GOALS YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE
You could generally translate call-to-action into "Dear user, give me data" - but that's usually not an end in itself. Let's take a moment to visualize the range of possible goals:
Of course, call-to-action elements are particularly present in the e-commerce sector, where they are more or less directly targeting online business transactions ("buy" / "book" / ...).
Where this is not possible (or is not the sole goal), but still part of starting a business deal, the target dimensions already become more diverse: Thus, "generating leads for the sales team" is a very typical topic, but also "customer loyalty" or "good user experience through customized content."
Of course, there are other activation goals. Particularly noteworthy is the topic of network effects, from "leaving a positive assessment" to "building a community" and of course the cross-connection to the social media.
And, of course, there are CTA applications that have nothing to do with "gain data" at all, typically in the area of intranet for example.
Incidentally - at least one positive side effect, possibly even a goal itself: the better the data, the better the analysis options for the purpose of further improving the website!
OFFERS THAT WORK
If we ignore the "classic" e-commerce and instead imagine a classic B2B website, the core problem is quite often this: which offers can I use to guide the user to the desired first steps (as a rule: to fill in a form)?
a) The classics - rather uninspired
- “Contact” (callback, chat, ...)
- Subscribe to Newsletter
b) The more attractive variants
- Join a webinar
- Download documents (e.g., white paper, checklist, analyzes, templates, industry information)
- Access to a demo system
- Online expert advice
- Make an appointment (for example at a trade fair)
- Use multimedia (audio, video) - e.g. webinar records
- Access to technical information
c) The social variants
- "Become a fan" / "Like" / Share / ... (Note: this is what the user identifies with!)
- Become a community member
- Playful competitions (quiz, ...)
d) The specialized variants
- Apply for a job
It really pays off to spend some time on the question of which offers could really be of value to the target group (because, in the end, the user "pays" with his data).
And yet this will fizzle out if the presentation is not right, that is: the "packaging" is at least as important.
When we talk about presentation of the offer, there are two basic aspects to be distinguished: optics on the one hand, and the scope and timing of call-to-action on the other.
When it comes to optics, one wants to achieve above all distinctive features, clarity and simplicity. Of course, this goes well within the context of the general website interface but can also act like a layer if it wants to be more "dominant." Simple example:
However, this example also hints at the narrow line we are following: "too little" is lost, "too much" is perceived as disturbing and counterproductive. However, one should be very aware of its target groups: For example, a very actively presented offer could be quite welcome if the user has a specific need.
In addition, cultural differences should not be underestimated. What we may perceive as rude or ridiculous in Germany is perfectly normal in other countries (including the Western Hemisphere) - and those who work with less risk falling behind.
The other side of the coin, as we said, is the extent (less is more) and the point in time at which we approach the user. The key here is that we want to make the value of our offer accessible to the user as intensively as possible in advance. What does that mean? We give as much insight as possible before the request for data entry begins.
First parts of the text or audio / video are directly accessible, and input is only required for other parts. The configurator is freely usable, only to save a configuration (or for the final PDF / real prices / ...) a data entry is necessary.
First, it should be noted that especially websites of German providers are often more "shy" and less creative trying to get in touch with their users - here is certainly a good place for the first starting point. The second point is to intelligently design the new ideas.
And then: try it out! Observe! Test! Sometimes small changes make a small difference. And this goes into both directions; One would like to avoid bounce rates that are too high due to increased barriers, or at least you want to recognize them quickly.
Incidentally, it should not be forgotten to make the offers as visible as possible, that is: to advertise. Within the site, through other channels, and even AdWords & Co. are a good thing to use here.
Call-To-Action is an important element of successful online media, as well as the basis for active online marketing. With each relaunch, a lot of time should be devoted to this topic, but further development in live operation is still essential and is rewarding.
P.S.: Especially outside of e-commerce one question should be asked: what will you do with the data obtained? Are they only "punched and filed" or are they used to optimize the website? Maybe even used for personalization via Marketing Automation? How good is the link with other online media? And of course: Will the transition into the classic sales process be successful? It would be a pity to invest all the effort and then make nothing out of it :)