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.