CTA Buttons: Understanding the Psychology for Increased Conversions

To make your website stand out among millions of other websites, you have got to do something different. You need to understand what drives your customers to click and buy your products! In this article, we will discuss the psychology CTA buttons and how to use them on your website. 

The Psychology of CTA Buttons

Let’s face it. It is not easy to make people buy your products. No matter how useful and practical it is, it doesn’t always sell itself. Using psychology to understand the behaviour of your consumers would be helpful in creating more conversions. 

But before we get into the psychology of CTA button optimization, let’s understand what CTA buttons are.

What are CTA Buttons?

Call to Action buttons are those elements on your website that are placed with the intention to be clicked on. The entire purpose of the site is to get people to click that button. This could be a signup button, subscription button or purchase button. 

To get more clicks, it is beneficial to learn the psychology of your customers. Let’s look at some of the psychological phenomena that you can capitalize on to create conversions.

1. Anticipation and Expectation 

Anticipation is the first thing a visitor feels on any website. Your visitors know there is a CTA button on the website, they just don’t know where it is and when it will pop up.

They expect to see a CTA button. They expect to see prices that are slashed in half! They expect a visual treat and more! 

When you cater to these expectations you create a sense of security in the minds of your visitors. Your potential customers are then assured that you will be capable of satisfying their product expectations as well.

What are the ways to satisfy the anticipation and expectations?

Use engagement to keep them motivated enough to scroll through to your CTA button. Make your text interesting. Use captivating images between your text. Create your website using techniques that guide your users through the page to the CTA. 

When the users eventually reach the CTA they will be satisfied because what they anticipated did happen! 

In the CTA button itself, use positive text as far as possible. This is because the users usually anticipate positive things to happen. Writing “Click to Redeem This Offer Now” on your CTA button has more chances of getting clicks than “Don’t Miss This Offer”. Everyone wants to see themselves get an amazing offer. No one wants to miss it! 

2. Urgency

Now, your visitors have reached the CTA button. How do you get them to click it? Phrases like “Hurry! Only limited seats available!”, “Limited period only!”, “Last 3 bags left!” create an urgency in the users. 

This is what motivates them to click on the CTA button without any second thought. As you read this in theory, you may feel like it is not true, and it is too silly to work. But in reality, we have all been in that situation where we need to make a last-minute purchase! It is in these situations that urgency can be heavily capitalized on. Think about the last time you purchased a birthday gift.

No one wants to feel left out and marketers know that as well. They use the fear of missing out phenomenon to capture your attention and create a sense of urgency in you. 

How to create urgency in your CTA buttons?

Use text with phrases/ words like “hurry”, “limited”, “exclusive”, “once in a lifetime” etc. to make the users feel that it is their only chance to make their purchase. 

Make sure the words trigger the “fear of missing out” in users. This will make them grab the deal immediately!

Colour psychology too plays an important role in CTA buttons. If the colour of the button contrasts with the rest of your website, it is easier to make it stand out. It is commonly said that red, orange and such warm colours grab the attention of customers. If your website is in a neutral colour range, cooler shades like green and blue can work well too.

It is important to ensure that the button feels and looks secure. This will make the customers feel like they are making the right decision.

Using a positive tone in your CTA button copy works better. For example, a CTA button saying “Buy More, Save More“ will get more clicks than a button that says “Buy More, Spend Less”. 

3. repetition

Repetition = Retention!

Ever noticed how advertisements on television are repeated over and over again? You remember these brands through repetitive advertising.

Repetition can be used to reinforce a brand image in the minds of your customers. Your brand can be associated with certain emotions, beliefs, concepts and ideas. Customers seek out patterns and themes in any website. When you repeat something, a pattern is created. For example, you can use the term “Buy Now and Save more!” strategically all over the website. The customer will associate the idea of saving money with clicking the CTA button! 

It is better if you make this repetition subtle and not too in the face. Subtle repetition is great for priming your customers and it can be used liberally throughout the design. 

How to use repetition in your website?

You can use the technique mentioned in the section above. Another way to use repetition in your website is by placing the CTA button in more spots than one.  

This is a good technique to prime your customers. They may not notice the button the first time, or even the second time. But by the time they reach the third CTA button, they will be prepared to click it. 

Repetition also gives them time to think and decide that they want to make the purchase. Be careful with this technique and do not overdo it. Too many options can hinder the decision making process (causing decision paralysis). 

4. Sunk cost bias

Sunk cost bias is a phenomenon in which a person does not wish to back out of an action because they have invested their time, money and efforts into it. They believe that backing out will be a waste of all their investments even when continuing the action leads to more loss. 

How to use sunk cost bias for CTA optimization?

You can use a progress bar when users are filling forms or downloading a file. This will let the customers know how much time they have invested. Loading page animations a great way to do this too. A representation of their progress will make them aware of their efforts and make them reluctant to step back from their actions. 

Use it if you are asking your customers to fill out a form, download a file or complete a detailed signup process.

5. Halo effect

The halo effect is a popular theory in the field of social psychology. It is effective in web design and online marketing as well. In its simplest sense, it means that first impressions heavily influence our perception of the person or the situation. 

So how does Halo Effect work on a website? The load speed, overall quality of graphics, content quality and ease of use influence your website’s first impression.

The first impression of the website is enough to determine if the customer is going to click the CTA button or not. If the website left a good impression, the customer will have confidence that they will deliver their promised product/ service quality. 

How to use the Halo Effect to get more clicks?

Use attractive website design. The first visual impression of your website is incredibly important. You should make sure that your website is loading fast enough.

If your site is slow, the customer will not stay long enough to reach your CTA button. 

Make sure that the website is secure, fast and updated. A customer will only feel confident enough to click on the CTA button if you provide a secure site.

6. Reciprocity

The idea of reciprocity is very simple. If you get something, you give something in return. This is a core value in the human mind. 

If you have offered a service or product to a customer for free, they are more likely to give your CTA button a click than someone who did not receive anything. 

How to use reciprocity for optimizing CTA buttons?

Offer free services and provide this information right next to the CTA button. If your customers get free service, for let’s say 2 months, they will be obliged to continue to receive these services from you. 

Try it! 

To sum it up:

Understanding the psychology of your customers is important to get them to click on your CTAs. When a potential customer enters your website they anticipate a CTA to show up any second. Make use of this anticipation and deliver! 

They expect to see a CTA button in a particular way. Make your CTA buttons suit their expectations. Create urgency in them to click and complete the required action. 

Repetition can be used to prime your customers to click the CTA button. Another method is to make them realize the efforts they have taken to reach this particular point and make them reluctant to back out. 

The Halo effect can be used to create the perfect first impression on your customers. Use great design and win their confidence. Reciprocity can be used to get a CTA click too. Give your customers valuable experience for low to zero cost. 

All these methods can help you get a highly converting CTA!

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