Whether you're looking for leads from your website or clicks from your Twitter tweets, having a good, solid call to action is key. A call to action is messaging that encourages the reader to do something: click, call, buy, download or some other action. Without using the appropriate wording, visitors to your site may be left not feeling the urgency you want them to, and they may leave. It's important to catch them while they're in the mode to do something further. Invite them to download your free whitepaper, sign up for a free trial, subscribe to your email newsletter or call for a complimentary consultation. Key Elements in Calls to Action If you are not a professional marketer, calls to action could sound complicated \u00a0They are not. \u00a0Creating effective calls to action just involves keeping some simple rules in mind. Your calls to action on your website should, at a minimum, have these six elements: 1. Short Many calls to action are in the form of a button or link. \u00a0Short verbiage works best. Who wants to read a button with\u00a014 words on it? \u00a0It would be confusing and overwhelming. \u00a0Nobody is going to click on that kind of button. Think about your favorite eCommerce site, such as Amazon or eBay. \u00a0Think about the calls to action on their sites. You will see buttons that say "Add to Cart" or "Buy It Now" or something similar. \u00a0They don't say something wordy like "We hope you will select this and proceed to check out where we will get your credit card information." \u00a0They are short, sweet and to the point. 2. Easy to understand Calls to action are not the time to be too creative with verbiage. \u00a0Tried and true works well. \u00a0"Download" or "Learn More" or "Subscribe" or "Get it Now!" are all easy to understand. When the call to action is obvious, the visitor to a web page doesn't have to stop to think or, worse, guess. \u00a0You don't want to interject anything that causes a person to pause out of confusion. \u00a0It's easier pass by something confusing, than to take action. 3. Urgent ("now!") Get them to do it right now. \u00a0Shoppers\u00a0today are bombarded with choices. \u00a0You don't want shoppers to hesitate. \u00a0Chances are, if they go away they will\u00a0not come back and do it later. \u00a0Something else is bound to capture their attention. They will more likely end up on your competitor's site\u00a0where they will buy that item or download that whitepaper or subscribe to that newsletter. 4. Highly visible on the page What good is a call to action if people don't see it? \u00a0Calls to action should be prominent. \u00a0That usually means above the scroll (i.e., the top part\u00a0of the web page). A call to action should be large enough and designed so as for people to spot quickly. Use choice of colors and other design factors to\u00a0lead the eye to it. \u00a0Lack of clutter also helps a call to action to stand out. Sometimes you might consider having the call to action twice, especially on a long page. \u00a0In that case you might put a call to action at the top and one lower down in the page. 5. Encourages people to click a link Many\u00a0calls to action involve clicking on something. Avoid making\u00a0the person click more than once to reach the stage of doing something. For example, if you want people to read your article that you've tweeted, avoid sending the person to an intermediary page such as your Facebook page where you've shared a snippet of the article. Instead, send the person directly to the article you want him or her to read. The more clicks someone \u00a0has to make, the more opportunities to lose that person before he or she takes action. 6. Throughout your site, not just on one page The more people who see your call to action, and the more times they see it, the more follow through on it. \u00a0For example, if you want people to subscribe to your newsletter, have a subscribe button or email form on every page (or just about every page). More Tips About Calls to Action Remember to use wording that will appeal to people. What do your visitors want to do? Save? Learn more? Get something free? \u00a0You can also use savings as a call to action, such as "Save 40 percent when you spend $50 today." Try not to bombard your visitors with too many choices for what to do next. For example, if they have the option to click, download and buy, they may be overwhelmed and leave. Instead, choose one call to action for each page. On the product description page, focus on a buying call to action. On the homepage, offer a free download. On Twitter, the call to action would focus on clicking your link. And speaking of calls to action on Twitter and social media, you want to give people a reason to follow you, as this post from 10,000 Words explains. Prove your presence on social media is useful to them. It could be as simple as "Please RT" after an interesting blog post, or "Share your thoughts on this" after a poignant question. Engage readers with your call to action. For more, see these\u00a0great (and not so great) examples of calls to action. Finally, experiment to see what call to action verbiage gets the best results. Consider doing an a/b test page using different calls to action. Whichever one gets more clicks is the winner.