The Psychology Behind a Call to Action
Imagine a young man wooing a woman. He sends her flowers, serenades her from under her balcony, takes her on romantic boat rides and treats her to expensive dinners. Then one day, he gets down on his knees and pops the question.
If the young man was a brand and the woman was a customer, the ever anticipated proposal would be the Call to Action.
The Happy Ending to a Well Told Story
The call to action is the final and most important step in a marketing transaction, especially in the world of e-commerce. A stall owner can shout out his wares; a retailer can use slick salesmen, but an online business has to depend on the call to action.
The best part is – a call to action works, and works wonders. Let us see examine the psychology behind this amazing marketing tool.
The Customer is Expecting It
Let us go back to the example of the couple. As the young man was wooing his beau, she too was allowing herself to be wooed. So when he serenaded her, she did not call 911. When he took her out to dinner, she ate with gusto. When asked aboard for a boat ride – she came along willingly. All because she knew that there was a proposal at the end of it. If she thought for a moment that the young man was not serious, she’d perhaps have looked at other options.
Similarly in the case of e-commerce, the customer is allowing herself to be convinced to buy. She is going through your website.
Reading what you have to offer. She is giving you her valuable time. She expects you to sell to her. So if an online business does not use a Call to Action, the customer could end up being frustrated and dissatisfied. The psychology of the customer demands a Call to Action.
It Needs to Follow Set Patterns
The young man could propose to his girlfriend anywhere. It could be in the middle of the street, when she is getting her hair done or when she is waking up in the morning. However, he chooses not to do that. Instead, he takes her to an extra expensive dinner, and takes out the ring somewhere between the main course and dessert. What the young man is doing is putting his call to action where his customer most expects it and where it is likely to be answered positively.
Similarly, online businesses need to place a Call to Action in a place where it is expected. When a customer is browsing through an e-commerce website, she is looking for it. The design of the webpage should, therefore, be such that it allows the call to action to be displayed prominently. Ideally this would be at the end of the conversation or sales pitch, which on a website would be at the bottom centre of the page.
It Takes Familiar but Striking Form
When the young man proposes to the woman, he takes out a diamond ring. Of course, he could have taken out anything – a flower, piece of chocolate, or a necklace. However, the ring is expected, and the ring is what his customer will get.
Similarly, the Call to Action should give recognizable design cues. It should tell the customer, “Here I am, click on me.”
Therefore, most ECommerce websites use a readily identifiable clickable button as part of the Call to Action. Even at first glance, the customer should be able to tell where she needs to click.
The Bigger the Diamond, the More it Shines
The size of the diamond in the ring matters. It tells the customer that the young man, or the brand, cares for her. Similarly, in an e-commerce website, the customer needs to be given assurances of care and importance.
Words like FREE, CLICK NOW, GREAT OFFER, AMAZING DISCOUNTS, reassure the customer that the brand is taking her seriously and going out of its way to give her a good deal.
A Lifelong Relationship
For an online business, the customer is not a disinterested person. Rather she is looking to buy, and the brand is looking to sell. It is the ideal relationship about to happen as long as it is allowed to happen. Even a little understanding of the psychology of the calls to action can help an e-commerce venture establish long term and fruitful relationships with the customer.
The writer, Edrick Hypolite, has worked in the e-commerce field and understands the importance of good web-design in creating a convertable site. To facilitate his checkout process he highly recommends turning to the services of FastSpring. You can learn more about Edrick on Google+.