Confusing Directions and Confusing Advertisements

Driving somewhere new always comes with a certain level of stress. Even with GPS, there are worries about getting lost, ending up in the wrong location, or otherwise having a bad experience. When someone gives you directions, whether you enter them into your GPS or they get scribbled down on a notepad, you expect them to be clear and direct and help you get where you need to go.

Imagine there’s a new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try, so you call and get directions over the phone. You jot them down, as the GPS has not been working well. You know the general part of town where the restaurant can be found, but you haven’t actually been there, so you feel a little nervous looking the directions over.

You get in your car and start driving. Surprisingly, the directions seem to be taking you in the opposite direction of where you need to go. You decide to continue follow them a bit. The directions have you circle back around and eventually start heading in the right direction, but you have now wasted 20 minutes. After a few more odd turns, however, you find yourself in a part of town you don’t recognize, and you become increasingly frustrated. Eventually, starving and annoyed, you give up and head home, stopping at your favorite place to eat right by your house.

By giving unclear directions, that restaurant just lost your business.

What we as marketers can learn from this experience

Your customers want — and need — clear instructions from you about what to do. When you create marketing campaigns and landing pages, you want to make sure they’re simple and easy to use. If you have pages that are busy or confusing, or if your pages have multiple calls to action, you’re going to lose customers.

This desire for simplicity is known as the Law of Pragnanz. People appreciate layouts and designs that require the fewest cognitive processes. We all naturally interpret things according to the simplest explanation.

Using this desire for clear directions in marketing

Creating advertisements that lack a clear path of what the visitor is expected to do can be as frustrating as the directions you received to get to the restaurant. You didn’t know where to turn and — in the end — just gave up. Chances are, if you were still looking for a product or service, you would’ve just gone to a competitor (like the favorite restaurant in our story).

All of your marketing materials should be designed to provide clear guidelines and instructions for your customers. Don’t be coy about what you’re actually hoping customers will do. Be upfront about the purpose of your advertisements and what customers will get from you. This will help improve your conversion rates and the success of your marketing campaigns.

Too many companies find themselves trying to make advertisements with multiple calls to action or with formats that are so confusing no one knows where they should click first. Keep it simple and work to create landing pages and advertisements that are clear and straightforward to follow. You’ll keep your customers happy and improve your conversion rates.

How to Fix Your Call To Action

Your call to action, or CTA, is easily one of the most important parts of your website. It’s where you find new leads and convince your audience you offer something worth exploring. Whether your CTA invites people to sign up for a newsletter or download your latest ebook, all CTAs are not created the same. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when developing this critical part of the website.

The words

The words on your CTA are critical. Most people will be skimming it, so it’s important to make your offer’s potential value obvious to everyone who sees it. Use precise, clear language that explains what customers are going to receive. Bullet points are fantastic because they’re particularly easy to skim and tell the audience exactly what they’re going to receive.

The words you use in your CTA should also line up with the text around it. For example, if you offer home cleaning services and are offering a free download on the safest cleaners to use around children, your CTA will probably best fit at the end of blog posts and articles that discuss the dangers of certain cleaners or how to safely secure cleaners away from children. Try to create a tangible link between the content and the CTA. This will help ensure your offer reaches those who are most likely to be interested in what you have to say.

The appearance

While what you say is certainly important, so is the overall appearance of your CTA. Choose contrasting colors to help the CTA pop from the page and attract viewers’ attention. A CTA that just blends in at the bottom of a blog post will be overlooked and have a poor conversion rate. Similarly, make sure the CTA is big and bold, so no one can miss it. Don’t hide the CTA in the corner, using the same font size as the rest of the page. It will be too easy to ignore.

In the same way, use images and other visuals to help consumers get a concrete look at what they’ll be receiving. If that’s an ebook, for example, use a picture of an actual book with the title of your ebook printed on the front. Using images helps people develop a strong association with the product you’re offering and makes it look more appealing.

The importance of testing

When planning your campaign, develop more than one CTA, then test them to see which one resonates more with customers. You might be surprised how much difference a particular word choice or color can make on your conversion rates. Run basic A/B tests on the CTA, and get concrete answers about which offer is getting more conversions.

An A/B test is simple. Say you have one CTA and then develop an alternate page. The A/B test will randomly show some visitors the original and some the alternate page. It will then track how many people convert from each page. You can use this information to see which has a higher conversion rate, so you get the best page on your site.

Developing an efficient CTA will bring you leads and potential customers. Take the time to follow the steps above, and create a CTA that will maximize your potential.