A call to action (CTA) can be either the perfect secret ingredient or the stumbling block of any marketing campaign. At least we have seen that many times by watching various successfully failed campaigns.

What is and what can be a Call To Action, why and how some of the best calls to action “do the job” and WHAT AND HOW TO WORK with this knowledge, you will find out if you stay with us until the end of this text.

For starters – what is a CALL TO ACTION? 

Knowing the terminology is one of the first steps in any field. CTA – a call to action is a short, direct sentence or phrase that clearly tells the user what specific action to take (e.g. Order now / Apply) – i.e. prompts the user to convert.

The CTA can be placed as a linked part of the text or, more effectively, as a button on which it can be written: learn more / read more /download the brochure / schedule a consultation / book an appointment / buy now / place an order / request an offer… This is most often the so-called primary CTA.  Also, the CTA can be longer and then we usually talk about the secondary CTA. It would be good if the secondary CTA answers the question – What next? Or Why should I? Also, additional (secondary) CTA text can be used to reduce distractions (i.e. remove unnecessary links, photos, etc.) but also to minimize feelings of distrust or discomfort (e.g. add disclaimer, no credit card required, message immediately – pay later, free – with subscription, etc.).

Are you still there? Great, now on to the specific tips. 🙂

Tips&Tricks for writing the CTA

Social media marketing content may be mostly aimed at getting users to click on your posts and/or ads and engage. However, it is no longer as easy as it sounds. 22.3% of people who use ad blockers state – too many ads as the main reason. How to effectively combat this and increase your conversions? With an authentic and convincing call to action.

A good CTA can help with indecisive buyers, but also make sense of the content. Even if it’s just a two-word phrase, users need some guidance to know what to do next.

As long as it somehow encourages potential customers to become and remain engaged on your website, the call to action has done its job. Well done!

You are still here? Well done for us as well!

Usage of “strong” words

Writing short and “strong” calls to action is not only more persuasive, but also necessary due to the character limit in ads. Example of how to write a CTA: Start with a verb (“buy”), then follow with an adverb (“now”) or a subject (“ebook”) or both.

Here are some of the most common call-to-action verbs broken down by intent. Simply match them with your offer.

E-shop:  Buy, order, reserve, save, add to basket, select, view

SaaS conversion:  Try it, get started, subscribe, sign up

Nonprofit Conversion: Donate, commit, volunteer, adopt, give, support

Newsletter or community: Subscribe, join, sign up, refer,

Free Giveaway: Download, get, grab, claim, redeem

General: Learn more, see more, see how, get started, find out, check, click here, continue, swipe up

Evoke emotion or enthusiasm

If you want to be sure to evoke emotions in your users, don’t be afraid of a longer CTA. Here are some examples of what you can do:

  • Add the numbers: “Buy now and get 50% off!”
  • Add adjectives: “Find your dream home with us!”
  • Promise: “Lose weight in just 6 weeks!”
  • Tap into their FOMO: “Limited time offer. Get your free t-shirt!”
  • Highlight your USP: “Order handmade soap now!”

Sometimes it is more effective to use an indirect approach as a CTA rather than direct sales to the consumer. (E.g. “Our new shoes are in the stores. When will we see you here? Or Are you coming to us today? – may be more effective than “Buy our new shoes now.”)

I’m not the Wolf of Wall Street but: Create a need – create a personalized CTA

However, you don’t have to blindly follow other people’s good examples. Be creative and design your own call to action. First, verbalize to yourself what your company does for its customers (or simply look at your mission statement) and what it is that your customers can get from you. For example – you run a spa where clients come for facial treatments. Transform the verbs and offer into a 2-5 word call to action. Add relevant information where needed → “Get a free mud mask” or “Treat the ultimate treatment today!”

Tip: no one creates their perfect (if such a thing exists) CTA right away – on the first try. Run at least one A/B test (and preferably more) on your ad to gauge the strength of your call to action. Be guided by what benefit your clients get from you.

CTA buttons: Why are they important and how to use them?

You should absolutely always include a CTA button in your ad campaigns in addition to using a call to action in your headline and/or copy. Users intuitively tend to click when they see that “button” that invites them to take action, without even realizing it.

You can use CTA buttons on all types of marketing materials and on every platform you advertise on. This includes of course PPC ads, but it also includes landing pages, websites, blogs, newsletters, email and more. Sometimes the only option is to create a CTA in the form of plain text that is hyperlinked, but definitely – wherever there is an option for that – use a button.

Facebook e.g. has short clickable CTA buttons that you can add to any ad campaign. A clickable CTA button has been repeatedly proven to significantly increase conversion rates. One study found that adding a CTA button increased conversions by 83%. Copyblogger claims similarly: when their CTAs looked like buttons instead of plain text, the conversion rate increased by 45%.

Remember to customize your CTA based on the ad you’re showing and the stage of the action-taking funnel you’re targeting. For example. choosing the “Learn more” option will make users feel less risk and less pressure than if you start with “Buy now”. This is how you can use buttons to prioritize certain actions or to guide users through typical “paths” they should follow in order to convert.

BONUS: Why and how do some of the best calls to actions actually work”?

  • Use nice, contrasting colors with a CTA that stands out
  • Multiple calls to action within a single post or ad 
  • They create a sense of urgency to take action
  • Short copy is used on the button itself, but it is surrounded by copy that adds context and makes it more believable (primary and secondary).
  • The primary call to action is clear and direct: “Get up to 60% off!”
  • A secondary CTA that is longer and more defined is a great way to add more information for the user
  • Using a CTA button to instill a sense of customer satisfaction (“Get an offer”)
  • A CTA is combined with a service review in the same sentence (a way to evoke a sense of community)
  • All calls to action are focused at the bottom while the advantages/benefits of the offer are at the top of the post
  • The experience of using the product is emphasized
  • Call to action that create a sense of urgency will definitely help increase conversions
  • More CTA buttons (and hyperlinks) in e.g. a long e-mail or text newsletter additionally increases conversion rates
  • “Free with subscription” e.g. highlights and keeps the main message clear to the user, with a CTA
  • Sometimes a minimalistic design is needed to emphasize the main message
  • Words like “(pre)take” and “get” give users a sense of reward
  • Pay attention to the page break: the CTA (button) should appear above the page break, which means that users can see at least one CTA before continuing to view
  • The CTA (button) is adapted to both desktop and mobile websites

What next? Create your own high converting CTAs!

These were some of the tips for creating calls to action. It’s time to put these tips into practice. Get inspired by concrete examples, see how Apple, Nike and Coca-Cola do it and create a call to action unique to your business. Save this text, keep it handy when you find yourself in a situation where you are creating a sales campaign or simply writing copy aimed at getting a click.

ALERT! CTA is coming up next!

If you need help, feel free to contact us.

P.S. It takes a lot of testing, secondary CTAs, buttons and continuous tweaks and improvements to achieve the desired goal – conversion.

P.P.S. In order to work smart, not hard, don’t be shy – CLICK HERE.