A Call to action (CTA), like an email subject line, is not just an item on the checklist that you just want to bang out quickly from the keyboard. Sure, you want your readers to take an action, but that’s just the beginning.
To truly serve your customers, you need to think beyond the click. Really get into the customer’s shoes and know why they need your product or service. Where are they coming from and why do they need you?
To really win over customers you need to craft an entire experience from beginning to finish.
In this article, I go over one of my favorite experiences in singing up to a hip newsletter platform and how they sucked me in with some beautiful design and top-shelf copy.
Call to Action Basics
If you’ve never heard of a call to action, you’re not alone so let’s dive right in.
A Call to Action (CTA) is simply an instruction that urges your readers to take immediate action. Usually, this comes in the form of a button or clicking a link or really anything that advances the reader to the next logical step in their journey that you’ve crafted together for them.
For the business, the goal is simply to get a conversion which usually results in acquiring a new customer through a purchase of a product or service.
The best CTAs are direct, but also persuasive because they need to grab the attention of the reader. When a good CTA is there, you won’t notice it because the next step will be seamless.
With a bad CTA, you’ll feel in limbo at the end of the reader’s journey. You may even ask yourself, “now what?” That’s when you realize that a CTA should have been somewhere in the experience.
That’s the basics of a call to action. Let’s get into the customer’s mind a little bit.
One Customer’s Journey
Take a moment and just think about the last time you had a truly enjoyable experience when it came to purchasing something online.
Got something in mind?
For me, one of the most recent enjoyable experiences was signing up for Beehiiv which is a newsletter platform. I needed to check out the software for an article I was writing and because I kept seeing other newsletters use this platform, I wanted to see what the fuss was about.
Here was my experience from top to bottom.
Yes, Design Actually Matters
Can you still sell a lot with little to no design? Sure can, but if you’re going to craft something, why not try to make it beautiful?
That’s what the makers of Beehiiv have done. From the moment you land on the homepage, you can actually feel like you’re about to go on a smooth ride.
“The newsletter platform built for growth.” No confusion about what they are trying to sell you with one simple headline.
High Contrast Buttons
Right after the headline, your eyes are drawn to the first big button on the screen, “Start a Newsletter.”
Again, no confusion about what is going to happen when I click this button. I will be moving right to their onboarding process after the sign-up.
Don’t try to be sneaky and hide the button as some sort of cool design. Make it stand out, make it direct, make the font legible and add a shadow to make it pop.
There are only two segments of the audience that resonate with this above-the-fold messaging.
The first type includes those that know about Beehiiv. They’ve heard of the brand and they are ready to start. Great, the call to action button is right there.
The second type includes those not ready to dive into Beehiiv which leads to the beginning of the scroll.
Down we go.
The next few sections are all supporting sections of the platform. You see some screenshots of the newsletter inbox and some analytics, and then you pass the social proof.
These sections all support my potential decision to try out Beehiiv. They’re trying to build trust. They even say “Trusted by some of the top newsletters.” — You’re in good company.
You’re now about three-quarters of the way down the sales page. It’s time to check out the details of the features. You get hit with a common pain point with software.
Why piece together (and pay for) a dozen different tools when you can do it all with beehiiv?
Good point. I don’t like a lot of software subscriptions and you probably don’t either.
By the time you get to the bottom, they’ve hit you with everything they’ve got. Social proof, all the various features, the cost-benefit, even the name drop (Created by the same team that built and scaled Morning Brew).
It’s time for the Call to Action.
Support the Call to Action
Beehiiv could just have easily presented the same CTA button from the top section. After all, they want you to “Start a Newsletter,” but they wanted to go out with a bang.
Continuing the narrative from the last section, they hinted Beehiiv could save you money.
The next logical question is of course, “how much can I save?”
This time, with a very large section, is a sophisticated calculator that helps the reader figure out the answer to that very question.
It becomes apparent quickly that this tool is going to save you money if you are coming from another newsletter tech stack.
Then, just as with the high contrast button from the top, this time it’s blue on black. Enticing you to “Make the switch.”
Another simple, direct message with supporting copy. “Unlock more earnings.”
That’s a great word, Unlock. Who doesn’t want to unlock their potential?
They know by the time you get this far, you’re either ready to try or you’re bouncing.
Wrapping it Up
So that brings us back to the beginning of our story. Did you recall what the last enjoyable purchase experience was?
Now that you know what it takes to make a meaningful call to action, think back to your experience. Did it include, a full experience like Beehiiv provided?
Did they position their value proposition, provide social proof, and support their narrative with benefits and action-oriented copy?
So next time you create a call to action, know that the customer deserves more than just “Buy Now.”