Like it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes more than one marketing element for a marketer to achieve their mission: conversions.
But, turning passive viewers into red hot customers doesn’t have to be a huge, scary task.
So we’re here to help you master one very essential part of a highly profitable marketing campaign:
The humble call to action (CTA).
What is a Call to Action?
A Call to Action or CTA is an interactive part of a marketing campaign that encourages your audience to take immediate action.
Calls to action are incredibly important digital marketing tools that allow your audience to tell you they are ready for the next step of your marketing relationship.
Once your brand has made their case and won over their audience – your CTA will appear as the next natural step to get your audience on board.
It is the tipping point for conversions – your CTA must reel your audience in.
We’ll show you just how.
CTAs can come in the form of sign up forms, subscription boxes, eBook downloads, lead generation, social sharing, or even a ‘buy now’ button.
They can appear in email campaigns, social media posts, webpages, radio jingles, billboards or video copy.
They allow users to engage their audience and demand immediate action, for the fear of missing out (FOMO). It's a temptation for the audience to take the next step to know about or purchase a product or service. Creating an effective call to action leads to higher engagement, and consequentially better conversion rates and lasting customer relationships. Think of it as the line between bouncing and converting.
In fact, more than 90% of people who read your headline also read your CTA copy!
Let’s take a look at some examples of great call to action marketing.
How Do You Write a Call to Action?
So, how do you write an effective call to action? Well, before you jump to action, there are a few simple steps you need to consider. It all starts with following these marketing tips:
- Ask for minimal information
- Don’t ask for information that a potential client might not want to share (like their private email address)
- Ensure the CTA offers you some way to contact the client (email or phone number)
- Keep your call to action short. Nobody wants to spend too long filling out a form, especially on blog posts.
- Use best practices of writing a CTA to tell the client what they get in return
Alright, let’s expand!
Who are you trying to attract? Consider this: your call to action is perfect – it is witty, enticing, to the point and aesthetically appealing...but much of your target audience has ignored it.
Well, it may be missing the target part of your target audience.
Call to action is influenced by many things which make them appeal to the audience you want to attract, and make it important that they are not generic. These things include:
- Product or service offered
- Website design and tone
- Whether the site visitor has a previous relationship with your company
What is it that you actually want to achieve? Do you want your audience to….
- Download a tips and tricks eBook
- Subscribe to a weekly newsletter
- Share your posts and products on social
- Be directed to other pages on your site
- Buy something, or,
- Fill out a form so they can receive industry updates?
Most companies want to achieve all these things. And you can achieve these successes by creating CTA buttons.
Here’s a great example from Unbounce:
Notice how these CTAs are action-oriented, first person and verb-centric?
There’s no ‘buy’ or ‘claim’ in these CTAs, which takes the pressure off the customer to fulfil your needs as a provider.
Rather, the buttons promise a gain for the customer - talking to you to get more information, or starting their free trial to get immediate access to your services.
That’s pretty nice, huh?
So, when do you actually use CTAs? Well, it depends.
You should always have a CTA on your landing page, such as ‘Find out more’, ‘Shop for X’ or ‘Subscribe here’.
We recommend you create one great CTA per page or piece of content.
The more a piece of content focuses on a specific persona and point in their journey, the more likely it's going to resonate with your audience.
Consider how many CTA buttons you’ll have, and where you’ll place them. Placing your CTA in the right place is important.
Organisations that are good at driving sales have incredibly precise CTAs in incredibly noticeable areas.
Apart from landing pages, website pages may have more than one CTA.
However, what’s important to determine is when multiple CTAs are appropriate and when single CTAs will make more of an impact.
For example, let’s say you have a short blog and you’re pitching your free downloadable marketing eBook to visitors.
You would likely only have one CTA at the bottom of your post once your audience has read (or skimmed) your page with the CTA button to download your free eBook.
Any more, and it can overwhelm your reader and come across as too pushy.
However, for a longer blog post, let’s say 1500 words or more, having a CTA midway and then again at the bottom of the blog to download the free eBook is a great way to remind your potential customers to take action.
In fact, designing your CTA in the middle of your webpage is a unique and effective way to drive action.
Here’s a little more you can read to understand the psychology behind better writing.
Trial and error is an important function of any successful project.
One of the most conclusive tests with CTAs a business can do is the A/B test.
An A/B test or multivariate test allows you to run different versions of your CTA.
This tool allows you to modify your copy and design to analyse what works best. Combined with smart content, you will be able to find your CTA sweet spot, and hit the right size, colour, copy, style and tone for the service or product you’re offering.
For social media, Facebook allows you to split test your ads through the Facebook Ads Manager. The split tests have three basic functions you can choose, depending on your level of expertise.
Here are the ways you can create a split test:
Setting up identical ads with different CTAs can isolate and identify which CTA garners the most success.
In fact, adding calls to action on Facebook can increase click through rate by 285%.
Google also offers split testing tools with the Google Analytics 360 suite. If you don’t want to pay to sign up, you can also access a range of their services for free!
Multivariate testing is the last stage of refining your CTA and an incredibly important step in the process. Ultimately, it’s up to you what tool best suits your campaign and company.
Now, on to the fun stuff!
It’s time to write your CTA! Your copy should tell your audience why they need to take action. This is what takes a CTA from click-maybe to click-worthy.
Have a look at this CTA from Grey Goose:
The CTA copy reads: Discover a cocktail tailored to your taste.
It gives the audience a sense of excitement, because the copy is personalised (tailored to your taste) and there is a promise of something to be uncovered (discover).
A person reading this is much more likely to click on it, than a copy reading something generic like ‘Check out our wide range of cocktails’.
Whether CTA phrases or singular words, your copy also needs to persuade your audience at the appropriate time.
For example, you wouldn’t create an immediate pop up requesting subscription when your audience clicks on the ‘about’ page of your website.
Isn’t it annoying when you have to close a pop-up to a website asking you to sign up even before you know what their services are about?
Instead, you give them 30 seconds or so to read your content, so they can make an informed decision once the CTA appears. This way, they know what they’re subscribing to by acting on the call.
What is the Best Call to Action (CTA)?
When it comes to writing a great call to action, you don't only need to have great copy but have to take a multitude of factors into account that align with your marketing campaigns. Simply using the tired 'Get Started' or "Free Trial" line everywhere will not work.
A. No Obligation Statement
Try to make your call to action as frictionless as possible. The more steps you add, the more hurdles you create for the user or visitor to actually act on that call. For instance, asking for a phone number, name, email address, and various other particulars when only email address can help you achieve the desired result would create unnecessary friction. Don't tie any obligations or mandatory steps that would discourage the user to answer the call. Moreover, make sure the users or visitors know they're not bound by anything if they take an action on the call.
Good calls to action attract audiences in a way so that they feel they need to take action.
Imagine you’ve been hit by a website teaser, offering more information if you would just click the button. The promise of more information is appealing, which is what tips you over to the edge.
Check out this ad campaign from t. c. pharma
You have enough information to know that the product is an energy drink, and it’s also quite popular.
There are also two CTA options available to you - giving the audience the freedom of choice to know more about the products in the way they want to.
The best calls to action are the ones your reader can look at after being introduced to your brand and service or product and say, ‘yep, I want to be more engaged.’ This type of call appears at just the right time in just the right place and is a natural sequential step for your reader in discovering more about your brand.
In essence, these CTAs are the ones that will get your audience to jump into action!
C. Smart Content
What is smart content and how do you make a CTA applicable for that?
Smart content allows you to create CTAs specific to your audience. Marketing tools like Hubspot are great for this. Smart content, or smart CTAs, allows your website to target audience based on:
- Device type
- Referral source
- Previous visits and downloads
Why is this important? Well, personalised requests are far more effective than generic suggestions. This allows you to also build a relationship with each bracket of your audience.
In fact, smart CTAs convert 202% better than generic CTAs (HubSpot)
Simple is effective. Simplicity drives results.
It is important to keep your CTAs simple so your audience knows what they are getting when they click on a button.
After all, you want your target audience to understand you – not be turned off by flowery language.
And when your audience knows what they are being offered through clear messages, their sense of trust and respect in you also increases, as it shows consideration for them.
Though jargon and long explanations can be useful, there’s a time and place for them. CTAs work when they are concise and written to the point.
Simple language can be just as, if not more persuasive than flowery language.
Consider this: you’re a tech company creating a campaign to go into the running to win free flights to Japan with every mobile purchase.
Rather than writing something like ‘Japan awaits you if you step into our store and buy the latest mobile’, your CTA could simply read something more like ‘Enter the draw now!’.
By clearly stating your intentions, your audience is able to make an informed decision. This in turn will give you a greater scope to boost your conversion rate.
Think of CTAs like ‘download PDF’, ‘subscribe’ or ‘check out more here’. All of these are concluding statements that also work as calls to action.
E. Evoke a Sense of Urgency
How do you entice your audience to click your CTAs? You use language relevant to your brand. It’s important to convey a sense of no- obligation, but a sense of missing out if the action isn't taken right away.
There’s nothing more off-putting than nagging, but also nothing more frustrating than missing out on a good deal. Creating a sense of FOMO will encourage your audience to take that next step.
CTAs that promise ease and speed of service are also great examples that appeal to every audience.
Check out this CTA from IKEA below:
It’s small, yet eye-catching because of the placement and simplicity of the copy.
It has two parts to the CTA:
- The action (Order today)
- The benefit (for next day Click & Collect*)
Notice how it’s put a timeframe (next day) in the copy? This gives your audience a sense that there is a day to look forward to when they will receive their product or service. The audience gets the sense your brand is concrete and reliable.
Placing your CTAs below your headline and description is the most optimal positioning for conversions.
However, Neil Patel actually found that when his blog, KISSmetrics, placed the CTA above the fold, his conversions decreased by 17%.
For brands that aren’t as well known as household names like IKEA, placing your CTAs below your description will mean your audience is more likely to take action – as they have been introduced to you.
15 Great Call to Action Examples
We've split 15 great CTA examples into the following 5 areas:
Lead Generation Call to Action Buttons
These are the CTAs that want users to sign up so the business can generate a warm lead which they can follow up on through email marketing or a Facebook ad. This type of call to action generally involves a lead magnet such as a free trial offer which is a great way to engage the user.
Let’s consider this landing page from Trello.
The call to action is simple, bold and effective, and what stands out the most is the CTA as it’s positioned right where your eyes fall – the middle of the page. Notice how it’s also a starkly different colour to the rest of the page? The copy of the call to action is also split into two parts, which follow the train of thought your audience is likely to have.
After reading the description, 90% of your audience will divert their attention back to the CTA, where they will receive the option to ‘Sign Up’ for free – i.e. get involved with the product.
Though a lot of businesses offer free services, this CTA has jumped the gun with the audiences’ possible next question: the financial commitment to this service. Once they know they can sign up and it's free, they're likely to feel more liberated in making their decision to do so.
Notice how the CTA doesn’t request a username or password at first glance (when you click on the sign up button, you are directed to another page where Trello asks these details)?
This is a deliberate choice in order to make the call to action as simple and ease as possible – and it works!
Klientboost successfully encourages its website visitors to sign up for their weekly newsletter through a well-designed pop-up that clearly highlights a CTA. This is another option that you can use to generate leads.
With a bold red button on a light gray background, ConversionXL brings out the CTA in a prominent manner. Also notice in the copy how it encourages the user to sign up.
e-Commerce Call to Action Examples
When you're looking to sell a product or service through an e-commerce website, the CTAs need to be enticing and perfectly placed to ensure the visitor gets tempted to purchase the product or service. One of the basic CTA related marketing tips is to keep your calls short and sweet.
The renowned payment service uses two CTAs on its landing page and makes them count with an attractive design and simple copy. It also gives its visitors the option to explore if they are not committed yet.
This particular CTA works well for many ecommerce websites by tempting visitors to save money. It basically highlights the advantage of placing an order now instead of waiting, creating a sense of urgency.
The well-known music streaming service places its two call to action instances smartly with more focus on clearly-defined 'get premium' CTA with the option of signing up for the free option as well.
Affiliate/Referral Program Call to Action Examples
Referrals and affiliate programs can help your business sell more through brand ambassadors and customers who believe in your product or service. Adding a special CTA for them can be an effective way of adding revenue while rewarding loyal customers.
The custom apparel brand places its referral CTA right on the navigation pane with the 'Get $25' button being the tempting CTA copy. This ensures that interested customers look into the offer and bring in more business.
Once again, we see the CTA located on the navigation pane saying 'Ambassadors'. Since it's a celebrity brand, they can maximise their sales by putting their loyal customers at the top.
This makeup brand employs sustainable manufacturing practices and organic materials for manufacturing. Since customers want to get behind the cause, they can also preach it to their friends and family while offering them a $10 discount.
CTAs for Social Media Ads
Since you're spending money on social media ads, they need to have exceptional CTAs that can increase the probability of conversion. Here's how you can handle different social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram.
Social media audiences are not interested in reading anything long or boring and that's why Design Pickle gets straight to the point. The CTA says exactly what the service offers on their Facebook ad.
Dollar Shave Club
On Instagram, you have the luxury of using a combination of great visuals and ad copy. Look at how Dollar Shave Club tempts its Instagram audience with an affordable deal.
On the other hand, Starbucks relies more on serene visuals combined with a simple and to-the-point CTA copy 'Swipe Up to Try'. It evokes a sense of curiosity.
CTAs for Email Campaigns
Email is one of the most tested and effective marketing tool in your arsenal and you cannot be successful without having impactful CTAs that compel your readers to take an action.
Bed Bath and Beyond
Using clever formatting in their emails, Bed Bath and Beyond makes the coupon appear to be a clickable button which increases the potential of conversions.
Since emails can get quite clunky and busy, it can be advantageous for you to separate the CTA using negative white space to make it stand out just like SXSW does in its email campaigns.
Using contrasting colors that make the Call to Action stand out in combination with a curiosity-evoking copy such as 'See How' can lead to positive results for your email campaign.
So, we hope you’ve come away from this article feeling more knowledgeable about how to write that perfect call to action that can help you generate more leads and sell more products.
Have fun and experiment with different call copies, designs, and placements. Be smart about them and remember to engage and tempt your audience. It shouldn't feel like you are dragging them in, instead they should feel they are doing it on their own.
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