3 CTA Buttons Mistakes That Cost You Money

3 Less Known CTA Button Mistakes That Cost You Money

So, call-to-action buttons. You know, the ones you’d like your visitors to click so badly.

“Download my free ebook”. “Get a quote”. “Contact me”. All that stuff.

Seems easy-peasy, right? How can you possibly mess it up?

Ehm. Where should I start?

Today, I’l d like to talk about less known CTA button mistakes I don’t see many people writing about. Which is probably the reason so many people mess it up.

But just so that we are on the same page, let’s start with this:

2 things about CTAs everybody and their grandma, grandpa and hamster know about:

  • CTA elements should visually stand out from the rest of your page. The common practice is to make call to action a button, which is why your visitors expect a call to action to look like a button these days.
  • The text of a CTA button should complete the phrase “I’d like you to…” as in “Download your ebook”. Or, if you’d like to complete a sentence that your visitor is thinking, “I’d like to…” as in “Download my ebook”.
  • The words you use on that CTA button matter a lot. Effective calls to action trigger emotions and/or create sense of urgency motivating visitors to take action immediately.

According to the last two rules, if your CTA says “Info” or “More” it’s a bad CTA.

Because nobody would like to info, and no one would like to more.

If your CTA says “Info” or “More”, it’s a bad CTA. Because nobody would like to info, and no one would like to more.

But even if you make sure your CTA complies with these rules, it is still possible that you’ll mess it up pocking a hole in your sales funnel.

Why?

Because of this:

3 less known CTA button mistakes that cost you money

Mistake #1. Your CTA doesn’t make sense out of context.

Often your visitors are able to decide whether they want to click that CTA button based on the heading and the CTA text alone, without reading much of the copy in between.

But if your CTA says “Click this button” or “You can also do that” (all real examples, by the way) you are asking your visitors to spend an extra effort reading the copy to understand whether they want to click on that button.

And we all know how website visitors feel about things that make them spend extra effort.

Bottom line: People older than 5 won’t click on a button unless they know exactly what it does. If they need to put in extra effort figuring out such trivial thing as the purpose of a button, they may decide it’s not worth it and leave your website.

Your CTA button should make sense out of context. People older than 5 won’t click on a button unless they know exactly what it does.

How can you do it better?

Just tell them exactly what that button does!

Here are some good examples:

  • Get in touch
  • Drop me a line
  • Read my blog
  • Hire me
  • Get a quote
  • Book a free session

Mistake #2. Both your CTA and text snippets look like buttons.

How fast can you figure out what’s a CTA and what’s a heading here?

CTA bad example #1: How many CTAs do you see?
How many CTA buttons do you see?

This is another example of making your visitors work too hard to extract the information they need.

Here’s the solution, by the way.

CTA bad example #1: Text looks like a button.
How many CTAs did you guess right?

Here’s another “don’t do it like this” example (and no, underlining your CTA to indicate it’s a link is not helping):

CTA bad example #2: Text looks like buttons. CTAs look like text.
Text looks like buttons. CTAs look like text. Where is the world going?!

How can you do it better?

Make your CTA look like a button, and your text like text (and not like a button). Like this:

Make your CTAs look like buttons, and text look like text.
Make your CTAs look like buttons, and text look like text.

As for the first example with the 7 button-like elements, the better solution would be something like this:

Make your text look like text, and CTAs look like buttons.
Much better now!

But this example has one more problem. Namely:

Mistake #3. Too many CTAs next to each other.

CTA buttons are the doors you place for your visitors to guide them through your sales funnel.

The more doors you place on one spot,

…the less control you have over where your visitors go next,

…the more difficult it becomes for you to guide them the way you want.

Plus, if there are too many doors, your visitors may end up selecting none because of the decision fatigue – the same thing that makes you scream “Screw it! I’ll do it some other time.” when an online shop website shows you 200 options for “brown leather sneakers”.

CTA buttons are doors you place for your visitors to guide them through your sales funnel. Place your doors wisely.

How to do it better?

  • Put unrelated CTA buttons (for example, “Download my ebook” and CTAs for your services) further apart.
  • If you have related CTAs that have to be next to each other (for example, CTA buttons that represent different options of the same choice – services, price packages, etc.), tone down their styling a bit to make them less “in your face” to avoid visual overload.

Remember this example?

CTA bad example #1: Text looks like a button.
“Too much. Didn’t click.”

Here’s how to improve it:

  • Put some text between the first CTA and the headings so that they don’t appear on the screen simultaneously.
  • Make text look like text.
  • Tone down the styling of the CTAs placed next to each other.

Like this:

Place unrelated CTA buttons further apart.
Ah! Much better! Now your visitors have just 3 CTAs to look at.

And if you have a CTA that is most dear to your heart – a service that is your main focus, for example – you can even make it stand out.

Make one of multiple CTAs stand out.
“Click this button you must!”

To summarize:

The things you probably knew already:

  • CTA elements should visually stand out from the rest of your page.
  • The text of a CTA button should complete the phrase “I’d like you to…” or “I’d like to…”.
  • CTA copy matters a lot. Effective call-to-action copy trigger emotions and/or create sense of urgency.

The less known CTA button mistakes I just told you about:

  • Your CTAs should make sense out of context. Your visitors should be able to understand what this button does without reading the copy that comes before it.
  • Your CTA should look like a CTA (i.e. like a button). Your text should look like text (i.e. not like a button).
  • Don’t place too many CTAs next to each other. If you have to, avoid visual overload and tone down their styling.

What can you do right now?

Funny story: One of the “don’t do it like this” examples in this post comes from a website of an experienced website and business owner.

I’m sure they know better. But the fact that those 7 CTA-like elements are still hanging on their page shows that we website owners become blind to our own mistakes with time. Which is understandable: We stare at that damn page for hours every day!

So even if you think that you don’t make those CTA button mistakes on your website, do have a look with a fresh eye at the CTA buttons on your sales pages.

Also, you are always welcome to report on your findings, experiences and frustrations in the comment section. I always reply.

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I share one short but actionable tip every Tuesday and one in-depth article every Friday.

About the Author
Gill Andrews is a versatile content creator and web consultant for small businesses and solopreneurs. When she is not writing blog posts or reviewing websites, she is probably running after her toddler son or eating chocolate cake (because reviewing websites and running after toddlers requires energy no salad can provide).

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