How to decide which call to action is best?

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In this web audit, we’re going to look at which call to action is best suited to a home page that’s supposed to generate leads. Our example is from a business-to-business service context. You can apply the same principles to decide which call to action works best in your individual scenario.

Transcript (slightly edited)

Hi, it’s Sabine at From Scratch, and today I’ve got another Web Audit for the Rainforest for you.

What’s a Web Audit for the Rainforest?

We offer an almost-free audit of one page on your website. The only thing we ask you to do is make a small donation to a rainforest charity in order to protect one square metre of rainforest. You’re invited to make a bigger donation than that if you can afford it. But we want to keep this as accessible as possible to businesses that are doing great stuff for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but maybe don’t have a massive budget.

We do one of these audits per month. It’s a lot of work. So we take applications through an application form on our website and we pick one per month based on the SDGs they support, based on how interesting the business is and to make sure it’s a fresh topic in comparison to what we’ve had before.

This month’s web audit: meet Hubba UK

This month, we’ve got a really interesting business from the U.K. called Hubba. They offer business waste collection and recycling — which is quite different from anything we’ve done in this format before. So I’m really excited to present to you: Hubba!

Before we go into the nitty gritty of the of the audit — just quickly, a look at the SDGs that they work towards. One is quite obvious: sustainable cities and communities — clearly waste collection and recycling is very important for that.

But there’s also responsible consumption and production, there’s climate action and there’s industry, innovation and infrastructure. 4 SDGs, amazing work. And so we’re really delighted.

What the Hubba team will receive (hint: it’s more than this video)

Here’s what the Hubba team are going to get besides this video:

They’re going to get an annotated version of their website. It looks like this: pretty much exactly the same as their website, except for these blue bubbles where, if you click on them, you see a comment that I left with a screenshot and some annotations. You can see here at the bottom that you can click on thirty comments and then they’re all in chronological order. So not necessarily the order they appear on the page, but the order in which I made the comments. But you can also toggle this to the side and then it’s navigation mode. You can click around on the page and nothing happens. There’s also an interesting report that goes to them, which is called The Lighthouse Report, where you can see how the page performs in terms of actual performance (speed and that kind of stuff), accessibility and SEO.

And as you can see, this particular website’s doing really well in terms of accessibility and SEO. But performance wise, there are some things that could be improved — mainly around the size of the images, because big images like the one here at the top, those kinds of images slow pages down and speed is also important for conversion and SEO. So it’s really worth looking at that kind of stuff.

I don’t want to go through all the 30 comments with you. I just want to highlight a few things that you might be interested in, in order to learn from them, in order to improve your own website as well.

Auditing the Hubba home page: how to generate more leads

The difference between home pages and landing pages

We need to remember this is the home page. It’s not a landing page. It’s not a product page or anything like this. So anyone could come to this page. People could happen on this web page by accident, just typing something in, perhaps meant a different “Hubba” and ended up here.

They need to be able to understand very quickly if they’ve come to the right place and what they can expect from this page. That’s how landing pages that are more specific and more targeted differ from home pages. On home pages, you need to first have that kind of hotel-reception-type approach where you need to really make it clear to people whether they have landed in the right spot and what to do here.

The hero section: a clear value proposition

And I think in general, that’s really successfully executed on this page, especially because the hero section here has a really clear value proposition headline: what is Hubba? Well, it’s the number one choice for business waste in the UK.

It’s easy to understand. If I’m not looking for business waste, if I’m not based in the UK, I can click away because this is not for me. But equally, if I am a small business in the UK and I’m looking for waste collection services, clearly I’ve come to the right place.

But there are things that could be clearer on this page in order to have a stronger sales argument.

Which call to action is best?

The Hubba team have been asking us to look at how they could generate more leads. The first thing I would recommend doing is think about what’s the most valuable thing that people can do on the page in order to turn into leads.

We have four different calls to action on the home page. And if you want to use your home page to generate leads, that’s too many different calls to action. You should have one, maximum two.

And ideally, you want to know exactly what the hierarchy is between those calls to action. You need to know what’s your number one call to action and what’s the second best option. And if you if you want to have more than one, then use the best call to action and the second best option. But if you only have one, then of course, it should be the one call to action that’s going to get people the farthest in their relationship with you.

Looking at this page, I think probably the highest value action that people can take is to get a free quote. And so we see this quote button appear a couple of times on the page. We’ve got it here. We’ve got it in the next section. We’ve got it in the next section.

“Forwards ever, backwards never”

And then things change. Now we have a button that says “Learn more”.

And so you’re starting really high value and then you’re kind of going down from that, right? “Learn more” is not is as high-value, is not as close to making a decision in the customer journey as “get a quote” is.

I would not recommend starting with a really high value goal that’s close to making a decision and then going backwards. Instead, you want to go forwards.

How to use “learn more” as a call to action

You could offer a “learn more” button in the hero section, next to “get a free quote today” — just in case people aren’t quite ready to get a quote yet.

Or you could only offer a “learn more” button, and then that just takes them to the next section of the page, where the page then auto-scrolls, but they’re not really leaving the home page. They’re staying in the same sales argument, they just sped things up a little bit.

Or you can you can track how many people click the “learn more” button and gauge interest that way. And that’s one way to use it. But yeah, you shouldn’t move backwards from a quote as your goal. You don’t want to go backwards to “learn more”.

Don’t make your homepage do too many things at once

Similarly, here we’ve got a new call to action that’s not got a button. The “free no obligation audit today”, that’s like, “get in touch to find out more”, it is like a call to action.

But it’s not quite clear how that fits into the customer journey. Do I want to get an audit before or after I’ve got a quote? Like, what’s getting me closer to actually getting into business with you?

Without knowing for sure, my best guess is that the quote is closer to striking up a real business relationship. The audit is probably one step removed from the quote.

And so, again, we’ve got this “two steps forward, one step back” approach. We’ve got quote, quote, quote, quote, quote — close to the goal. Then we’re going really far back to “learn more”. And then we’re getting closer to the goal again by offering an audit.

Decide whether you want leads or a contact form (they’re not always the same)

And then we’ve got “get in touch”, which is kind of neither here nor there.

So, in order to get this page more streamlined, in order to give you more leads, the best thing you can do is think about this order of priorities for different calls to action and then build them up in order of how close it is to actually finishing that customer journey and becoming a real customer of Hubba’s.

How to use an audit to generate leads (kinda meta, innit?!)

To make it a bit more concrete even still, I would say: don’t mention the audit on your homepage.

Create a landing page that’s separate from your homepage, which is all about the audit, where I can learn really crucial things that I’m not learning here at all, such as:

  • What’s contained in the audit.
  • What does the audit look like?
  • What do other people say about the audit?
  • Is it worth my time?
  • Is it perfect for me if I’m this kind of scenario, that kind of scenario?
  • How does business waste come into simplifying my supply chain? Would I even say that waste collection is part of my supply chain? How does it all fit together?
  • And what’s needed? Like, what do you need from me in order to do an audit? Is it going to be a lot of work for me?
  • How do we set it up? How do I share that information with you?
  • Will you come on site? Will we have a phone call?

All of this information and a few examples to show what that audit could look like in practice and what other people got out of it. That should be on a landing page where I can sign up for that.

That’s one way of trying out how well an audit would work for you as a lead generation tool.

Be clear, not clever: no business wants to “say hello”

I would also recommend removing the whole “say hello” section from your home page. Because really, it’s not adding anything at this point — for several reasons:

On the one hand, you’ve got “contact us” here as a link in the footer of your website. So that’s taking me to a “contact us” page that’s all on its own. It’s a completely separate page where I can contact you.

But that’s not even all of it. You’ve got your phone number in the header. You’ve got your email address in the header.

You’ve got this hamburger menu where you’ve got “contact us” in there again.

So really, there’s no reason why you need to have “contact us” as part of your home page.

I understand that you want to make it easy for people to contact you. But if you’re really being of service, you want to make it easy for me to get a quote from you, to get going with this, to try out what it might be working with Hubba as my business waste collection service. So don’t distract me from that. Don’t make it unnecessarily hard.

How to decide which call to action is best for a lead-generation page

Take me on a journey where I first learn all of the details I need to know to trust you. And then give me options, calls to action that let me get that quote from you in order to take things further. Everything that’s not directly related to that can go onto a different page.

It’s absolutely no problem for people to pick up the phone here or to send you an email or to click once in order to come to the form that lets them contact you. That’s absolutely no problem.

And plus, you’ve got the chat button here as well. So, you know, there’s so many ways I can interact with you.

Don’t let those ways of interacting with you get in the way of people completing the main goal, which is “get a quote”.

What Chekhov’s Gun has to do with website copy

There are a few other things that I’ve said in my detailed report, mainly to do with clarity, but also partly with proof and specificity. I don’t want to spend a lot of time going into those details. I just want to say a few things.

One thing that I really noticed is that you’ve got this very clever subheader here, where it ends on: “we’ll save you money — and the environment, too”.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of Chekhov’s Gun. The famous playwright said:

Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.

— Valentine T. Bill (1987), Chekhov: The Silent Voice of Freedom, Philosophical Library

Similarly, if you make a claim like this — “we’ll save you money and the environment, too”, as part of your Hero section — you need to “fire that gun”, as it were, on the page.

Yes, the “save you money” bit comes up again: it comes up again here.

But the “environment” bit is a little underserved. It’s a very prominent promise in a very prominent place. And so I would expect the whole page to speak more to that topic.

If it’s not a big selling point for your ideal reader, then there’s no reason to put it in the subhead of your Hero section. But if it is such a big point for your readers, then you need to have that information front and center.

Don’t hide it behind a button. (I think it’s behind this button: “Learn more”.) The surrounding information is nothing to do with the environment. And the button itself isn’t telling me where you’re taking me and that this has anything to do with the environmental promise in the first longer sentence on the page.