Have you heard the one about the modern startup model?

10,000 guys walk into a bar. Nobody buys anything.
The bar is declared a lavish success.

Makes me chuckle every time. It’s a good joke, because, like all good jokes, there’s more than a ring of truth about it. Indeed, this is satire, plain and simple.
I’ve worked with plenty of people over the years who are determined to measure their success by the amount of traffic that they can generate to their website, or by how many followers they can amount on Twitter. And, do you know what, I’ve been guilty of allowing my business ego to be massaged by the odd the vanity metric in the past as well (as I say, that joke certainly strikes a gong of truth!).

But right there is the very problem with vanity metrics – they’re distracting, and they serve to fool you into thinking that you must be doing well, even though your actual sales figures and conversion rates are telling you the complete opposite.

growth-hacking-startups-call-to-actions 7 Growth Hacking Tips To Supercharge Your Start-up’s Call to Action

Hey,” says the CEO. “We haven’t sold anything for four days.
Relax,” says the marketer. “We’ve just picked up an extra five thousand impressions on Twitter.
Five thousand? Really?
Oh yeah, baby. And yesterday we had the highest traffic flow for the whole month!
Well, congratulations,” says the CEO. “You, my friend, can have a drink on me. And a promotion.

The Unsexy Truth

The modern marketer, it has to be said, is plagued with a rather conflicting task. On the one hand, it’s very important indeed to build up a meaningful and weighty following across social media – Twitter, Facebook, G+, Instagram, all of them. And, in the same vein, it’s equally important that these social channels are used to generate a decent flow of traffic to the business’s website.

However, what that same marketer must not do is conflate the notion of actual business success and growth with traffic growth and social media follower growth.
Now, it would be disingenuous to say that the two things are entirely separate, because they’re not. Indeed, when done properly, social and traffic growth can and will directly inform business growth. However, it is too often the case that marketers get this bit wrong.

Indeed, growing a following on Twitter can often be as simple as following as many people as you can, and reaping the rewards of the follow-backs. Yeah, it’s nice to build up a following like this, but what’s it actually doing to your bottom line? Sweet FA, is what.

And yet, the business cracks on with things, refreshed with a perpetually renewed sense of enthusiasm that growth is happening. It feels great. It feels like you’re a success. It feels sexy – but it’s not.

In fact, what the marketer should be doing is stepping back and taking stock of the situation.

Increased traffic is nice, but it’s not converting,” says the marketer.
By Jove, you’re right!” says the CEO.
What we need is long term plans and strategies.
Yes. I must admit, I got a little excited when we reached ten thousand Twitter followers. But then I realised keeping you in employment was costing the company more than the revenue you were generating – let alone the profits!
This is no laughing matter, mate. Either bring us some business, or there’ll be no business!

7 Growth Hacking Tips To Supercharge Your Start-up’s Call to Action

The focus point for marketers should always be on the conversion. And this means that less attention needs to be paid on generating traffic and followers, and more on meaningful leads. And the way to do this is to focus on your calls to action.
CTAs are where your conversions are made and lost. And with this in mind, we’ve put together 7 simple yet effective growth hacking tips to supercharge your conversion rates.
Let’s get started.

1. Run Split Tests On All Tips Below

Right, before we get into the rest of these tips, first and foremost you must heed number 1 on this list. Any pearls of wisdom that you glean from the remainder of this post will not translate into actual higher conversion rates unless you run split tests on them.

When it comes to CTA buttons, size matters, colour matters, position matters, copy matters, and a whole lot more besides. But, the only way that you’re going to know for sure if a red CTA converts more than a green or blue one, is if you run a split test.

Now, I’ve already talked about vanity metrics in this post, but the data that you will generate from split testing has nothing to do with vanity. On the contrary, results from A/B tests are actionable metrics in one of their purest forms. From the data, you will be able to immediately tell if a red, 225px wide and 45px high CTA button above the fold converts more than a blue, 100x100px one below the fold, or not – and then roll out the high performers across your whole campaign.

You can and should apply split testing to all of the tips below.

2. Size Matters

When it comes to your CTA buttons, size is extremely important. A button that’s too small runs the risk of not being noticed. So make those buttons big. Now, this doesn’t mean that they have to be absolutely humongous – as that would just look ridiculous. But the CTA has to be the most noticeable and eye-drawing element on the whole page, and a big button will help achieve this.

3. Colour Matters

Whilst you’re trying to attract visitors to your CTA, another important factor is of course the colour you choose for the button. Firstly, in order for your CTAs to stand out, they must be of a colour that is in direct contrast with the main colour of your landing page, product page, sign-up box or what have you.

So, if your landing page is primarily red, then a red CTA button will be very difficult to pick out. Green, could be the answer in this scenario, but you have to remember that for the colour blind, red and green should never be placed adjacent to one another.

A/B testing, however, will always be the only sure fire way of picking the right colour for the most conversions.

4. Positioning Matters

Where you position your CTAs is also of primary importance. Ask yourself, does the layout of the page direct the eye towards the CTA? If not, then experiment – with split testing of course.
One thing, however, that you will not need to split test concerns the fold. Never ever ever ever put your CTA out of sight below the fold (i.e. in the portion of the page that users can’t see without scrolling down).
Browsers are all different, of course, and so you will need to determine whether your CTA will be seen with each of the most popular browsers that it is likely that your visitors will be using. Thankfully there are some tools that can help you with this, such as Google Lab’s Browsersize, which illustrates what portion of the page most users will be able to see without scrolling.

5. White Space Matters

White space (which, incidentally, doesn’t have to be white) is an incredibly important factor in design as any designer will tell you, and CTAs are no exception.
White space increases legibility, draws the focus towards the copy on your site, acts as a separator from all other content, and will make your CTA look unique and appealing and give it a dominating presence on your website.

6. Copy Matters

It matters greatly, in fact. Now, most CTAs are small in size – even though you are going to make yours nice and big, there’s still not going to be a lot of room left for wordage. And that, actually, is a good thing. You don’t want too much copy squished into such a small space. It just looks untidy and unprofessional.
You may also wonder how, when we’re dealing with so few words – and we’re talking between 1 and about 8 or 10 tops here – how much difference changing the copy can really make. But, you’d be surprised.

Writing in Unbouce, Michael Aagaard reports of a case where the changing of a single word in a call to action button created a 38.26% increase in conversions.

It was on a B2B site, and the copy was changed from ‘Order information’ to ‘Get information’. Why such a significant improvement in conversions? Well, the answer lies in the emphasis of the message. Aagaard explains:

“‘Order’ emphasises what you have to do – not what you’re going to receive. Whereas “Get” emphasises what you are going to receive – rather than what you have to do to get it. In other words, the treatment copy conveys value.”

Indeed, conveying value is perhaps one of the most important elements of a CTA that converts.

7. Being Creative Matters

“Sign Up”. “Get Information”. “Download eBook”.

Whilst there is some merit in keeping things nice and simple, it has to be said that this type of copy is a tad old hat in 2016.

These days, when you’re presented with a pop up or a landing page, the innovative company is much more likely to try and get you to take action by being a little bit more creative with their CTA copy.

For example, if you wanted people to hand over their email addresses, and you were offering them a free eBook download about, say, making PowerPoint presentations for the trouble, instead of the copy reading something like “Download my FREE eBook”, (which is not without its merit, of course), increasingly we’re seeing a slightly more informal approach. “Make me a PowerPoint Jedi!” is a typical sort of example. And you can see how this sort of thing works – it adds tons of value, is fun, exciting, and a totally refreshing approach from the old methods.

What is more, the opt-out button won’t always be a simple “X” any longer, which would close the pop-up. Instead, it would say something like “No thanks – I like making boring PowerPoint Presentations.”

It’s sort of silly, but the psychology behind it all is quite impressive. In effect, this type of copy actually strips the power of choice away from the user – at least to a certain extent. It’s not a yes/no binary any longer, but something more. It makes the user feel like they really are throwing something truly valuable away, like they are refusing a free opportunity to better themselves, like it’s a really bad decision that they’re making. It’s clever, but it’s powerful, and it absolutely supercharges the CTA.

Got any more top tips to supercharge those CTAs? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.