like to send along as an attachment. Since all of these transactions run through Google Wallet, the usual caveats are in place — sending funds from a connected bank account is totally gratis, but those who prefer to pay with credit or debit cards are subject to an additional 2.9 percent fee tacked on. You also need to be over 18 to take part in the funding fun, though. Google Folds Wallet Support Into Gmail So You Can Send Money As Attachments (TechCrunch)

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Learn about image monetization (part 2 of 3) in Future of Publishing

Last week’s Future of Publishing episode was the first part of a series of episodes about image monetization. The producers split the interview into more than one part so that it wouldn’t have to be watered down. Here’s part two:

Part 2 highlights

  • People don’t click on display ads anymore…
  • The way around this is to put ads within the content…
  • Interactive, in-content image ads are very effective in producing revenue for publishers!

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