You can spend all the time in the world crafting the greatest looking website with the most beautifully written copy. Saturate the paragraphs will all the right keywords. Create impactful graphics and include amazing images. All of it is meaningless if you are not telling your potential customer what to do with all that great information.

Every page on your website should exist to achieve a specific goal and therefore should include a call to action.

A call to action is a direct invitation that tells the customer what to do next. The content of that call to action will be based on your web page’s goal. For example, if the goal of a particular page on your site is to get the visitor to make a purchase, then there should be a clearly labeled button or section that says “Click here to buy!”. Or maybe you want visitors to initiate a phone call to your business so you should clearly define your phone number along with a statement “Call us now to get started.”

So what makes an effective CTA?

1. Your call to action should be clearly defined on your page.

Adding a sentence to the end of your content is not good enough. The call to action should be graphically noticeable and distinct from the rest of your site. It should draw the customer’s attention and simply and clearly instruct the customer on what to do next.

Here is one designed to get customers to call. This site has a black background, so the yellow background of the CTA really stands out.

2. Focus on the benefit to the customer.

People love talking about themselves. Any business owner can write out a list of all the things they can do along with their past accomplishments. But successful marketers know that customer don’t care. Prospective customers are not visiting your site to look at your resume. They are seeking answers to their questions.

Let’s say you run a clothing store that sells direct to customers out of your storefront. Your goal for the page and CTA is to get people to sign up for your weekly newsletter. Saying “Sign up now for our newsletter” isn’t impactful enough. Focus on how the customer will benefit if they sign up. How’s about “Save money! Sign up now and receive weekly savings on our specials.”

First Choice Accounting has a great example of a CTA that clearly defines the benefits to the customer. I placed it in a right column next to the main content with a gray background to differentiate it from the rest of the page. Most important is a list of benefits if you use their service compared to other accountants.

3. Offer immediate gratification or encouragement.

Digital marketing adds a powerful tool that you can use to entice your site visitors to follow through with making contact by adding the ability to offer instant gratification. Remember, customers are looking for answers to their questions. So why not offer them a free Ebook if they sign up for your newsletter. Or access to valuable discounts if they follow through with a button click that takes them to a page you want to lead them to.

4. There is no magic bullet, so test.

If you are looking for easy answers to improve conversion, there are none. You’ll never know if any of the above suggestions or hundreds more I could give you will have any effect unless you try. This is where testing comes in. How about trying 3 different CTAs on a page and seeing, over time, which is more effective? Could you imagine refining the results and improving your website as a result?

A/B testing software can be installed on your website allowing you to try different strategies, and track performance.