Tell people what to do on your website

There is a really simple rule in all advertising where you want a response from the reader, whether that’s a print ad, classified, Yellow Page ad or even your website. The rule is this…

Ask the reader to do something

In marketing books they call it a “call to action”. Whatever you want to call it, research says loud and clear that when you tell someone what to do they are much more likely to do it.

When it comes to your website, the conventional wisdom is to put this call to action at the top of the page or “above the fold” where it’s clearly visible without them having to scroll down the page. However, I’m an advocate for putting my call to action at the bottom of every page.

Why?

Because people need to find out a little about you and what you offer before they’ll take action. To do that they typically scroll down the page and read (or at least look at the pictures). Hopefully by the time they’ve reached the bottom they appreciate your expertise and understand how you can help them.

So what’s the next logical thing that they should see?

Instructions for the action they need to take to benefit from your product or service. So that’s the logical place to put a call to action. In a world where your competitor is only a mouse click away, if you make them work to get back up to the top of the page, they’ll likely forget why they are scrolling to the top of the page before they click anything.

Here’s what one experienced web developer found out with a little testing…

For a lead generation site we had a nice tight form with benefit statements alongside and it was doing quite well. After some debate, the media was added to a test page which forced the conversion actions to below the fold. After over a dozen rounds of testing, a very clear pattern emerged: conversion rates were higher when the call to action was below the fold.

No one could believe the findings. So another dozen rounds of tests were implemented. The results did not change.

What’s the takeaway?

Forget about what the experts say. Think like a customer. Put yourself in their shoes and go through your site like they would and do what makes sense.

In the case of your website, it just makes sense to put a call to action at the bottom of every page.

Sidenote: If you liked this blog post you’re mostly likely to share it after you’ve just finished reading it; not before. Notice how I’ve put my “Like” and “Share” buttons below. See them? It makes sense to have them here, doesn’t it? Implement this on your site and please share this post with your colleagues using the buttons below. (That’s my call to action.)