Call to Action Buttons: 5 Psychology tips to increase conversion 

call-to-actions

What are call to action buttons?

When designing an interface, one of the main goals of the designer, is to ensure that the end user is able to clearly understand what they should do next and where each click will lead them. Call to action buttons are essential to this dynamic, as these buttons are what guide the user through the interface.

The very name of the button, call to action, states there is a necessity for the person engaging with the interface to be stimulated to perform a task. In this case, the designer wants the user to press a button: to make it more enticing so that more visitors will convert. Therefore, your call-to-action buttons should be usable, but they also need to be actively persuasive to encourage more clicks and higher conversion.

Do they really make a difference?

Call to action buttons are the biggest A/B tests run by businesses (they make up around 30% of all tests). The difference between a poor and a great CTA can be anything from a few percent to a few hundred percent and more!

The internet is full of examples of how successful a good CTA can be. Take a look at Which Test Won for some great examples that you can interact with and test your own predictions of which CTA converted better.

So, let’s take a quick look at how we can make these buttons more enticing.

Psychology tips to increase conversion

1 Colour psychology

Colour plays a very important role in determining the pull of your button. The colour you choose can determine who clicks, how many times they click, and how quickly they click.

colour_psychology

For example:

– Females tend to prefer the colours purple, green and blue, while men tend to prefer blue green and black

– Blue is a colour considered to build trust while yellow tends to signify a warning.

These signifiers and others should be taken into account when designing CTA buttons to ensure the right audience is drawn to ‘click’. Not only is it important to choose the right colour, but to ensure that the entire page or interface is aesthetically pleasing. Consider the background colour of your template to ensure colours don’t clash and your button isn’t lost in the background.

2 Placement psychology 

You want your call to action button to stand out on the page, otherwise it will get lost amongst other elements and suffer from less clicks. If your button has an important message, ensure that it is positioned where it will stand out.

You also want your users to understand what happens when they click on your button. It can be a good idea to introduce your button with accompanying short text to support why the user should click it, what are the benefits for them?

Spotify

 

3 Visual psychology

The shape and overall design of the button is where one can get creative, but it is good to keep in mind particular ideas that could add to the ‘clickability’ of the button.

Take into consideration the following:

People like curves. It has been found that rounded corners draw attention to the inside of the button, whereas square edges draw attention away from the centre. Neuro-aesthetics researchers have found that people prefer rounded shapes and these shapes actually cause more activity in the visual cortex (Bar, M., & Neta, M. (2006). Humans prefer curved visual objects. Psychological Science, 17(8), 645-648).

Size = Importance. The size of the button should be determined by how important that particular action is to be carried out.

 

4 Wording psychology

The importance of the message plays a huge part in determining the design of the button. In an increasingly fast paced society, the concept of reading long text becomes less and less appealing. As a result, one wants to ensure that the call to action button is as specific as possible, and gets the message across in the shortest amount of time.

How do we do that?

Be specific. Consider what you want the user to do and use a command to describe the button. For example, buy, watch, download etc. However, take note that some of the bigger conversions come from using less generic and more specific phrases, such as the one below.

CTA-button-test-1

image source

Keep it simple. Professionalism doesn’t necessarily mean big words and difficult commands. Simple commands make it easy for the user to know what to do and what comes next and allows for a smooth transition through the interface.

Clarity. If necessary, include a simple message on the button to clarify any ambiguity that may be there from the command. Through simplicity is important, clarity is essential.

Speak the users language. The larger increases in conversion come from analyzing what your customers really need. In user research we recommend listening to the language they themselves use to explore their mental model and what resonates with them.

Free is one of the biggest persuaders to motivate action so if your service is free or has a free trial, make it obvious for the user to see.

 

5 Emotional psychology

It is important to keep in mind the emotions you want your end user to feel while scrolling through your interface. Whether it be a sense of urgency, pity or excitement, you want to give them a reason to click on your button. Think about what calls you to action and why. Why did you buy those shoes on the internet? Was it because they were on a one day sale, or because they were only available online? Our minds are triggered into action by emotions as well as a perceived sense of need to perform an action. With your button, you have the opportunity to develop a sense of need or create a sense of urgency or desire to take your users to the next step.

Twitter

As humans, we’re pre-programmed to respond to images. They draw us in emotionally. The images you use alongside your CTA can play a huge role in creating the right emotion to engage users and increase uplifts.

 

Example: Basecamp

Basecamp use several techniques to increase the psychological pull of their CTA.

basecamp

Concise explanation with benefits, written in the user’s language (note the informality which makes for a friendly tone of voice), ‘Basecamp helps you wrangle people with different roles, responsibilities and objectives toward a common goal: Finishing a project together’.

– Social Proof to further persuade visitors to sign up. Social proof is evidence of other people using the service, in this case, the ‘4,869 companies signed up to use Basecamp just last week’.

Free. Yes they utilise the power of the word ‘free’ within their CTA.

Specific wording. Note how they could have just used generic ‘Sign up’ wording but they chose to go with a much more personal feel ‘Use Basecamp free for 2 months – it’s on us’. Did you spot the reciprocity there too? The way they bring out the ‘it’s on us’ makes it feel like they’re doing you a favour, psychologically when someone does something for you, you’re much more likely to reciprocate.

 

The exciting part!

Now that we’ve taken you through a number of techniques and examples to show how you can increase your conversion using effective CTAs, there’s just one thing left for you to do, and that’s to try a few of these on your own designs.

We’d love to hear how you get on and if you need any advice or have any questions, we’re always happy to help.

The Biggest list of 35 FREE UX Books

We’ve pulled together the biggest list of free ux ebooks on the internet that will help you to design a better user experience / ux, conduct better user research and improve your usability. You won’t find a list this extensive anywhere else. Please share with your colleagues using the social links above and let us know on Twitter which books you liked the best.

1 UX Design for startups

2 Define app requirements within 20 minutes

3 Designing Interfaces by Jenifer Tidwell (patterns only)

4 Designing Mobile Interfaces by Steven Hoober and Eric Berkman

5 Designing for the web by Five Simple Steps

6 UX Storytellers

7 The Guide to UX Design Process & Documentation. A master collection of frameworks, examples, and expert opinions at every stage

8 The Guide to Minimum Viable Products. A Master Collection of Frameworks, Expert Opinions, and Examples

9 The Guide to Wireframing – For Designers, PMs, Engineers and Anyone Who Touches Product

10 The User Experience Guide Book For Product Managers 

11 Tips on how to recruit participants for usability studies by Nielsen

12 Bright ideas for user experience researchers by userfocus

13 Bright ideas for user experience designers by userfocus

14 Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML by Elisabeth Freeman, Eric Freeman

15 Getting Real by 37 Signals

16 Knock Knock by Seth Godin

17 CSS Cookbook

18 The Fable of the User-Centered Designer by David Travis

19 Converting The Believers by usereffect

20 Usability Guidelines by Michael Leavitt

21 The Guide to Mockups Mockup types, methods and best practices

22 Six circles – An experience design framework

23 Elements of psychology by Henry N. Day.

24 Learning, Remembering, Believing: Enhancing Human Performance by Daniel Druckman and Robert A. Bjork

25 Psychology and Industrial Efficiency by Hugo Münsterberg

26 Mental Models in Human-Computer Interaction: Research Issues About What the User of Software Knows by John M. Carroll and Judith Reitman Olson

27 The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web by Richard Rutter (updated 2014)
TheElementsOfTypographicStyle

28 Search User Interfaces by Marti A. Hearst

29 Web Style Guide by Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton

30 Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design by Shawn Henry

31 Building accessible websites by Joe Clark

32 Time Management for Creative People by Mark McGuinness

33 Taking your talent to the web by Jeffrey Zeldman

34 Introduction to good usability by Peter Conradie

35 Task-Centred User Interface Design by Clayton Lewis

Have we missed any? Help us to keep this list updated for the ux community by letting us know if you find a good free ux book that we should add to the list.

Next:

If you found this list useful, please share it using the social buttons below, and if you liked any of the books, let us know on Twitter, we’d love to hear from you.

Free eBook: Your guide to kick-ass conversion

Sign up to our newsletter (on our home page) and we’ll send you each chapter so you don’t miss out on your free amazing kick-ass conversion handbook. First chapter: Who the f*** are you? will be sent to our mailing list on 1st March

Have you spent money on marketing to drive more traffic to your website? Have you used Google’s paid search or Facebook advertising? Well, did you know that spending money to get more people to your site is money down the drain if they’re not converting into sales? Most companies concentrate solely on increasing the numbers of visitors to their site in the hope that this will lead to more sales, when in fact, they would be much better focussing on converting their current traffic. For a minimal cost, it is a much longer term solution that results in actually costing your business much less than constantly paying out for lower converting traffic.

Here’s an example of your users’ behaviour:

  1. User is looking at a page of Google search results.
  2. They click on your paid link.
  3. They arrive at your landing page.
  4. At this point many factors influence whether they stay and progress further into your site or bounce back to the list of results.

Money spent on marketing is wasted with low converting landing pages

If you’ve spent money getting traffic to your site, the last thing you want is for the landing page to be a barrier to the user progressing further. This is why analysing and understanding the user’s behaviour and designing your pages with this at the forefront of your considerations is vital to keeping traffic on your site, increasing conversions and increasing sales.

Your primary focus should be ensuring the following pages are as effective as they possibly can be:

  • Landing pages
  • Top use cases
  • Contact
  • Basket
  • Checkout
  • Registration (if you require this)

Over the coming months we’ll be releasing a series of pdfs, each is a chapter in our unmissable kick-ass conversion handbook, written by our experts to increase your website conversion for free! Together, all the chapters form the best conversion eBook around so make sure you don’t miss out by signing up to our newsletter right now.

Sign up to our newsletter (on our home page) and we’ll send you each chapter as soon as it’s released so you don’t miss out on your free amazing kick-ass conversion handbook. First chapter: Who the f*** are you? will be sent to our mailing list on 1st March

If you think your website could benefit from increased conversion, get in touch with us as we can help.

20 FREE eBooks you need to design an outstanding user experience / ux

Here are 20 free online ux books that will help designers to create a better user experience / ux and improved usability.

Check out our updated list The Biggest list of 35 FREE UX Books

1 Mental Models in Human-Computer Interaction: Research Issues About What the User of Software Knows by John M. Carroll and Judith Reitman Olson

2 HCI Models, Theories and Frameworks: Toward a Multi-disciplinary Science by John M. Carroll

3 Search User Interfaces by Marti A. Hearst

4 Designing Interfaces by Jenifer Tidwell (patterns only)

5 Designing Mobile Interfaces by Steven Hoober and Eric Berkman

6 Web Style Guide by Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton

7 Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design by Shawn Henry

8 Building accessible websites by Joe Clark

9 The Fable of the User-Centered Designer by David Travis

10 Converting The Believers by usereffect

11 Elements of psychology by Henry N. Day.

12 Learning, Remembering, Believing: Enhancing Human Performance by Daniel Druckman and Robert A. Bjork

13 Psychology and Industrial Efficiency by Hugo Münsterberg

14 Getting Real by 37 Signals

15 Time Management for Creative People by Mark McGuinness

16 Designing for the web by Five Simple Steps

17 Taking your talent to the web by Jeffrey Zeldman

18 CSS Cookbook

19 Knock Knock by Seth Godin

20 Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML by Elisabeth Freeman, Eric Freeman

and here’s one extra! ;)
UX Storytellers by Jan Jursa
UX Storytellers

Check out our updated list The Biggest list of 35 FREE UX Books