Best Practices: Call-To-Action Tips for Online Shop Operators

The “Call-To-Action” (short: CTA) is one of the most important elements in an online shop. It is usually smaller than images or text on the page. Nevertheless, it should be given at least as much attention as the other elements.

The call-to-action can provide the final and decisive impetus to lead a prospect to an action that serves the marketing goals of the respective website.

If you take the AIDA model, then the CTA is the element that enables a potential online shop customer to take the important step of turning a desire that has been awakened into an action. In short: the importance of the CTA is immense .

What is the CTA anyway?

“Call to Action” simply means ” Invitation to act “. The aim of the CTA is to get the potential customer to carry out a certain action.

In the online shop, the CTA usually leads to a purchase. But of course there are other possible tasks. For example, if an advertisement first brings the potential customer to a landing page, the CTA may have the task of leading them from the landing page to the online shop.

A CTA can also request, among other things, to call a provider , which is sometimes an option with service providers such as craft businesses. Or he invites you to register for a newsletter .

Ultimately, the call-to-action is always about the fact that the operator of a website has defined at least one marketing goal for the respective website and the CTA asks the potential customer to act in accordance with this marketing goal.

Types of call-to-action in online stores


Even if you narrow your view of the CTA in e-commerce and online shops, there is more than one type of call-to-action left.

There is always more than just one marketing goal associated with an online shop and its individual pages. Sales are always the top priority. However, there are various levels that a consumer sometimes goes through before making a purchase. And at all of these levels, call-to-action can be used as a prompting element.

The CTA on the landing page

Take a landing page, for example. If a potential customer visits such a landing page in an online shop, a search on Google may have led them there – in the example “vacation credit New York”.

So the seeker already comes with a relatively precise idea of what he is actually looking for. The landing page shows him:

  • You’re right here!
  • We will take you to where you can get what you are looking for!

The call-to-action contains the message: If you click on me, your current need will be met. Very few would like to wait too long for such a need to be fulfilled.

The call-to-action should be designed to be particularly noticeable. The CTA is best to catch the visitor’s eye!

The CTA for newsletter registration

Another example of a call-to-action in an online shop is the request to register for a newsletter.

This can be done at the end of the ordering process by simply ticking the box or using a separate field on the side of the shop.

The latter option represents a higher hurdle for the visitor. Here, too, the CTA becomes the final impulse generator, which at best ensures that an interested party really becomes a new newsletter recipient.

More and more popular are lightboxes that appear on the screen after a certain visit time or when trying to leave the website and prompt you to subscribe to the newsletter.

These “PopUp” layers that appear surprisingly are perceived by some users as intrusive. Due to the high level of attention that goes with them, the newsletter subscription rate with them is quite high!

CTA: The hurdles for customers are sometimes high

There are many other areas in the online shop where a CTA is useful or even necessary. The best-known variant is certainly the (chargeable) buy button on the product detail page or in the shopping cart checkout process.

The CTA should be clearly visible on the page and elements should perhaps be placed in its vicinity that positively influence the purchase decision. This can be information on possible installment payments, references to fast delivery times or trust elements such as seals of approval that show that the shop owners can really be trusted.

As a shop operator you have to be aware that every CTA means a certain hurdle for the potential customer that he or she skips … or not. Such hurdles are different!

If the CTA asks the customer to put a product in the shopping cart, this is only a medium hurdle. If, on the other hand , he is required to make a binding purchase by clicking on the CTA , the hurdle is significantly higher. This applies even more to potential new customers than to existing customers.

New customers may need to disclose personal information before clicking on the CTA that triggers a purchase. This requires a certain amount of trust in someone whom the new customer hardly knows. It might be useful to place trust-building elements (e.g. trust elements such as a Trusted Shops seal of approval) near the CTA.

In this way, any existing suspicion of potential customers can be eliminated. Ultimately, the following applies: The higher the hurdle to be overcome for the customer, the more convincing the CTA and its environment must be.

Meaning of the call-to-action in the AIDA model

The phases that a customer goes through in an online shop before making a purchase can be easily explained with the so-called AIDA model.

  1. Attention – First of all, a product has to attract the attention of the online shop visitor.
  2. Interest – Interest should then arise from attention.
  3. Desire – Interest turns into desire.
  4. Action – It should then be as easy as possible for the visitor to follow up on this request with an action that is in his interest and in the interest of the online shop operator.

The AIDA model (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) is one of the basic marketing principles, although it is individually disputed whether it can be used everywhere.

However, the basic statement conveyed by the AIDA model is largely accepted. An interest has to be aroused and deepened and finally you have to put the potential customer in a position to express his desire through an action. This latter task is that of calls-to-action.

Never underestimate the importance of the CTA

Various tests have shown the importance of an optimized call-to-action. Optimizing the CTA often means, above all, finding the ideal position.

One can find the ideal position, which may the conversion rate (compared to the CTA in the initial position) quite by 20% or sometimes even up to 50% increase.

Other possible changes relating to the CTA can affect the shapesize and environment of the CTA. Time and again, conversion optimizers bring the color of the CTA into play when it comes to optimizing it. But the colleagues are quite divided on this. One thing is clear – colors attract people!

The call-to-action – tipped the scales

Let’s summarize: The call-to-action is one of the basic elements in an online shop. It can be the deciding factor whether or not interested parties actually become buyers. It should therefore be given some attention. Don’t ignore it!

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