A call to action (CTA) is any element on a website that encourages visitors to take an action. Usually, a CTA comes in the form of a button or the combination of a button and a line of text. Calls to action can also be textual links, although this treatment should be used judiciously since text does not stand out as well on a page as a graphic or button. The most common CTAs on attorney websites are invitations to call, click to talk to an attorney, download an ebook or read a specific piece of content.
Not all CTAs are created equal. If the function of your firm’s website is to generate leads, writing good calls to action should be a top priority. Subtle changes in language can make a big difference in how well a call to action performs. Color, size and placement within the page can also affect whether or not a visitor will choose to follow your suggestion and act.
Here are six things you can try to boost your website’s CTA performance.
1. Personalize button language.
Take the example of an ebook download button. Five possible variations for the language are:
1. Download the ebook
2. Download your ebook
3. Download my ebook
4. I want the ebook
5. Get my ebook
The word “your” is frequently used in calls to action because it shows that the visitor will receive something that will then be theirs. Web pages often encourage visitors to “create your account” or “reserve your seat” at a seminar.
Intuitively, “your” seems like a good choice because it offers a level of personalization, which is key to convincing people to act. However, it may not be the best choice. Unbounce, a company specializing in landing page testing, ran an experiment that tested the word “my” against the word “your” on its conversion buttons. After several tests showed the buttons using “my” outperformed the others, Unbounce decided to change the language on their own PPC landing page. The result was a 90 percent increase in that CTAs click-through rate, simply by replacing “your” with “my.”
Attorneys could put this theory to practice by using phrases like, “Get My Ebook,” or, in the case of scheduling a consultation, “I want to talk,” instead of less personal options.
2. Experiment with using different words for consultation.
Whether or not your firm offers free consultations, you likely encourage people to set up a consultation in order for you (and them) to determine whether an attorney-client relationship would be beneficial. Many law firm websites use the word “consultation” somewhere in their call to action language.
From a non-lawyer perspective, the word “consultation” can be intimidating. People don’t quite understand what is involved in a consultation, and this may deter them from responding to a CTA that uses such language.
Retail businesses have noticed similar negative consequences to using the word “quote.” The theory is that people associate getting a quote with long processes, complicated and confusing forms, and general inconvenience. Often, replacing the language “Request a Quote” with another phrase, like “Request Information,” or “Request Pricing” can increase click-throughs.
For attorneys, replacing consultation-based language with more direct appeals, like “Talk to an attorney” may reduce hesitation and increase conversions. It is important to note that the effectiveness of this tactic, as always, depends on your audience. Business or intellectual property clients, for example, may be more familiar with the phrase given their daily work and may be more comfortable scheduling a consultation. Only testing can tell.
3. Offer multiple methods of contact.
Not everyone will want to reach your firm in the same way. For this reason, you should offer visitors more than one easily accessible way to contact you.
Some people will be eager to call. Your phone number should be visible on every page, and it should be displayed in clickable text — never in an image. People may want to copy and paste your number into an address book, and mobile users may want to click on the number to call you. Make it easy for them to do so.
Others will prefer to contact you through email or live chat, if you offer this service. Place these buttons prominently on your site, and make it clear what each does. If someone wants to fill out a form but is greeted with a chat operator, he or she may be turned off to the whole process.
People have a bias toward the familiar, and they tend to look for contact information at the top of a page. Often, live chat bars slide up from the bottom or side of the page. You may want to experiment with the placement of these elements, by moving links from the left side of the menu to the right, or by taking a button from the side of a banner to the center, but you should not try to re-write the playbook. Keep important contact elements in places people expect to see them for maximum performance.
4. Emphasize benefits.
Your website copy should be all about the visitor, and CTA language is no exception to this rule. As you discuss your qualifications, you must explain how these qualifications allow you to help solve peoples’ problems.
For example, a special needs planning lawyer may have decades of experience helping parents plan for the care of a child with a disability. This experience is a feature. The corresponding benefit is that when parents work with the firm they can plan out a meaningful and secure future for their child. Presenting that benefit is much more compelling than just saying you have experience. People are more compelled to act when they understand the value in doing so.
5. Talk directly to the visitor.
Your CTAs should be engaging and strike a chord with your visitors. Grammatically, CTA buttons should always use active language. Words like “Get” and “Start” are effective action words. Depending on your firm’s brand and audience, you may be able to use more playful language, like “Let’s do it!” or “Let’s work together.”
When asking visitors to do something, always tell them what to expect next. If you want them to fill out a form, tell them how long it will take. A “Schedule an Appointment” button can be paired with a simple sentence like, “It’s easy, and it only takes 30 seconds.” This takes the pressure off visitors and lets them know they won’t be asked to provide too much information up front.
Additionally, let people know what to expect once they have contacted you. Will you reply with a call or an email? In what amount of time can they anticipate hearing from you? If a visitor is asking to schedule a consultation, tell them him or her what to expect during the initial meeting.
It is important to note that these suggestions are not universal. Only testing will determine how your audience will respond to variations in a call to action, even if you have followed every best practice.
Your call to action language is some of the most important copy on your site. In just a few short words or phrases, you have to convince visitors to act. It cannot be an afterthought. You CTAs deserve planning, testing and care so that they can produce results for your firm.