In uncertain times and shifting marketing tactics, there’s certainty in one thing. You’ve clicked a CALL TO ACTION button at least once.
Have you ever signed up to Facebook, Google or Netflix?
Maybe you’ve downloaded a business checklist by entering your email address on your favorite startup blog site.
Neatly designed pop-ups, landing pages and email campaigns all have one purpose - to make you click on a button and proceed with a certain action.
And the portion that is designed to make you sign up, buy or proceed down the funnel is called a CTA.
It comes in various forms, shapes and sizes.
Now, you should ALREADY be familiar with this. As a business owner, a growth marketer or anyone in between, you are probably familiar with the terminology.
Even more, if you own a SaaS business, you will usually know the ins and outs of the bigger marketing strategy.
I’ve heard quite a few entrepreneurs rave about the perceived complexity and their own implementation of the freemium or free trial business model.
But one thing I know Software as a Service owners entrepreneurs don’t get is the specificity of the TACTICS of the CTA and why they work.
Chances are you already have a few CTAs on your website. You know how they work.
People visit your website or blog and you use design and content to drive them to click a button that basically translates to revenue. It’s simple user acquisition, placed on top of the funnel found in your owned media space.
The sentence alone should serve as the BIGGEST reminder of why CTAs should be ON TOP of your list of priorities as a business owner.
It’s the SINGLE most important breaking point.
REGARDLESS of ALL the FEATURES in the world, the pricing pages, the signup resources and ANYTHING in between, if your CTA doesn’t work, everything else doesn’t matter.
But, as you are probably aware, it’s also the easiest thing to fix. Let’s start with the basics.
There’s two common ways people implement call to action buttons.
Both of those ways are wrong. It’s simple.
The more time you spend on your strategy and internal testing, the LESS time you spend on implementation and testing.
You can spend days, weeks, or even months (I’ve experienced this, don’t ask) on strategizing.
However, even if you build out and implement what you THINK is the PERFECT call to action, chances are the results will differ from your expectancy.
The BEST way to build out a call to action is to select an idea that would fit and implement it. This will allow you to start A/B testing early and help you develop an optimization work-flow.
NOTE! Implement a Call-to-Action quickly and start testing. The perfect CALL TO ACTION isn’t created in a day. It takes months of strategic optimization.
But that’s what GROWTH HACKING is all about. Implementing novel ideas, trying out different tactics and optimizing your way to success. Without implementation you simply WON’T GET ANY results.
That’s why you should aim to find an idea you like, run it past a strategist, and implement it.
NOW, if you don’t have a bunch of growth marketing strategists to ask whether the idea you have fits your business, don’t worry. I DO! [Learn more about how you can and whether you qualify to join our BA Marketers and Founders Facebook group here.]
And I’m here to take the hard work out of the equation with this blog post.
And I’m here to take the hard work out of the equation and help you UNDERSTAND and implement the best CTA tactics for SaaS startups that I know.
Let’s start with the plan.
So here’s the simple, 5-step process to build a tactical CTA for your business
There are a lot of tried and tested CTAs that are proven to work. YES, you need to consider the specific funnel of your business and the resources you have at your disposal. But, if it takes more than a few minutes, then it’s taking too long.
Don’t overthink it, just push the green button and let it run.
Usually Google Analytics would work well enough for this purpose.
The technical aspects and loading times of your websites can have an impact on your conversion. Make sure to optimize your user experience and reduce the friction in your sales funnel. I talk more about friction in a funnel and popups in this blog post.
The final step is to do tests and continuously optimize the CTAs on your website.
NOW, I know you want to get more tactical. And that’s what we are about to do.
HOWEVER, today we’ll focus SOLELY on step one of the process.
After all, each step is definitely worth its own blog post, so make sure to subscribe to my email list or join the BAMF Facebook group to stay tuned and receive updates on this longer-form tutorial.
So let’s jump into the next section.
I’m here to give you a crash course in SaaS B2B Call to Actions that work by showing you INSPIRING examples from REAL businesses that have shown proven results.
Make sure to share this article with your designer, marketer or anyone who needs a bit of GROWTH HACKING inspiration in their life.
The design style of Trello’s call to action is obvious. Minimalism. It’s simple, quick, effective and it works.
Now, some would jump at the opportunity to say that Trello is just riding the wave of minimalism and that users already know the tool, so this strategy won’t work.
You are correct in saying that, if I know Trello, search for Trello and visit Trello JUST to directly sign up, the page is perfect.
But you’d be wrong to think that Trello is simply keeping up with the trends.
In fact, they were one of the first to implement the design style.
They started with a simple and clear-cut call-to-action found in the middle of their landing page.
The trend continued throughout the years.
Throughout the years, they’ve continued to iterate on their copy and design.
While I don’t have the numbers, I can pretty safely assume that their clear-cut approach to minimalistic landing pages has had an impact on their user acquisition numbers.
Now, let’s talk about why the CTA works.
Take a look at the copy.
In all cases throughout the years, it has always been clear cut, clear and simple.
The first opening line, which is designed to get your attention, has a clear benefit statement.
It tells you what the product does and why it will benefit you and your business.
The second portion of the CTA is a simple and well-organized elevator pitch.
It’s a short sentence that explains the features of the products and what these features allow you to do.
Last, but not least, we have the call to action button itself.
It’s simple and efficient, but also adds to the list of reasons related to why the person should use Trello - it’s free!
Just think about it. Which of the two do you think is better?
Exactly. It’s ALWAYS the second one.
In fact, chances are you are drawn to click it right now, even though it’s an image.
Plus, it ANSWERS a question that is on the mind of a lot of customers.
Most people searching for a SaaS solution would be HIGHLY interested in the pricing of the product.
Answering their question in the Call-To-Action, while providing a clear benefit is another brilliant marketing move.
As a whole, I would summarize Trello’s approach as a lesson in sales. If you KNOW what your customers want, it’s best that you give it to them.
It’s THAT simple.
In just a few lines of text and with a minimalistic design, the CTA manages to introduce you to the product, address a key issue you might currently have and offer you the solution.
Dropbox, one of the top cloud storage services available today, features a landing page with a CTA that is a great example of iteration and testing that works.
In fact, chances are, if you are reading this article in a few months, Dropbox might have already changed their landing page.
Ever since its inception, Dropbox has been iterating, optimizing and testing the landing page of their website.
The lesson for your business should be to NEVER be afraid of active experimentation.
Does DROPBOX change their CTA and landing page more than once per year? Yes.
Is DROPBOX still successful with a clear-cut branding and marketing approach? Yes.
Considering, you should focus on actively trying out new designs and iterations of your landing page.
Another example of a great SaaS Call to Action comes straight from Buffer’s landing page.
Similar to Trello, Buffer went for a minimalistic design.
However, they’ve clearly put far more emphasis on the colors.
Visiting their landing page, the TWO call to action buttons are the items that immediately grab your attention.
The wording used in both buttons, doesn’t seem to be a coincidence either.
Instead of using the same “Sing Up” prompt across both buttons, they’ve gone for a more actionable approach.
Now, it should be obvious that the “Get started now” statement is a great call-to-action phrase.
It includes an actionable verb and prompts for immediacy. Both are elements, which should entice the audience to be more lenient towards making that action.
The second button “Try Buffer for Business” is also good on its own. It’s actionable and simple.
However, with both buttons grabbing your attention, Buffer has already managed to build out the associations in your brain.
Buffer - Business - Start Now
Even without going further, your brain is already wired to associate Buffer with Business and is prompted to take action and start now.
Both buttons are also neatly combined with the typography design of the page.
The second item that grabs your attention, as your eyes are naturally drawn to the center of the page, is the main call to action statement.
The design of the typography is further built in a way that guides your focus down the text, ending with the clear “Get Started Now” CTA button.
Now, obviously, I am not a designer and I’m probably missing out on a lot of other details in the design that work. The framing of the page is also to note with the logo, buttons and the two smiling faces on the bottom.
However, being a growth marketer, I know that these designs work.
Combined with a wonderful copy, a well-designed CTA-first landing page will definitely bring you some amazing conversion results.
Boomerang isn’t necessarily a full-blown startup, but it’s a helpful SaaS tool that should be in the toolkit of every entrepreneur.
It’s a GMail Add-on that allows you to schedule emails to be sent or returned at a later date.
And I shouldn’t be the one telling you JUST HOW important that is for every entrepreneur with little time on their hands.
Now, considering the nature of the tool, its leaders have made a wonderful decision with regard to the tool’s CTA.
With the name “Boomerang” it’s obvious that it would be hard to just stumble upon it. Chances are, whomever is on the landing page would have already been introduced to the tool (either by someone else, or an ad) and they would be looking for one thing.
“Where could I get my hands on that tool?”
And that’s the answer the Boomerang Landing Page CTA provides.
“Add this to your Gmail!” no questions asked.
The CTA button takes about 20% of ALL design elements found directly on the initial landing screen.
It’s attention, eye grabbing and has a clear message.
With this CTA example, I would like to note two particular items.
First, take advantage of the space you have.
Right below the button, Boomerang have put a well-placed text that answers a common question their audience might have.
Similar to other CTA text, it helps users understand and learn more about this product.
However, instead of taking the attention of the user away from the main benefits that are provided with Boomerang, the text is hidden in plain sight.
It’s there for those who are interested and doesn’t bother those who aren’t.
Of course, you can see similar text even in the other examples of this page. But I hope that this specific use of the CTA subtext is far more insightful about its actual use.
It’s not just about mentioning features or adding more information that the user might seek.
The CTA subtext gives you space for information that would be useful to most of your audience, but is sought after by only a tiny fraction of your visitors.
ClickMeeting is another great example of visual flow.
Clickmeeting is an amazing webinar tool that, on its own, isn’t that different from other webinar platforms.
I’ve recently checked out the top 20 webinar platforms for 2020 and let me tell you … even though there ARE differences among them, most of the features are the same.
There JUST isn’t a lot to offer when it comes to webinars.
And that’s an issue that ClickMeeting have PERFECTLY addressed with their copy.
INSTEAD of trying to pick on STRAWS and mention miniscule differences and benefits that the users might not even be interested in, ClickMeeting focuses on their branding.
It is EXPECTED that the user visiting the page will already know what to expect from a WEBINAR platform.
So instead of wasting time, Clickmeeting hits on their BRAND strengths immediately.
Simply by checking out their landing page (and CTA) you are immediately familiarized with their brand color.
It pops out and is used as a clear creative design element in the call to action.
It further drives a point about the strength of the Clickmeeting branding. It’s about helping you stay connected.
As explained with Buffer, the visual consistency and flow are also important.
In almost a one-to-one example, Clickmeeting has introduced a strength that grabs your attention and guides your visual experience through design.
The flow follows through a quick explainer of what the product does, followed by the Call to Action buttons.
This is also a good place to note that CTA doesn’t necessarily mean ONE specific button.
You can give users a choice, while guiding them to the option that YOU prefer.
ClickMeeting has achieved this through the difference in colors. Green on a gray background being the more agreeable color of the two.
Neverbounce is a useful tool that allows you to do bulk and real-time verification of emails.
Similar to other examples on the list, Neverbounce utilizes the best practices for an effective call to action.
The reason why I wanted to showcase this specific example is the amazing creativity in the design.
In discussing tactics, strategy and effectiveness it’s easy to forget that your implementations should also be creative.
While concepts do put certain boundaries, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t allow more artistic interpretations to be brought to life.
The landing page CTA of Neverbounce got my attention with two specific choices.
The first one is the paper plane.
Serving as an arrow, yet part of the design, the paper plane is an amazing showcase of creativity and tactics complementing each other.
It’s obvious that arrows are perfect attention-grabbing guides, but as they are often overused or horrible it’s not recommended to use them.
However, using your design as an attention-grabbing guide IS ALWAYS recommended.
The second thing that I love about Neverbounce’s CTA implementation is the animation of the text.
The switch between “your” and “more” is able single-handedly to change the meaning of the message.
In the first case, with “your” it’s a more emotional-driven statement.
In the second case, with “more” it’s a more benefit-driven statement.
It’s certainly a landing page with an awesome CTA that inspires me to do more with the tactical boundaries I set myself.
I hope it does the same for you.
Before we go into the more tactical resources my team and I have prepared for you, I also want to mention two notable examples of SaaS businesses doing CTAs right.
The first is AgoraPulse.
I understand that a lot of SaaS businesses want to showcase a lot more of what their product does than what can be explained with words.
In fact, I am a proponent that VIDEO EXPLAINERS for SaaS businesses are definitely a must.
It allows the user to get more familiarized with your platform and its use, while giving you marketable content across multiple platforms for a multitude of uses.
However, a lot of businesses implement their videos in a way that drives the attention AWAY from the call to action.
AgoraPulse manages to achieve a perfect balance of grabbing the user’s attention with the CTA, while also providing them with a choice.
Both the VIDEO and the CTA are a perfectly equal choice in the eyes of the user.
This example is also here to say that the positioning and style of your CTA depend on your business and marketing goals.
In this case, AgoraPulse clearly wants to both push their explainer, while not leaving the Sign Up step in the background.
The second example that I want to showcase before going tactical is Zoom.
Everything with the CTA of Zoom is as expected, considering the CTA standards for landing pages that we’ve discussed.
However, the reason why I wanted to showcase their landing page is because of the recency and timing.
It’s arguable, but TODAY, fixing the CTA of your website is as simple as clicking a button and changing a text.
So while we are putting ALL the attention on updating our Social Media channels, why don’t we do the same for our CTA?
Now, there’s obvious limitations and downsides to this line of thinking, but considering the situation the world is in, I think Zoom’s decision to timely respond was definitely the right one.
Especially considering HOW many people were JUST now introduced to the brand.
Hopefully, I’ve inspired you enough to start ACTING on your CALL TO ACTIONS.
But of course, we won’t leave you empty-handed.
Here are a few helpful tips, resources and formulas that you can use in your CTA-related processes.
Now, if you want to implement a great CTA for your business, I’ve built out a simple formula, inspired by Trello’s design.
Here’s the simple Trello-inspired Call-to-Action formula.
Start with emboldened design. In the span of three lines with THE LEAST amount of words possible, introduce your product to the customer.
Add a second smaller paragraph below it. There, in a brief sentence, add any features and benefits that are found within your product.
Think about everything the customer would love to see and use.
Last, but not least, add a CTA button with a twist.
Tailor the copy of your actionable portion in a manner that would entice the user.
Now, if you want to have a landing page/CTA that is truly effective, you need to iterate through your designs in an efficient manner.
Similar to Dropbox, you need to stay aligned with the latest design trends and be able to switch between CTA designs quickly.
To do this, simply make sure that your marketer, design and front-end developer are aligned.
Build out a process, that allows for A/B testing of new designs and implementations within less than a week.
The proposed process goes as follows.
My general advice is to be as fearless as possible with your concepts.
Usually, the concept should focus on smaller items for A/B testing. These would be button positioning, button copy, pre-button text and design or another item of importance.
However, depending on the current state of your CTA and to keep in line with the latest design trends and marketing developments, it might be best to do a quick CTA overhaul.