Your "Add to Cart" button is the tail of your headline.

After taking a huge amount of trouble to optimize a sales page on our sites, all too often we finish the page with a button that says something like this: Add to Cart, Add to Basket or Add to Shopping Cart.

Is that really the best we can do?

Think for a moment of those direct mail pieces you receive from time to time.

Does the prepaid response card simply say, "Add to Cart" or "Charge my Credit Card Now"?


If, for instance, you are being sold a magazine subscription, it might say something like, "Yes, please start my 30-day free trial of Online Copywriting Today."

Your page has to keep selling, from beginning to end.

Let's assume that you have started your sales page with a strong headline. You have a compelling value proposition and have left your readers with the belief that you can give them something they want.

You then write some great body copy that builds on the promise in your headline, builds confidence, and dissolves any hesitation readers might feel.

By the time they get to that "buy now" button, they are almost ready to commit to the purchase.

But, as we all know—to our cost—there is a big difference between being almost ready, and being ready. Use that "buy now" text to tip them over.

When you lead someone by the hand all the way down the page, you deliver them face to face with a barrier. And that barrier is the final call to action... the link or button that will take them to your shopping cart.

It is not enough to simply take them as far as the barrier and then turn around and abandon them.

To say "Buy now" or "Add to Cart" is like shrugging your shoulders and walking away. They are such generic phrases. Too passive. Devoid of promise or specificity.

Your call to action is the tail of the headline. You need to add a little flick to that final call to action. And it needs to underline and reaffirm the basic promise of your page.

That's why it's the tail of the headline. It is connected to the headline, and gives that final flick to get people into the shopping cart.

The power of the flick depends on how well you can connect it back to the headline and the promise of the page.

Of course, the challenge is to write a line that achieves this connection, but in very few words.

As an example, let's say you have a headline that says something like this:

Try our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans, with a FREE 4 ounce sample.

At the end of the page, instead of the button saying "Add to cart," try this:

Get your FREE sample Now...

The line is a little longer, but it does tie back to the central promise of the headline.

Some concluding thoughts: As writers, we tend to develop some blind spots. We pay a lot of attention to some areas of copy, like the headline and body text, but then tend to just write the "usual" for functional elements of text, like on the "Buy Now" button.

Try testing some different text on those buttons, then track click-through and conversion rates.

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image of Nick Usborne

Nick Usborne has been working as a copywriter and trainer for over 35 years. He is the author of Net Words, as well as several courses for online writers and freelancers. Nick is also an advocate for Conversational Copywriting.

LinkedIn: Nick Usborne

Twitter: @nickusborne