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5 Ways Your Calls-to-Action are Missing the Mark

By Carolyn Edgecomb

5 Ways Your Calls-to-Action are Missing the Mark


5 Ways Your Call-to-Actions are Missing the MarkCalls-to-action are everywhere. You probably have one on every page of your website.

But are your calls-to-action missing the mark?

You might be missing the mark if you're experiencing low click through rates on your CTA's.

Unfortunately, there isn't one main cause. It could be the make up of several different factors.

If you're looking to generate new leads and to continue nurturing current leads, you need to ensure that your calls-to-action aren't missing the mark and causing visitors to leave your website.

Common Calls-to-Action Mistakes

Blend In

Your calls-to-action aren't supposed to be hidden. It's like painting your body green and wearing green clothing and then lying in the grass. What's the point? You want to grab the attention of website visitors and you cannot do that if your calls-to-action match the color scheme of your website.

A great way to make your CTA's stand out is to use contrasting colors. Looking for a great example? The image below is our homepage. Through the blue, gray, white and black color scheme you cannot miss the green call-to-action.

6 Ways Your Call-to-Actions are Missing the Mark- homepage

If you have a really great design team, your calls-to-action are probably rockstars, generating new leads and nurturing current leads. Unfortunately, not every designer is going to make your calls-to-action stand out. They will design your CTA's with the design and color scheme of your website in mind. The only problem with that is your CTA's are designed so well that visitors have a hard time finding them. Your website visitors probably don't want to play your version of "Where's Waldo?"

No one wants to spend half an hour searching for your call-to-action. You probably don't want to make your calls-to-action so small that you need a magnifying glass to see them. Consider making them bigger. The text within your CTA doesn't need to be HUGE, it just needs to be big enough so people can actually read it.


Do your visitors know what you're trying to convey with the text inside your call-to-action?

You don't need to talk to people like they are children; you just need to effectively get your message across. Give them some direction. What are they supposed to do next? If you don't tell them to register here, click to download, subscribe, get your guide, or to sign up. It is more than likely that your visitors will leave your website without taking any action.

Your visitors aren't interested in playing the card game "Mad Gab", they actually have work to do. Your calls-to-action should tell visitors exactly what you want them to know and do; using strong, active language.

Consider using actionable words like:

    • View

    • Visit

    • Request

    • Apply

    • Download

Another important thing to remember. Don't just make those words really tiny and decide to place them all the way towards the bottom of the CTA. Make them big and place them towards the top. Most people will only glance at the large, headline copy of your call-to-action. You don't want to leave prospects and leads confused, wondering what action they're supposed to take.

Too Wordy

Who doesn't hate ready something that never seems to get to the point. Well this shouldn't be the objective of your calls-to-action. The objective of your call-to-action is to promote your marketing offers and sending them to your landing page.

More often than not, the copy of your call-to-action is too wordy. Some people might say too many words are better than not enough. But those extra words can become confusing and unnecessary. Especially with the attention span of your audience only being somewhere between 6 to 10 seconds, the quicker you get to the point, the better your click through rates will be.

No Secondary CTA's

Don't just include one CTA on every page; consider adding one or two secondary CTA's. A secondary CTA provides an alternative conversion opportunity or action for your visitors, prospects, or leads to take. Generally, secondary calls-to-action are featured less prominently.

Secondary CTA's include:

    • Subscribing to blog

    • Inline text within an email that links to another page or offer

    • Subscribe to receive mails about FREE marketing resources

Different Language in CTA and Landing Page

Have you ever clicked on a CTA because the copy provided a solution to one of your problems and when you got to their landing page it had nothing to do with the offer they were promoting?

They probably didn't direct the CTA to the wrong landing page. But you will confuse your prospects and leads. Confusion develops when the copy in your call-to-action says something totally different than the copy on your landing page.  When writing the copy for your landing page make sure that it's action and value oriented, utilizes keywords that attract your visitors, write in the second person, and make sure your copy is clear.

When developing your next call-to-action keep these do's and don'ts in mind.


    • Use actionable words

    • Place CTA's above the fold

    • Use bold, contrasting colors

    • Add bevels, shadows and hover effects

    • Align CTA's with buyer interests and needs

    • Use data to validate your proposition

    • Use a/b testing


    • Use the word submit

    • Use CTA's you need a magnifying glass to read

    • Make them look flat

    • Link CTA's to your homepage

Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.


Lead Generation
Published on April 17, 2013

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