When you work with thousands of tour, activity and rental companies, you spend a lot of time looking at websites. One thing we tend to notice right off the bat? The booking button, also known as the "call to action" or "CTA."
Button placement, design and copy play a big role in getting more clicks and ushering visitors into the checkout flow, yet many businesses don't optimize this element to its full potential. And in a digital age where clicks lead to cash, a weak CTA means you could be leaving potential revenue on the table. Check out our beginner-friendly guide to helping your button be all it can be. It might give your bookings a boost!
1. Where it Goes
If your product or service is straightforward, consider putting the CTA button above the fold: There's a reason newspapers put their most important headlines "above the fold." The same logic can apply to websites, but with an important caveat: Placing the button above the fold (a.k.a, the portion of the homepage that's visible without scrolling) is a general best practice if your product or service is fairly straightforward, and doesn't require a lengthy explanation. This is a great way to cater to potential customers who want a fast, easy, no-frills booking experience.
Keep in mind: If what you're offering is more complex, consider moving your call to action further down the page, giving visitors a little more time to process the information before asking them to make a decision. Your services and products, target audience, and quality of content should all come into consideration when considering where to place your booking button.
Put a call to action button in the navigation bar: If you offer a number of options to choose from, list all of these on a separate "products" or "services" page, and put a CTA tab in your navigation bar that fast-tracks visitors directly to that page. In the case of tours, activities and rentals, especially, some people simply want to view their options right away. Make it easy!
Increase entry points for booking: When your customer makes the decision to book, you want that choice to always be a click away. For a good example, check out Time Quest NH Escape Rooms.
Put the button in the path of the user: Consider the trajectory of people's eyes when they land on your website. Give your booking button logical placement, rather than sticking it in a non-intuitive spot. The goal is to reduce all “friction” or roadblocks that might stand in the way of customers moving from booking to payment.
2. What it Looks Like
Make it look like a button: You don't need to re-invent the wheel. Whether your CTA has rounded corners, beveled edges, or shadow effects, it ultimately needs to look like a button. Customers instinctively look for a button when they're ready to take the next step.
Consider the shape: Unbounce cites one study where a major e-commerce company increased its sales by 35.81%, simply by changing the color and shape of the CTA button. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for success when it comes to buttons, but it goes to show that experimenting can pay off.
Size matters: Conventional wisdom says the button should be 20% larger than your logo. Be sure to choose an online booking system that gives you flexibility and customization options with your buttons.
Use color and contrast: It's human nature to look for color and appreciate contrast. Studies have shown that if a button stands out visually from the rest of the website, it tends to get more clicks. Here are a few design tips from Copyblogger to help your button stand out:
Give it a 3-D effect
Give it a contrasting, non-grey color. Gray buttons perform poorly for this very reason—they look disabled.
Make it change colors when a mouse is hovering over it. See Taste Kennett Food Tours for an example.
Have a good amount of whitespace around the button (a.k.a., you don't want it getting visually lost in a lot of clutter)
Have an arrow pointing to it with instructional copy
3. What it Says
My is better than your: Some studies suggest writing in the first person for button copy works better than writing in the second person. Multiple A/B tests performed by Unbounce, for example, found that CTAs with "my" (such as "Create My Account") got more clicks than buttons with "your" (such as "Create Your Account"). One case saw click-through rates increase by 90%.
Button copy needs to convey BOTH value and relevance: When writing your CTA, think about exactly what it is you want your customers to do, and let that be the guiding force as you craft your copy. For example, something like "Choose My Boat Rental!" is more compelling and straightforward than "Fill Out Rental Form." Check out a couple of the studies here illustrating the impact copy has on clicks.
Give an extra nudge, also called a click trigger: Surrounding your button with benefits-oriented or anxiety-reducing language (or a combination of the two) can also boost clicks. The marketing world refers to these as "click triggers," which are placed near a button and act as extra pokes or nudges enticing people to click. This can include any number of items, such as testimonials, reviews, star ratings, guarantees, data points, free shipping messaging, and much more.
4. Test, Evaluate, Tweak, Repeat
Keep in mind: Your business, audience and website are unique. What works for one business might fall flat for another. What works for just one of your website's pages, might not work for others.
Continuously running meaningful, thoughtfully constructed A/B tests (where two versions of your site are shown to similar visitors to evaluate what tactics get more clicks) can provide clarity on different design and copy tactics that help drive bookings. As mixpanel points out, a single copy or design change might not yield earth-crushing results, but continually testing and tweaking could make a noticeable impact. To learn more about A/B testing, here are a few helpful resources to explore:
There's plenty of data-backed best practices on how to optimize your CTA button, but at the end of the day, there's no one-size-fits all formula. Making design tweaks and experimenting with different copy can help grow bookings and provide valuable insight. Don't be afraid to give it a try!
Having an online reservation system that gives you flexibility and control over your CTA button will be hugely helpful when it comes to optimizing your website for more bookings. With ZOZI Advance, you can customize a range of elements including button color, size and placement, along with font type, size, and color. If you have your own images or creative design assets for the button, these work great with ZOZI too!