Call-to-action pages are very useful for any business, as they either sell or ask visitors to sign up for something that they would otherwise have a difficult time noticing. The main point of a call-to-action page is to turn hits and visits into subscribers and buyers.

If the strategy is smart, call-to-action pages can increase sales or conversions up to even 100% (although it rarely happens), so they should be an important part of a web strategy. Therefore us, designers, need to learn some tips and tricks in order to be able to create such pages with such conversion rates. And it is not only about the design, but also about the content of a call-to-action page – surprisingly or not, it is also us who should think of this.

Actually, the design is the easy part of creating such a landing page, because it is usually very simple and to the point. However, there are some guidelines that should be considered.

Before going into more details, keep in mind the most important thing about a call-to-action page: your goal is to get the visitors perform a specific action, so design with this target in mind.

Easy to use

If you want to succeed with this task, you need to avoid forcing the user to spend a lot of time figuring out what he needs to do. Many times it happens to me (and I am sure it happened to you too a lot of times) that I stopped in the middle of subscribing to something because of the difficult process.

Also, make sure everybody knows what the next step is and make sure they have no doubts. About anything. The page is also useless if the user doesn’t know how it can benefit them. If the user has the smallest doubt about how the page will benefit him, he will spend no more time on your site.

Keep the graphics low

The page should not be cluttered and filled with graphics, as they do no good. Don’t insert pie charts, pictures or infographics; they are useless on such a page. In a call-to-action page the most you need is a logo and, maybe, a styled image of the product you sell – no more!

Only insert more images if those will illustrate the benefits of subscribing or buying the product. You might also see some examples of call-to-action pages that use icons – although I wouldn’t consider them images (the effect they have are not as strong as a big picture), they are still graphics and if used wrong or too much, they can increase your bounce rate.

Don’t allow too much moving around

By this I mean minimize the navigation possibilities. The reason of that page is to keep the user there until he acts, not to leave him play around and get distracted.

Now I am not saying you should completely remove the navigation, as this would anger some users, but decrease the number of options they have. Some designers completely leave the navigation out and only insert a small button that takes the user to the full website. While this is not wrong, some might agree that it is not the right way of designing a landing page.

However, keep in mind that you need to give your user the option of accessing your website. Maybe he will not buy or subscribe, but he might be interested in your blog or anything else you have there. Don’t give too many options, but don’t remove them completely either.

Use tooltips

By using tooltips and modal windows you assure that the user does not leave your conversion tunnel. They might want to see some other information before buying or subscribing and that’s totally ok, but don’t redirect them to a new page. Use tooltips and modal windows to offer further information, FAQs, support answers and so on.

If you definitely need to redirect to a new page, I would recommend setting the target as blank, so they will still have your conversion tunnel page somewhere there. It is very easy to get carried away and if you help them doing this, they will not bother to come back unless you offer something really impressive – we all know this is not the case all the time.

Avoid using red

In many countries and cultures red is the color that emphasizes something negative. It means “stop”. Therefore using red for your buttons is something you should avoid doing, as it reminds of aggression and especially danger. And even when you take its positive connotations (love and passion), it still means taking big steps. Red buttons in call-to-action pages are a “no go”.

Blue and green are mostly used for these types of buttons, as they are usually considered positive colors and offer a good atmosphere and a positive response (at least subconsciously).

I don’t know too much about the rest, but this tip is for everyone designing for the Western Culture (North America, South America and Europe). In China and India red buttons might work, but I can’t talk about it as long as I don’t know the specifics of the cultures there.

Emphasize your call-to-action button

A call-to-action page has a call-to-action button. If you don’t manage to draw attention to it, the whole purpose of the page is lost. You can emphasize it by using negative space, by position (golden rule), by contrast and by size.

It is easier to create contrast between the button and the background by color. Making it “fight” with the rest of the page is going to make it stand out of the rest and make it visible – which is also the purpose.

Don’t give out too much information

You only need to give the visitor the information he needs, not more than that. You don’t want him to spend too much time on your page, you want him to act. The reason behind this is not trying to trick them into buying something they don’t want, but offering too much information will interrupt them and might decrease your conversion rate.

Another reason behind this is that your visitors are probably busy people, as everybody else, and they don’t want to spend too much time there themselves. This will make the process too difficult and, as said in one of the first points presented here, will increase your bounce rate. They just want to know exactly what they need to, subscribe and then leave.

Big paragraphs of text should be avoided. The page should scannable within few seconds and the visitors should be able to pick the information they want right away. They don’t want to read a bunch of information they do not actually need.

Don’t ask for too much

When you create the forms, make sure you don’t ask for much more than the minimum information you need for your purpose. If the only thing needed is an e-mail address, don’t make the process too complicated – ask for the e-mail and let the user go. If you need more private information, such as a phone number, make sure the user knows why you need it so badly. Each piece of information you ask for is a barrier for the user and the more barriers you have, the more difficult it will be for the user to get past them.

You also need to avoid asking for too much commitment right away. Asking a user to buy something right off the top will most likely turn them off. Although it is not a good idea to make the process too complicated, using two or three steps is better for the conversion rate, as this would offer a more neutral phrasing. Getting the user to immediately make a decision will not pay off.

Instead of making buttons like “Sign up” or “Buy now”, make buttons saying “See our plans”, “Learn more” or “See more”. Otherwise, it you use one of the first examples, they know what to expect next – to pay. How likely is this to work?

Permanently check the links

If you usually have things you sell or offer for a limited period of time, you most likely also have a page for each one of them – which means a link for each one of them. This way it is quite easy to lose track of links and this causes broken links on your page.

Think what would happen if the anchor to one of your offers would be posted here on Web Hosting Billboard and the offer would expire in two months. What will happen if someone will read this article and will try to access the link in September? Because the offer expired, it will be a broken or an old one. And we all know this doesn’t create the best impression possible.

The best way to deal with this is to replace the old offer pages with information about how the campaign was. If it was successful and someone visits the link after the expiration date, you can get some awareness and good opinions about yourself and your business, even if people missed the offer.

Emphasize the best option

In case you offer more than one option, it is always smart to indicate which of the option is the best one. You can make it the default selection or simply make it stand out – the second one would obviously be more effective.

You can also do this by using pricing tables, but in case your most expensive offer is also the best one, it might be a good idea not to emphasize it. The reason is simple: the users might think you try to sell them the most expensive product you have and this can also be a turn-off for them.

Emphasize what is valuable

In order to convince them to purchase, you need to show the visitors what is valuable about the product you offer. Buyers are not interested in anything else than what benefits them, so make sure you emphasize this.

Don’t tell your buyers what your product does – but what can it do for them.

Bottom line

While designing a call-to-action page is not difficult, filling the content in is some heck of a challenge for most of us, especially when it is the first time we do it. Therefore, before jumping into designing your first call-to-action page, make sure to read these tips and make sure you understand them.

You can also start working on paper for the first time, as it allows more mistakes and correcting them is much easier than on the computer.

However, after designing few call-to-action pages, you will notice that this process repeats all the time and following these guidelines will be a piece of cake for you.

Until next time, what do you think about call-to-action pages? Is there something that I missed or something you do not agree with?