to improve Online sales with a sharper call to action
There are two important components
that can most impact a sales oriented business Web site.
Obviously we spend a fair bit of time teaching students how to
get the benefit of enormously improved visibility through
search engine marketing. But the second component (that some
people completely forget about,) is the aspect of being able
to compel those new visitors to respond to your Web
1. Your Web site must be easily found by those who are
searching on the major search engines. But once you're found;
2. You must include a solid call to action that gets the new
visitor to take action and respond.
It is only when both of these two elements are made manifest
in your strategy, that you will notice a measurable difference
in your online sales. One without the other, just won't have
the same impact at all. For example you might have huge
volumes of traffic built up using a variety of top strategies,
but even if you have 20,000 new visitors per day, it is still
possible for a Web site to flop, if all visitors are doing is
hitting the back button and if none of that traffic is
converting to sales. Or the opposite is also true. You might
have a very compelling flow of copy that reads well and would
convert great, but what good is that high conversion ratio if
only a handful of visitors can find the Web site? So you need
both to be easily found and you need good sharp calls to
action in your content.
Another aspect that will help is to focus on creating content
that you can feel proud of. Something that literally satisfies
the reason why the user performed a search in the first place.
Search engine marketing that employs fresh, original, high
quality or highly useful content that is of true value to the
visitor is the smartest way to build success.
Okay, let's talk about how you can sharpen your "call to
action" on your high performance pages.
Determine what the objective of your page is first.
In other words, what action can you identify that will meet
the objective of making any given page successful?
Perhaps you are
trying to sell a product.
objective might be to gather permission based leads.
page needs to instill confidence and set a comfort level and
stimulate the desire to purchase.
might just be to get people to pick up the phone and call you
at a Toll free number.
It might be
anything at all, but give it some thought.
regardless of whatever it is, needs to be identified first, so
that you can ensure your "call to action" fulfills
the purpose you are trying to achieve. It is amazing how
people sometimes don't really think about their call to
action. We sometimes assume people will just automatically
know what to do next. But you'll be much more successful if
you tell them in plain simple language exactly what you want
them to do right on the page so they understand.
Once you know what the call to action is, here are a ten
quick tips to keep in mind:
Tip 1. Give people a non-threatening reason to take action
Tip 2. Write your call to action so that the copy focuses on
the visitor and does not focus on you.
Tip 3. Learn how to write your call to action "for
voice." (Nearly like a broadcaster writes.)
Let's say you were selling an e-book as a product....and
we'll give a couple of examples to demonstrate:
First a bad example: (Read the following
bad example out loud)
"In our e-book, we will teach the
student how to take advantage of all of the strategies they
need for success. How can anyone be sure they will gain the
best information from our product? Here's why. We are the
experts and we guarantee all of our products. Hurry and buy
Okay, so let's talk about what is wrong and how it might be
Notice it does
not speak too the reader.
heavy emphasis on terms like "we
will teach," "we are
the experts," "we
(These all represent very self focused terms)
does have the flow that it could have if it was written more
focused on the reader.
Okay, now let's change gears
and write similar text so that it flows in a more compelling
manner. Plus we'll add in the benefit of a guarantee.....
Here is a better example:
the following better example out loud)
just imagine, once you read this e-book, your Web site could
be taking more orders online, finding more new customers for
you, converting more of your traffic into sales, and making
your online business as successful as, or even more successful
than, your competition. Plus....did you know you have up to 90
days to decide if this e-book is right for you. That means you
don't even need to think about making a decision. Just simply
download the e-book right now and start discovering everything
you need to know. The important thing is that you start now.
Don't wait for your competition to get a head start. Download
this e-book today and start using the information today. We've
made it simple and affordable, and the rest is up to
Okay, now so
let's talk about why this works better.
"Now just imagine" help paint a picture in the mind
of the reader.
The copy now
reads like dialogue or like someone was speaking directly to
We have added
in mention of a guarantee - which removes the feeling of risk.
flows to convince you to take action now.
The dialogue is
very visitor focused and mentions "you" much more
than "we" or "ours."
reason to respond is that you need to take action BEFORE your
Does not try to
"push" the sale but leaves the reader in control by
using phrases like "the rest is up to you."
Okay, on with some more tips.....
Tip 4. One of the things you can easily do, is consider
checking your Web statistics for busy pages that are already
getting traffic in your Web site. Then review each of these
individual pages to see if there are ways to enhance or
improve the current call to action. Or if there is none,
consider adding one in.
Tip 5. Remember to read your Web copy out loud to see how
well it flows. Does it flow like dialogue or does it sound
more like a sales pitch trying to sell you something.
Tip 6. Work on the tone of your dialogue so that it reads
warmly, nearly like a friend speaking directly to you.
Tip 7. Have you added in some "trust building"
factors. If you have a guarantee, be sure you add it in.
Tip 8. If your "call to action" is to get the
visitor to make a phone call, try describing the action you
want them to take.
Example: Here's all you need to do. Walk over to the
phone and give us a Toll Free call right now at 1-800
Try increasing the size of your Toll Free Phone number and
make it real easy to read.
Tip 9. Sometimes you may want to include a few testimonials
in with your call to action (depending on what it is.) Some
people may never visit a separate testimonial page, but
sometimes a testimonial well placed near a call to action
Tip 10. Are you working
with all of the benefits in your dialogue? Make sure you are
properly describing those benefits so that the emphasis is
on the true value of what the reader will get for taking the
Remember that your
objective, regardless of whatever it is, needs to be
identified first. Then you can write much sharper sales copy
that reads like dialogue and delivers your message so that
it flows smoothly. Then, rather than trying to push a sale,
it informs the reader of the benefits and leaves them
feeling in control. The focus as they say is on
"telling" not "selling."
Following this tips only requires a little bit of practice
but if you have good visibility already in the search
engines, sometimes you can improve your sales nearly right
away, with just little tiny changes and improvements to your
call to action. Best of luck!
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About John Alexander
John Alexander is Co-director of Training at Search
Engine Workshops offering live, SEO Workshops with partner
Robin Nobles as well as online search engine marketing courses
through Online Web
Training. John is author of an
e-book called Wordtracker
Magic and has
taught SEO skills to people from 87 different countries.
John's articles can be read in publications like REALTOR
News, SitePro News
and many others.
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