How to Write a Good Call To Action

By Madison Taylor
February 3, 2023
Man smiling while looking at a tablet

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, the Call to Action (CTA) stands as a linchpin between captivating content and desired user engagement. However, a good CTA goes beyond the mere act of prompting action – it must resonate with the user on a deeper level. The art of crafting action-oriented CTAs not only inspires users to take the desired steps but also conveys the tangible benefits awaiting them. From language choices to the strategic use of urgency, let’s delve into the nuances that make a call to action truly persuasive.

Make Your Copy Action- AND Benefit-Oriented

You’ll see a lot of tips online about action-oriented CTAs, like “download now” or “click here.” While those are technically action words, what they fail to address is why the user should download, click, submit, request, etc.

Instead, focus on action phrases that also indicate a benefit to the visitor. Don’t tell them to “sign up for our newsletter,” tell them to “stay connected with news and deals.” Turning the focus from the action you’re asking of them to the benefit they’re going to get out of it will make them more likely to convert.

It might also help to consider using first-person language. It won’t always be possible, depending on what you’re offering, but according to one experiment, switching from “your” to “my” — as in “download my free ebook” rather than “download your free ebook” — increased clicks by 90%.

Finally, don’t be afraid to create a sense of urgency in your CTAs. Limited-time offers, timed coupons, and “today only” deals are all helpful. Even adding the word “now” — as in “Increase Social Conversion Now!” — might be the push your visitors need.

Make Your Call To Action Consistent With Your Content

If your article is about “How To Create More Effective CTAs,” the call-to-action at the bottom shouldn’t say “Sign Up To Learn More!” Not only is that copy too vague, but it doesn’t call back to what the article is about in the first place. You already know that the copy in your title worked to draw in the reader — they’re reading it, after all — so stick with the same messaging for the next step.

Appearance Is Important

Your call-to-action should be big enough to stand out, but not too big. How big is that? You’re just going to have to find out for yourself with testing (we’ll get to testing in a minute).

On the high end, what you’re trying to avoid is the appearance of a banner ad — “banner blindness” is a real thing, and describes the tendency of web users to ignore ads or things that look like ads. If your CTA is too big or flashy, users will think it’s an ad and they’ll glaze right over it.

On the other hand, you want your CTA to stand out, and a link in line with text isn’t enough to do that. The CTA needs to be big enough that it’s obviously not just part of the article text itself, and it helps if it uses contrasting colors like red, orange, or whatever stands out from the main colors you use on your website.

Keep in mind that an increasing number of users will be viewing your content on mobile, which means they’ll be tapping, not clicking. According to Apple, clickable items on mobile should be at least 44×44 pixels to be user-friendly, but you’ll almost certainly want to use bigger buttons than that.

If you’re going to use an image in your CTA, make sure it’s relevant — no generic stock photos. Use a high-quality graphic or photo of the product itself or of someone using it. Make sure the graphic has plenty of negative space to isolate it from the surrounding text.

Finally, think of the hierarchy of your buttons. Most of the time, your CTA won’t be the only clickable thing on the page, but it is the most important one to move visitors down the funnel. As such, you don’t want to upstage it with other links and menus on your site. Make the other buttons on your content pages smaller or less obvious to keep attention on your CTAs. Location, Location, Location

If your CTA is for a particular offer, put it lower down in the article or even at the end, so you know the people seeing the CTA are already invested in the content they’re reading.

If the CTA is for a middle-of-the-funnel action like requesting a phone call or demonstration, don’t interrupt the flow of your content by sticking those right in the middle of the page. Save those for the kind of page that indicates that a visitor is ready to buy, like the product listing, pricing pages, or user testimonials.

The idea is to think about where in the buyer’s journey your visitor is, what frame of mind they might be in at that time, and what would interest them.

It’s also keeping in mind that in the majority of languages in the world, viewers read from left to right and top to bottom. Take advantage of that natural flow by putting CTAs on the right or at the bottom of the copy they’re related to. CTAs above or to the left of the content feel out of place and don’t get as much attention.

Never Stop Testing

There’s no such thing as the perfect CTA, and you’ll never find one that you can just leave on your page and sit back. Hubspot and other marketing software make A/B testing very easy, so you can serve different versions of your CTAs to different users or at random to see how they perform.

Hubspot suggests a goal of 1-2% click through, followed by 10-20% conversion. Test different iterations by color, marketing copy, button size, CTA placement on the page, or any combination you want to try out. When you find a version that works better than another, create more iterations of that version and keep going.

Final Thoughts

The importance of crafting effective CTAs cannot be overstated in the world of digital marketing. These small yet powerful elements bridge the gap between compelling content and user action, but their effectiveness hinges on a careful balance between action and benefit-oriented messaging. By applying the principles outlined in this article and considering the appearance, placement, and continuous testing of your CTAs, you can significantly enhance user engagement and conversion rates.

In the dynamic and ever-changing landscape of online marketing, achieving the perfect CTA is an ongoing process of refinement. Embrace this journey of improvement, armed with the insights shared here. Keep in mind that the most successful CTAs are born from a commitment to constant testing and adaptation. So, never cease your quest for optimization, and may your CTAs lead your audience towards meaningful interactions and conversions in the digital realm.