How One Simple Change Can Generate Up To 20% Lift

Welcome to this, the first of a series of test ideas, which we call ‘Quick Wins’.  These are campaigns that you can typically get up and running with a minimum of planning, minor creative design work, and usually with minimal technical resources.

This time, we’ll tackle call to action buttons.  Though they typically take up a small portion of a web page’s real estate, getting them right is critical.  I have seen clients achieve solid double digit improvements in overall conversion just by optimizing their call to action buttons.

Buttons – What can you test?

Call To Action Button TreatmentsSo, where do you start?  Here are some aspects of your call to action buttons that you can easily test:

  • Size
  • Color
  • Shape & Graphical Treatment
  • Text
  • Position
  • Frequency


The size of your call to action button influences how easily your visitors find them.  People often judge that the larger something is, the more important it is.  You can certainly overdo the size of your call to action buttons, but it’s more likely that they are too small.  This can happen when designers try to squeeze a lot of content onto the page.  They may shrink the button size to conserve real estate.  This is almost always a bad idea.

If a visitor doesn’t find your call to action, it won’t matter what the page does do right, because they won’t do the one thing you brought them to the site to do in the first place.  For the financial services industry, that usually means filling out a form.  Much of your traffic probably comes from pay-per-click (PPC) ads.  If a prospect doesn’t complete your form, you pay to bring them to your site, but you receive limited or no benefit, so make sure that it’s immediately and intuitively obvious what to do next.  Making your call to action buttons larger can help.

Test Idea: Increase the size of your call to action buttons.


A button’s color is one of the most effective ways to call attention to it.  Reds and oranges work well for this purpose, as do other warm colors.  Cooler hues like blues and violet draw less attention, as do less saturated or gray colors.

Test Idea: Test versions of your buttons that use warmer, brighter, more saturated colors.

Shape & Graphical Treatment

Buttons need to look like buttons.  If they don’t look clickable, it follows that visitors won’t click on them.  This typically means that they should have an edge treatment that looks like it is beveled or raised.  Adding a drop shadow may also draw more attention to them.

Test Idea: Consider applying a bevel or drop shadow to your buttons to make it more obvious that they are clickable buttons.

Does the shape of your buttons match the design of the rest of page?  If it differs, shape alone may draw more attention to a button.  For example, if your page layout uses a lot of square elements, a curved element will stand out more.  Sometimes breaking with the look of your site makes it more clear that the button is not just another graphical element on the page.

Test Idea: Change the shape of your buttons.  For example, if you use square buttons, test rounded or oval versions.  For rounded buttons, test more angular versions.

If you use a simple rectangular HTML form submit button, rather than a graphic, it probably doesn’t call enough attention to itself.

Test Idea: If you use simple HTML form submit buttons, consider testing image-based buttons.


The text you use on your buttons can make a big difference.  “Submit” makes it clear what to do next, but it doesn’t incent visitors to click.  Work a benefit into your button text to act as one last push to get visitors to complete a form or to click to learn more.  If you have a benefit that you can distill into a few words that fit on a button, this may effectively produce more clicks.  For example, “Get Your Free Investor’s Kit” gives a visitor a final nudge forward, where “Submit” would not.

Test Idea: Include a benefit in your button text.

The text of your button should match the interest level and commitment that a visitor is ready to make.  If they are still investigating your product or service, “Learn More” feels softer than “Submit,” “Complete,” or “Act Now.”

Test Idea: If your button text feels like it’s asking for too much commitment, use button text that makes it clear that there is no risk or limited obligation entered into by completing the form.

Make it clear that buttons are clickable links.  On the web, text links are often underlined.  One way to attract more clicks may be to underline the button text.

Test Idea: Underline text in your calls to action, making it more clear that they are clickable links.


Where you place your calls to action can be as important as how they look.  Consider where your visitor is in their thought process and their frame of reference when they see a call to action.  I have seen cases where PPC landing pages place a submission form or “buy now” link at the top of the page.  Most of your audience probably needs to hear the benefits of your services before they’re ready to take action.

Showing a call to action before you explain what you can do for your prospects can seem as premature as bringing an engagement ring to a first date.  Visitors need to know why they want your product or service before you ask for their information or invite them to buy.

Test Idea: Try placing your calls to action in different locations on the page, usually after you describe the benefits of your product or service.


Consider that your audience will be made up of both “Type A” people who tend to make decisions more quickly, as well as “Type B” personalities who are more likely to take action only after they feel that they have fully investigated your offerings.  Type A’s may click on the first link they find that looks like it may solve their problem.  Type B’s tend to be more deliberate in their investigation, so for them, it makes sense to place a link lower on the page, after you have more fully explained your product’s value proposition.  Cater to both personality types by placing links both higher on the page for Type A personalities and lower on the page for Type B’s.

Test Idea: Place additional call to action links on your pages.