Don't Be a Cannibal – Call to Action Explained

If you’ve been around the internet marketing scene for a while, you know that having a site or blog with the proper “calls to action” is key to your success. These calls can include RSS signup, email capture, lead generation, affiliate sales, and the list goes on. Here are three rule-of-thumb steps that you can take to make sure that you’re on the right track:


Establish What You Want to Convert

The first order of business is to figure out what exactly what offer(s) you’d like to call action to.

Often, site or blog revenue is the most sought after benefit, so go ahead and start there in your quest for conversion.

Ask yourself simple questions such as: Do I need leads, or maybe even email addresses so that I can employ targeted marketing? Do I need RSS subscribers? Do I need people to click on a large button so I make affiliate commissions? What are my competitors doing and is there any way for me to verify their success or failure?

As a side note, it can help to ask other web masters or people in the know for their opinion on what you should be calling to action. They may have insight into what you can make the most money with.

Once you’ve figured out what exactly will be your main conversion focus, it’s time to prioritize them. Be careful, though, you don’t want to be a cannibal! This concept is further explained after the three rule-of-thumb steps.

Properly Place and Implement

Now that you have an idea of exactly what offers you’ll be employing, it’s time to implement the offers so that they’ll convert best.

The easiest way to go about grabbing eyeballs is to put your offers in the most in-your-face places as humanly possible. Take our good friend, John Chow. If you’re new to his site, there is a pop-up that will literally darken the rest of the screen and force you to read his newsletter offer. Who wants to place a bet that his conversion increased after he implemented that feature?

That is an example of extreme call to action. Now, consider something more subtle. How about that blank spot in your header… or the top of your sidebar? People often scan their eyes from left to right, then move down, and then scan left to right. Knowing this, wouldn’t it make sense to put your call to action in the header, or at the top of your content area?

Chew on that for a bit while we move forward…

Disclaimer: THERE ARE ALMOST ALWAYS IMPROVEMENTS THAT CAN BE MADE! NEVER SKIP THE NEXT STEP!

Testing, Testing, Testing

I’ve written and spoken about how important this is many times. You will not improve, or see the most return possible from your site, unless you closely monitor your traffic for conversion. If you know what your readers/visitors are or aren’t doing, you can make INFORMED decisions about how to improve.

We make changes to our site very regularly, and they are often small changes. That being said, we sometimes get very big results…

Here are a few links to awesome testing software:

I know a few of you “in the know” folks are screaming, “WHERE IS GOOGLE WEBSITE OPTIMIZER???” Well, it doesn’t work so well with WordPress… yet.

So How Do Cannibals Play Into This?

Well, now that you’ve followed steps 1,2, and 3, you’ll have a nice little set of data to work with.

The “cannibals” on your site are the links, calls to action, and anything else that stands in the way of you properly converting.

Find these cannibals, and exterminate them! If you have 3 offers, and two of them are performing poorly… get rid of them and only have the 1 offer! The two bad offers were cannibalizing your good offer, and it’s almost a sure bet that you’ll see improvement after you’ve removed them.

Make sense? Now, make dollars.

Take advantage of our blog, and ask a question if you don’t understand! If you’ve already been there, done this, then go ahead and comment on your method!

About Nate Whitehill

Nate is a co-founder of Unique Blog Designs and has been a user experience and visual designer for over a decade. He aspires to make the world pixel-perfect. Follow Nate on Twitter
This entry was posted in Design. Bookmark the permalink.
  • CoffeeGuy

    You might want try this plugin for WordPress and WSO. The Content Robot one is buggy but I’ve had success with this one

    http://www.impressionengineers.com/wordpress/easy-google-optimizer-plugin/

  • http://mattblancarte.com Matt Blancarte

    We’ll have to check that out. Indeed, all of the plugins we’ve tried thus far have been very buggy.

    Thanks for the link!

  • http://www.averagegal.com AverageGal

    Thanks for the great article. I often find myself losing track of the conversion piece. Google Analytics is my primary source of tracking. I’m going to give the cannibal idea a shot and remove the offers that are performing the worst and simply leave the ones that convert.
    Do you have a link or name of the plugin that John Chow and UniqueBlogDesigns is using to darken the screen and have a specific call to action for your free ebook and email sign up? Also do you feel that it might actually deter people from your website?

  • http://mattblancarte.com Matt Blancarte

    The feature is a lightbox effect created by Aweber. If you don’t have an account with them, you can sign up through http://www.blogemailmarketing.com

  • http://natewhitehill.com Nate Whitehill

    The cool thing about the Aweber lightbox feature is that it is very easy to split-test different headlines/offers, thereby increasing your opt-in percentage.

    Regarding the lightbox being obtrusive and potentially turning off visitors, the great thing is that if the visitor closes the lightbox offer or submits, they will never be shown the offer again.

  • http://www.averagal.com AverageGal

    Thanks for the site. Glad to hear that site visitors don’t have to keep seeing the pop up if they choose to sign up or close the offer. This looks like a great tool and I can see the benefits…thanks again for sharing the tips!

  • http://joshuadenney.com Joshua

    It’s all about focus and narrowing in on your goals.

    Now…why does Nate get the fancy green box in the comments and not you, Matt?

  • http://mattblancarte.com Matt Blancarte

    I asked him the same question right after he commented. lol It’ll be fixed shortly.