Once you’ve done the hard work of attracting potential customers or clients to your website, you have already made progress towards the goal of new business. After capturing your prospects’ attention, your website needs to give them something to do in order to move them closer to being paying customers or clients. A clear call-to-action on your website will allow prospects to self-select and move themselves through the selling process; a call-to-action can take many forms, a common one is a clickable button or link by which the user can request more information on your company, download a white paper or case study, or sign up for your mailing list.
If the purpose of your website is purely informational, then a call-to-action can still be useful to add more subscribers to your mailing list (you have a mailing list, right?). A clear and simple call-to-action answers the user’s question of “Ok, I’m here, now what?” and provides a clear path for them to take if they are interested in proceeding further. Along the way, things like registration forms or information forms can help you learn more about your prospects as well as assist you in your future marketing by providing more demographic information about your prospects.
Finally, calls-to-action should stand out visually; this is why so many of them appear as colored buttons - they are just itching to be clicked. Making next steps as obvious as possible via a clear and inviting call-to-action takes little effort on the part of users and makes your website’s usability feel intuitive. Whenever and wherever possible, you should be evaluating opportunities for calls-to-action not only in your website, but also in sales collateral and email list messages.