5 Tips on Making Effective Calls to Action for Ecommerce

Posted by Victoria Elizabeth 24 Jul 13

New visitors to your ecommerce site can sometimes act like lost sheep. They know they want something from you, but they don’t immediately know how to get it and where to go.

A Call-to-Action button (CTA) is your shepherd's staff for visitors so that they can be properly directed on what to do next. Effective Calls to Action provide information like “Buy Now” or “Request a Call Back.” These instructions are indispensable guides for visitors and should not only be self-explanatory but also visible and easy on the eye.

Here are 5 tips for good CTAs: 

1) Bulding Urgency

Psychologists and marketers may already be aware that building  urgency increases desire for a product or service. This urgency only  works however when there are clear instructions for visitors to  follow. So “'buy now'” as opposed to “'buy'.” When you build a window of opportunity and provide the instructions for how to take advantage of it, your visitors will be more willing to make an immediate purchase.  

2) Encapsulation

Encapsulation simply means putting a frame around a message, like a CTA. Encapsulating your message places higher importance on what’'s within, which will also draw the viewer’'s eye. If your e-commerce site has a large enough volume of visitors, you can use an A/B test to see whether this is true for your site. However there are a number of studies done using eye-tracking software and mouse movements that prove encapsulation works well in attracting visitors and directing them to the appropriate links. 

3) Colour and Contrast 

Different colours and contrasts allows your CTAs to stand out on a page. Use colours that match/correspond to each other to avoid dissonance, and try to make whitepace around something important to highlight it. A good amount of white space in a message will reduce the amount of distractions and therefore increase the likelihood of someone focusing in that area. 

4) Social Proof

Social proof is another psychological technique that shepherds visitors in the right direction. Social proof can be anything from customer testimonials, or the number of products/services already purchased, to who liked or shared something from your site. Displaying this information will help visitors to determine how popular something is, which will influence whether they deem it important enough to purchase. 

You should display Facebook and other social media widgets prominently, which will drive more visitors into your CTAs and ensure others know how many visitors liked the product they are viewing. Marketers are always trying to quantify the Return On Investment of social media, and although this can be murky territory, social proof situations like these can demonstrate ROI through the number of likes, shares, etc. on each product. 

5) Directional Prompts

Direction indicators such as arrows can lead visitors to look at your CTAs more readily. These allow the viewers eye to locate the most important information on the page quickly and easily, which is what you ideally want. You can add directional prompts when complex layouts, or ones that requires a heirarchy of steps, cause too much confusion and result in less click-throughs or conversions. 


These 5 tips will steer you in the right direction for optimising your CTAs and making them stand out amongst the crowd. You should try some of these principles out using A/B testing to see what works best for your company and website. Each company will have it's unique version of a good CTA, so try to figure out which one works for you and implement it! 


Topics: Ecommerce marketing tips

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