October 27, 2009

Always Ask for the Sale


Hostway Team

By Hostway

You've penned the perfect headline. Your keywords are strategically scattered throughout pages of copy you refined for hours. You're ready to grab your visitors' attention and hold it all the way through to your sales pitch. But how much thought have you given to your final appeal—your call to action?

Isn't it Obvious?

You might think the boilerplate Buy Now button makes it obvious to the reader what the next action is. But this is not true for two reasons.

First, it's clear to you what the next step is. You know your product backward and forward. You've been working on your Web site for ages and probably even designed the order path yourself. And, you've just spent hours working on the copy. You're too close to the project to look at it from an outside perspective. What may be obvious to you is not obvious to someone completely unfamiliar with your business, product or Web site.

Second, people are busy. They're not really reading your Web page. They're skimming paragraphs, headlines and images and maybe stopping to read a few sentences that seem interesting. At the same time, they're answering emails, instant messaging people and thinking about what's for dinner. You only have part of their attention, so you need to make the next step simple and clear.

Be Specific

The best calls to action tell readers exactly what you want them to do. For instance, a link that says click to continue tested better in a Marketing Sherpa study than links saying continue to article or read more.

In terms of converting visitors on your Web site, you may want to try start your 30-day free trial today instead of Order Now. When being specific, it can be helpful to restate your offer, even if that makes your button larger. In fact, a larger button might be useful in gaining that distracted reader's attention anyway.

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