The Psychology of the Call to Action Button

Button’s are the best aren’t they! “Click this and something will happen!” it’s a pretty sweet deal for our monkey minds, little risk for a potentially high reward.

That’s the whole idea behind a call to action button. It’s culminates all the story and the promises of the landing page and tells the audience, all you could want and more is behind this door, click this button to start your journey and commit to the pitch.

It’s a powerful tool, and therefore you should spend a decent amount of time thinking on the psychology of your call to action buttons. These can be anything from your carefully crafted email list building landing pages to the subscribe button on your YouTube.

So where do we start? Let’s go with colour…

The Psychology of the Call to Action Button
Are you a Red ‘Subscribe’ style guy? or a Yellow ‘Buy Now’ kinda guy?

What colour should my Call to Action button be and why?

YouTube has it’s famous Red Subscribe button, and Amazon has it’s Yellowy-Orange Buy Now button, but which should you have?..

Taking a look at a post by Yahoo on the best colour to colour your buttons, not actually the name of the article…

It reveals the best colours to use are Red, Green then a tied 3rd, Orange or Yellow.

Red is clear, after reading my short monologue on buttons above you can see why it works. The colour red elicits passion, excitement, and urgency – the hallmarks of a great ‘teaser’ which is generally what we want to be doing will our Call to Action buttons – teasing what’s behind the door and/or teasing the benefits of starting out on this journey we’re offering our audience.

Green is good for electing thoughts of environment, psychology, and peace. It’s also associated with the action ‘Go!’, think traffic lights or green tick marks. It’s the more orderly version of red. Do this because you should, not red being do this because you could! (which is a much more chaotic and appealing sentiment to our monkey mind – referencing the book The Chimp Paradox.)

Finally Yellow and Orange symbolise happiness and actionable steps based on happiness. Amazon uses this really well. Orange and yellow are associated with the sun – all that vitimin D must provoke some healthy action!

Some colours to avoid are Black (just too gloomy), White (not enough going on) and Brown (dirty and unappealing.)

How many call to action buttons per page? 1 or 100?

The Psychology of the Call to Action Button
numbers, numbers, numbers…

Searchenginejournal states repetition as one of it’s top 7 tips. Repetition of your call to action button has a lot of benefits. For one your developing a pattern which in turn develops trust and recognition in your message.

Another big point is that your helping out your SEO by using your repeated keyword in your call to action button. Not only that but your also creating a seamless connection between your audiences search term and the search term being used in the button!

So use it more than once, but don’t swamp your page with multiple buttons on screen at the same time.

What value am offering with my call to action? What text should I use in my call to action?

Wordstream tells us we should be using value proposition. So how so you define a value proposition…

“…an innovation, service, or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers. ” – Google.

Here’s a list of the top value propositions to use in your call to action button’s from wishpond

  • Sign up free
  • Create Account
  • Book a Demo/View Demo
  • Contact Sales
  • Learn More
  • Join Free
  • Shop Now
  • Explore
  • Discover
  • Get X Off
  • Add to Bag/Add to Cart

And the list goes on, it’s all about finding the button text that most accurately fits with your value proposition. For example if your we’re offering your software as a trial maybe you’d use ‘Book a Demo’ or if you we’re selling a product ‘Add to Cart’. It’s worth researching and even better yet A/B testing your CTA button text prompts.

How do we reward the psychological response to clicking our CTA button?

Our call to action is an actionable response, and any action has a equal positive reaction right? Well it should! Better yet the action they take should be overwhelmingly beneficial in their favour. Developing a response to the button that elicits a high perceived value is very important.

This involves making a great pitch to sign up for an eBook but equally making a great eBook, so they come back for more.

This involves making a great website for a product but equally a great product for the same reason!

If you’re putting this much effort into hooking your audience then you need the follow through too.

Doing this Neil Patel tells us, reinforces our psychological sense of reward.

The Psychology of the Call to Action Button
Psychological Sense of Reward

It’s a psychological conditioning that’s been understood to heighten response to a stimulus that is entirely beneficial with little to no downside.

Therefore if your Call to Action buttons lead to nothing but perceived value, your building trust and conditioning in how enticing those future Call to Action buttons will be for your audience and customers.

This is often used in up-selling to a mailing list or for example up-selling products others bought on Amazon, the second one falls into social proof, but you get the idea.

It’s all fascinating stuff I employ you to do more research into these topics, and as ever A/B test your findings. I’ll be doing so, and I’ll also be writing more on this topic in the coming weeks or months I imagine so sign up to my mail list below.

Comment what you think of my CTA buttons too! Research is important, especially first hand research.

Written by Adam Smith

The Psychology of the Call to Action ButtonI’m a designer and storyteller.

This blog is a place for me to document my experiments combining three key fields: Design, Storytelling and Digital Marketing.

I hope I can also inspire and guide you towards towards your own Digital Storytelling goals and successes.

The Psychology of the Call to Action Button

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