Getting site views is great, but not enough. Success isn’t just about ranking high on search engines, and getting shares – you also need conversions. That is, you need people to click on the “buy” button. Here are some subtle ways to promote that behaviour, on your website:


  1. Optimise the product description

Too many people have a great website, with a single vital letdown: that’s the product description. The product description needs to be more than just an image with a “buy now” button. This is related to a factor known as the Need For Cognition (NFC). Some buyers have a low NFC; they can be persuaded to click “buy” for shallow reasons, such as a celebrity endorsement. But these constitute the minority, and most users prefer to feel like they’re making an informed decision. In short, most users will respond positively if you give them something to read and think about (not too much, but not too little either). New businesses often underestimate how much attention users give to product description. Notice how sites like Amazon, for example, are attentive in this area, going so far as to attach customer reviews. It’s a good idea not to abandon the copywriting, when it comes to the “buy” page. Ensure that you maintain a persuasive tone, and don’t be afraid to summarise or repeat the product benefits. For the visual elements, use analytical tools such as the ones offered by, to improve the odds of conversion. Our system analyses everything from colour to image placement, to fully engage the site user.


  1. Use verbs, not nouns

Social media scientist Dan Zarella (The Science of Marketing) once measured the effectiveness of verbs versus nouns for Facebook writing. What applies for Facebook writing, however, also applies to your call-to-action (the phrase that makes someone click “buy”). To cut the English lesson short, a verb is an action. A noun is an object. For example: Hypergel is the best shampoo on the market – This is a statement that’s heavy on nouns, it just states what the product is. Remove your split ends in a day, by applying Hypergel – This is a statement that relies on verbs; it’s telling the reader to perform a particular action. The latter is an example of what your call to action should look like. Don’t just throw in a one-liner about your product. Instead, put in a sentence that tells the reader what you want them to do next. A common example, which you’ve probably seen many times, is for websites to use get started in place of buy. Not only is this a verb, it avoids the connotations of spending money.


  1. The buy button must be identifiable in three seconds or less

The “three-second rule” is useful guideline, when creating a buy button. This rule states that, when a reader looks at your page, they must be able to see the buy button in three seconds or less. If the reader can’t find the buy button (e.g. they have to scroll down for 10 seconds just to find it), you risk them “cooling off” and deciding to stall their purchase. Some tricks to making the button visible are:

  • Put a visible border around the buy button. Never make the button a large image (the viewer may not think to click it). The most identifiable buy buttons have rectangular borders, so avoid getting too fancy with it.
  • Minimise the “scroll distance” to get to the buy button. One option is to have a floating buy button, which stays on the page regardless of how far up or down the reader scrolls.
  • Use a contrasting colour to the rest of the page. If most of a page is dark green, for example, the buy button could be plain white, with black text.


  1. Embed your value proposition into the buy button

Apart from using verbs, buy buttons can repeat your value proposition. For example: Get 10,000 more views a month ($19.90) could be part of a buy button, one that also mentions the value proposition. A good example of this is Evernote, which has a simple two-word boast in the same box as its sign-up buttons: Remember everything. Using a value proposition has the subtle advantage of removing the word “buy”. It switches attention from your asking for money, and instead focuses the reader on the benefits. Keep the value proposition to a single sentence though, it shouldn’t devolve into a sales pitch.


  1. When in doubt, choose the top right hand corner

Eye-tracking studies show that most readers scan a wage page in an horizontal line first, starting from the top. Overall, the most prominent spot on your page is somewhere near the upper-right hand corner. Of course, this doesn’t mean you must place your buy button there. But if you’re having issues getting it noticed, or if the space is available, thats where you should consider putting it.


  1. If you have discounts or promotions, use them as part of the buy button

Netflix yells “Join free for a month”, and Dropbox boasts “Sign up free”. You can also add a sense of urgency, by adding a limited time offer (e.g. 30 per cent off from now till 31st October), although this does mean you’ll have to update the button. As with point 4, be careful not to add long blocks of text. If your sales promotion can’t be described in a single line, then put it somewhere else.


  1. Track what people keep in their shopping cart

Many people will leave items in their virtual shopping cart, intending to buy it later. When they do this, you already know they’re interested (speak to your web developer about how you can monitor such items). Sometimes, you can hurry the sale along by giving a small reward. For example, email the users a code for free shipping, if they check out the remaining items in their cart by the end of the week. There’s always a danger that, if they have time to cool off, those items might get dropped from the cart. As an aside, monitoring shopping carts gives you a hint as to potential bestsellers. If an item appears in many shopping carts but is seldom checked out, for example, a small price adjustment or promotion might be all it takes.


Still need help? Speak to our experts on improving your conversion.

Contact one of our business solutions experts at, and we can introduce you to a range of analytical tools to help. From choosing the right colours and images, to simple button placement, we can help you optimise results on every page.

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Olive is the Co-founder and Managing Director of highly scalable Olive is a total geek and loves all things technology, and is an awesome mumpreneur to two lovely baby girls. Olive's mission is to help brands get into the online commerce space and has achieved to date, close to 200 brands and counting!


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