Press Submit to Make Money

In the movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko proclaims, “Greed is good”!  While we don’t advocate avarice, we do help our clients become more profitable. So when you ask site visitors to take an action, such as signing up, purchasing, or moving one step further down your conversion funnel, be boring. Yes, you read that right. Boring copy works.

Simple, straightforward language gets potential customers to click. Cute, catchy words or industry jargon just impedes action. It’s better to be clear, and describe exactly the action you want your users to take.

Your web content ought to be creative and engaging, which is why we recommend hiring a web-savvy copywriter along with a designer when you build or refresh your site. But when you want visitors to act, remember, plain language equals conversion.

“Submit”, “Contact Us”, “Buy Now” and “Complete Purchase”, while mundane, provide crystal clear instructions — and they’ve all consistently performed better in optimization tests than fancy phrasing. Basic terms that accurately describe the step someone needs to take require less thought or decision-making, making it much easier to act.

The more specific you can be, the better:

Choose the words on your Call to Action (CTA) buttons wisely.

  • “Submit” consistently wins vs CTAs that are cute or contain non-conventional language.  A great example is a Contact form that used a CTA of “Drop us a line” (too informal and wordy) on a contact form. The CTA “Submit” won with a 44% lift in submissions (with 98% statistical significance). More interesting was “Contact Us” lost vs “Drop us a line” with a decrease of 27% in submissions.
  • Making a specific promise helps — “Get a catalog” vs. “Join mailing list”.

For one service provider we tested the original CTA of a “Get in Touch” button on a PPC landing page against “Request Info” and “Learn More”. We saw a 10% drop in clicks for Request Info and a 127% increase for Learn More. The button led to a form that asked for name, email, and mailing address in order to receive a free, high-quality catalog.

Submissions of this contact form revealed a slightly different picture, however. The “Request Info” button produced a 172% lift in submissions (at 99% statistical significance) and the “Learn More” variation produced a 125% lift (at 97% statistical significance.) While we saw more visits from the Learn More button, Request Info actually produced many more clicks, leading us to believe that visitors had no idea what to expect from the original “Get In Touch” copy.

We have seen tests where “Submit” lost by a very small margin to “Ship My Catalog”. Both variations beat the original “Mail Me A Catalog” by a wide margin.

Set expectations for what is about to happen.

  • For subscription services, “Try it free” with “No credit card required” on the button works well.
  • If a credit card is required, then “Try it free” is not as effective, as it doesn’t meet the set expectations.

Being specific makes a big difference.

“Handcrafted in San Francisco” bests the generic “Made in USA,” particularly if your competitors’ products are mass-produced overseas.

Provide context for consumer goods.

  • A jewelry site’s sales rose dramatically when the business changed a visually unappealing white background to feature the same items on a model.
  • For items that come in different sizes, include an item of related size for scale. We own a gigantic frying pan that my wife bought on Amazon.com, because we didn’t realize how large it actually was.

Make sure your CTAs are clear!
One common mistake is assuming visitors unfamiliar with your product line will be able to figure out the categories in your navigation menu.

Keeping your site language crisp, clear and boring may seem counterintuitive. But our conversion rate testing has proven it’s the smart way to build a profitable online business.