You spend a lot of time and effort getting traffic to your website. You strive to get your prospects and customers flooding your homepage, reading your blog, and browsing your products or services.
After all, website traffic is the key to online business success…right?
While I’m not going to argue that website traffic is important (it most definitely is!), I think there is a key element missing if your business strategy begins and ends with generating more page views.
What good is website traffic if your visitors aren’t taking the right actions once they get to your website?
First, you need website traffic. Then, you need to influence the behavior of that traffic.
Navigating the process of setting up a website for your business, dealing with design, and filling it with content is a big task. It’s easy to overlook the little things that will make a big difference in the success of your website. Things like using a strong call-to-action to lead your website visitors in the direction you want them to go.
But the truth is there are very few things more effective in influencing your website visitor’s behavior then simply asking them to do a specific action in a compelling way.
It might seem too obvious, but to make good use of your website traffic, you need to tell visitors how to use your website.
Let’s break this down into practical steps you can put into place to influence YOUR website visitor’s behavior.
1 – Decide on your primary goal
Your website probably exists for many reasons. It’s there to deliver basic information about your business, as a way for prospects to get in touch with you or your company, as a credibility booster, and so on. All these things are important, but what is your website’s primary goal?
If you sell products online, and your website isn’t your first point of contact with prospects, perhaps your primary goal is to get visitors to buy one of your products during their visit.
For other businesses, the sale might not happen online or during a prospect’s first visit to the website. The primary goal for this business might be to have prospects request a catalog, or call a customer service rep.
For information-product businesses or service providers, maybe the biggest goal of your website it to get visitors to opt-in to your email newsletter, or to request a free consultation.
The possibilities are as numerous as the businesses themselves. Take some time to focus in on the primary goal of your business website – the one thing you most want a visitor on your website to do.
2 – Tell your visitors what to do
Once you’ve decided on the one action you most want visitors to take when they land on your website, you simply need to ask them to do it. Don’t leave it up to your website visitors to decide what to do – make it obvious and easy what the next step is.
This is as simple as it sounds. If you’ve decided the next step for your website visitor’s is to get in touch with you, give them a link to a contact form, a phone number, an email address, and a big “Give us a call today!” prompt.
3 – Make your call-to-action compelling
Sometimes, simply telling your visitors to call you or hand over their email address isn’t going to be enough to get them to follow through. They are going to want a compelling reason to behave the way you’re asking them to.
Especially if you are asking your visitors for personal and/or contact information (such as opting in to your email list), you’ll need to make a good case as to why they should share it with you.
Part of the solution is building trust through your online branding efforts, but that’s a whole different topic. For now, let’s focus on a practical way to encourage visitors to take action on your request: give them something valuable in return for their information/time/money/etc.
Here are some examples:
If you are asking visitors to sign up for your email list, promise (and deliver) a relevant, free eBook delivered to their inbox after signing up, or a digital packet of tips and advice to overcoming / accomplishing a problem or task that your prospects likely deal with.
If you are asking visitors to buy a product, offer a limited time discount, or free shipping.
If you want prospects to get in touch with you, offer a free 15-minute consultation or coaching session.
4 – Incorporate you primary goal on each web page
Now that you know what you want visitors to do, have told them what it is, and added a compelling reason for them to follow through, all that’s left is incorporating your call-to-action on your website in a way that will have the most impact.
Each page of your website should have only one call to action, and it should be placed prominently on the page in a way that catches visitor’s eyes. Your call-to-action may be the same on each page (such as an opt-in box for your newsletter), or each page may have a different call to action, moving your visitors along to your primary goal.
Whatever the case may be, keep these tips in mind:
- Always use simple, concise copy when crafting your call-to-action
- Place your call to action where visitors will always see it (usually “above the fold”)
- Use design elements to catch your visitors eye (a bold complimentary color, large text, etc.)
- Don’t make it complicated (don’t use graphics that take too long to load, flash animations, links or forms that don’t work properly)
Don’t let your website traffic go to waste. Now you have a simple, effective strategy for making the most out of every visitor. It won’t take long to implement, and the results could be a huge and positive change in your website visitor’s behavior, leading to increased business.
Now it’s your turn: How have you used calls-to-action to influence your website visitor’s behavior? What strategies were most effective?
Image courtesy of Flickr user: horiavarlan
About the Author
Sonja Jobson is a Web Content Specialist who helps small business owners and entrepreneurs make the most of the web. Want to learn more about building a thriving business online? Sign up for her weekly Contagious Content Newsletter or check out her blog for small business owners and entrepreneurs.