Content Marketing

How to Write a Call to Action: Increase Your Conversions with 16 Proven Tips for Crafting CTAs

Don’t know how to write a great call-to-action? Over 50 marketing pros share their tips and tricks on crafting clear and highly-converting CTAs.

Archita Sharma Archita Sharma on December 4, 2020 (last modified on December 1, 2020) • 16 minute read

Want to get more readers to sign up for your product? Or subscribe to your newsletter? Or simply watch your conversion rates explode? To do this, you need to have the right call to action (CTA).

CTAs are important not only because they give your prospects clarity, but also because they make your marketing campaigns more effective.

Not sure how to write one? We got your back. In this post, we’ll talk about some kick-ass tips and examples on how to write a call to action that converts. 

Let’s dig in.

16 Proven Tips for Crafting Great CTAs

Ready to learn how to craft a highly-converting CTA?

  1. Attract a user with a clear and concise CTA
  2. Use action verbs in your CTA
  3. Match your CTA and landing page intent
  4. Keep a neutral tone in your CTA text
  5. Avoid writing CTA text passively
  6. Get more clicks using emotion-driven CTAs
  7. Add a personal touch to your CTA
  8. Create curiosity and anticipation in your CTA
  9. Ask open-ended questions in your CTA
  10. Highlight the benefits user gets for clicking on CTA
  11. Use the word ‘for’ and convey the value prop of CTA
  12. Avoid using Emojis in your CTA
  13. Focus on the design of the CTA
  14. Avoid the same CTAs across your entire website
  15. Create good content before adding the CTA
  16. Test your CTA and optimize it for best results

Before we dig in, you might want to check out how to set up and use Google Analytics conversion tracking. This will help you to track your CTAs and identify which call to action works best.

1. Attract a user with a clear and concise CTA 

The whole point of having a CTA is to help the user perform the desired action of your choice. And for that, being clear is important.

Andrew Ruditser of MAXBURT, Inc. suggests, “Make sure the action is clear and gets straight to the point.”

Why? “Too much information can overwhelm the user, making them stop reading before they even reach the CTA. But it is also important that the surrounding copy provides enough detail and importance of why they should continue this action. 

So in short, “while creating a CTA, make sure you only include important details to persuade users and avoid all the unnecessary fluff.”

“In a simple yet straightforward manner, direct the reader to an action that will help lead to a conversion. This can lead to a how-to guide or directly to a sales page. Just be sure that the direction to act is clear”, adds Alexandra Zamolo of Beekeeper

Andrea Loubier of Mailbird agrees, “Be sure to make your directions obvious so that your potential clients have no problem getting to your sales or product pages.”

For example, “if you’re offering a service that will help with time management, be sure to include that in your CTA, as well as any other product or service that the page will direct a visitor to after clicking. Don’t make a potential customer guess what they’ll find at the other end of the link. Be simple and direct”, says Thomas Bolt of Big EVAL.

Ultimately, “high-converting CTAs can be the reason you gain a new customer, so they deserve your time and attention. Word your CTA so that your offer is easily explained as a solution to their problem”, says Greg Kozera of ELM Learning.

“Then, provide the opportunity to learn more. If you keep the path to your sales page clear and simple, then it’s more likely that potential customers will click through.”

2. Use action verbs in your CTA

“For creating a compelling CTA make sure to use action words that let your viewers know exactly what to do next. To have a high-converting CTA it has to be direct, spark curiosity, and persuasive enough to take the action you want”, highlights Laura Rike

“Don’t forget to *call* the visitor *to action* – use verbs and tell the reader what you want them to do”, says Juli Durante of Impulse Creative

Durante explains this further with an example. “I have found that vague CTAs, such as “discover more” are often less effective than more specific CTAs like “click here to download the report.” 

Even in your CTA introductory language, using verbs is key: a title like ‘Free Ebook: The Art of Lead Generation’ doesn’t ask me to do anything. ‘Master the Art of Lead Generation: Download the eBook Today’ does”, adds Durante. 

To sum this tip, Chris Wilks of BrandExtract says, Always start your CTAs with a verb so that it’s clear to users what you’re asking them to do. If you can incorporate some sort of outcome into that CTA as well, then you’ve got a really compelling call-to-action.”

3. Match your CTA and landing page intent 

So, if you want a user to click on your CTA – ‘Get my e-book’, and redirect them to a sign-up page and not the e-book, they’ll bounce off. That’s going to impact the conversion rate of your CTA. Hence the intent of the CTA and the next action page should match well enough.

“Connect the intent of the visitor on your page to the value you are providing when they click your CTA. People are hesitant to click buttons or give their information. There’s CTA overload.”

“So you really must connect to them and show how you can solve their problems. This does require knowing who your audience is and how they got to your page, so work on finding that out if you do not know”, adds Jakub Rudnik of Shortlister.

Margo Ovsiienko of Margo Leads adds an example, “For example, if your CTA is ‘Get a 15% discount code’, the next screen should show a user a promised discount code. It should not say ‘Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter’.”

Here are another tip and example by Ovsiienko. “Remember about choosing the right CTA depending on the stage of the funnel. 

“You would not normally offer a CTA ‘Get a quote’ on the top of the funnel article which role is to educate users on the challenges your product solves. However, this CTA would suit perfectly once users proceed to a case study or product page.

The catch here is to make sure your CTA is suitable for the page you’re redirecting your users. 

Editor’s note: Not sure where to put in some extra effort when it comes to refining your CTAs? Use this free Google Analytics Content Analysis Dashboard Template to measure your content performance, and find out which of your web pages are exceptionally engaging and useful to your visitors.

Google Analytics Content Analysis Dashboard Template

Related: 5 High-Converting Landing Page Examples + Lessons You Can Learn from Each

4. Keep a neutral tone in your CTA text

Nobody likes a pushy notification or CTA that annoys.

“CTAs should not sound promotional or have any information related to prices. It must encourage customers to perform an action in a neutral tone. CTAs with sales tone don’t help”, says Damien Martin of Shufti Pro

5. Avoid writing CTA text passively

“One tip for writing high-converting CTAs is to always write actively, not passively. Passive microcopy is easy to look over, it’s a polite suggestion when you really need to be directing users toward action”, says Shonavee Simpson-Anderson of Firewire Digital.

Anderson adds, “For example, I might have a landing page about different plans users can subscribe to for my services and at the bottom, I want to put a button with a call-to-action. Which do you think would be more effective:

‘Learn More’ – or – ‘See Pricing Plans’.

‘Learn More’ is passive, it suggests there’s more information on another page related to the one you’re currently on but doesn’t indicate what that information is or why it will be useful to you. 

‘See Pricing Plans’ is an action a user can take AND it tells you exactly what to expect on the other end of the click – what subscription plans are available and what they cost.”

6. Get more clicks using emotion-driven CTAs

Will Laurenson of Monkey Blocks says, “Make it a benefit, or an emotion-driven CTA. It obviously depends on your industry, the product or service you’re selling as to exactly how this works, but while CTAs like ‘Buy Now’ do work as it’s a command, it’s still a bit boring.”

Laurenson adds some examples here, “if you’re a coupon or discount site, a CTA like ‘Start Saving Now’ would be better, it’s still a command, but it has that clear benefit and reason why the person should click.

Holiday sites could go with something like ‘Book Your Adventure Today’ or ‘Kick Off Your Adventure’ something that is related to the product or service, and taps into that emotional reason around why they’re buying the first place.

Eric Bergman of Serendipit Consulting further adds, “Play with emotions in your CTAs. Happy, Sad, Urgent, Fear of Missing out no matter which emotion works well with your messaging, you want to play to that emotion. People are more likely to engage if you can play to their emotions.”

7. Add a personal touch to your CTA

Getting personal with your website visitors can hit their emotional quotient and perform actions.

Rachel Nelson of Margaux Agency suggests, “Make the CTA enticing and personal.

Suggest an action that draws the reader in, creating a fear of missing out if they don’t click the button. CTAs like “Subscribe,” “Read More,” and “Register” are all generic and don’t create the drive to click. Instead, personalize the experience and use action-oriented verbiage that will undoubtedly prompt the reader to take immediate action.”

8. Create curiosity and anticipation in your CTA

If I tell you, the offer on your favorite product is only for the next 24 hours, you’d want to give it a shot, right?  “A successful call to action depends on psychology, mixing expectations with a bit of curiosity”, says Jason Wong of Doe lashes.

Wendy Margolin of Sparkr Marketing explains, “Key to a high-converting call-to-action is scarcity. If you know you’re offering a product or service with a lot of value, one of the main reasons your ideal audience won’t take action is because they are busy and distracted. Let them know that your cart is closing or there are a limited number of products, and then more people will move off the fence.”

Nikola Roza adds further, “A good CTA is a combination of an action verb and a FOMO element.

Action verbs are words like ‘get’, ‘click’ and ‘seize’, while the FOMO element within a CTA is a word or phrase that informs them at which point in time they’ll no longer be able to get, click and seize.

Why? “Because action that’s propelled by the fear of mission out is almost unstoppable.”

9. Ask open-ended questions in your CTA

Asking questions (+ open-ended ones) is the best way to engage a user.

Amber Chmielewski Vye suggests the same for CTAs. “Ask a question, but keep it open-ended. With a yes/no question, prospects are likely to choose ‘no’ and continue on their way. 

Open-ended questions grab more attention and create more room for consideration”, adds Chmielewski.

So, if there’s a CTA where you want to ask about a DEMO, don’t put the CTA ‘Do you want a DEMO’. Instead, write it this way – ‘What challenge can we solve for you’?

10. Highlight the benefits user gets for clicking on the CTA

If I were to click on a CTA, I’d always myself ‘what’s in store for me?’. 

So, While writing the text of your CTA, Bruce Hogan of SoftwarePundit suggests, “Be sure to highlight the benefit, or so-what, to the reader in the call-to-action. This helps motivate the reader to take your desired action.”

The next tip is on how to convey your value prop the right way.

11. Use the word ‘for’ and convey the value prop of CTA

‘For’ can be the magic word when it comes to calls to action. Adding it to the end of a straightforward CTA and filling in the blank will help you remind users why they should click — what they’re going to get from it”, says Rachel Handley of Glass Digital.

For example, “You can transform ‘Sign up now’ to ‘Sign up now for 10% off your first order’ and ‘Buy today’ to the more clickable ‘Buy today for delivery before Christmas’.

You will have no doubt communicated USPs on other parts of the page, but if they’re not communicated at this crucial point, you could be missing a huge opportunity. 

Your CTA is often what draws users’ eyes first and where you need to give them that last little push”, adds Handley.

12. Avoid using Emojis in your CTA

While emojis can make your tone a bit casual, Blake Bobit of Solution Scout suggests otherwise. 

“Do NOT use emoji 😖. We’ve tested using emojis in many CTAs, but in every case, they have been outperformed by traditional methods (numbers, interesting adjectives, rational and/or strong language)”, says Bobit.

While that was what worked for them, you can definitely try some and see if it works for you as well 🙂

13. Focus on the design of the CTA

The tip – make your CTA stand out is a no brainer one. Marc Andre of Vital Dollar highlights, “Make the call to action stand out so it’s easily noticed by visitors. If the CTA is in a blog post or on some other page with a lot of text, visitors can easily miss it if they’re scanning the page (and most visitors will scan instead of reading word-for-word).”

Here’s what you can do to make it stand out – “Use bold text, highlighting the text, by putting in a box with an outline or a different background color, or any number of different ways.”

“Making the CTA stand out will draw more attention to it so people don’t miss it when they are scanning.”

Use attractive graphics for more clicks

If your CTA is a part of a graphic, David Aneja of Blogreaders India suggests, “A tip writing a high converting call-to-action is to include some cool graphics or designing on the image which excites the viewer.”

Be loud with colors and text 

“When it comes to writing a high-converting call-to-action, the tip that I can give is – as loud and in your face as possible”, says Marcos Brisson of Kaizntree

Why?

“The most valued currency in today’s society is attention. Every day, people are bombarded with messages, and whilst it’s become easier than ever to reach target consumers, it’s also become harder than ever to truly capture their attention for long enough to achieve the desired outcome. 

We’ve tried and tested various strategies when writing CTA’s for both ourselves and our clients, and by far the most successful have been the ones which are the most in your face. If the color is involved, vibrant colors (especially, and not surprisingly, red) appear to consistently deliver results.”

14. Avoid the same CTAs across your entire website

It gets too pushy and boring if you have done the same CTAs everywhere. Trying out new CTAs will give you more room for experimentation across your website.

Lee Savery of Ricemedia says, “Don’t use the same call to action on every page as a simple “buy now” or “subscribe” could be costing you conversions. Get inventive with the action you want users to take.”

Go a step ahead and experiment with your CTA text across your website based on the pages. On a high converting page, “instead of “buy now”, say “get this deal” – make users feel like they cannot miss out on your offer”, says Savery.

So, how can you avoid the monotony? You can have different people in your team craft the CTAs.

The results of our surveys show that content marketers and copywriters typically write the CTAs, but other people can get involved too, including the boss. It may be interesting to see how different team members approach CTA copies.

who typically writes CTA copy on your team?

15. Create good content before adding the CTA

“Writing a CTA that converts may sound like a simple feat, but you may need more than a simple “read on” to ensure that your visitors will click through to your sales pages”, says Viola Eva of Flow Research Collective.

And creating the best content will push your users to click on that CTA. 

So, “if you truly want your CTAs to convert, let your content actually sell your call to action. In other words, when writing your text, keep in mind that its main goal is to encourage the reader to click the link in your CTA at the end”, says Timmy Yanchun of LTHR Shaving.

The tip here is to “create compelling content that poses a question that needs to be answered, and then provide a CTA that will lead to that answer”, highlights Yanchun.

16. Test your CTA and optimize it for best results

So those were some awesome tips and examples about writing high-converting CTAs. One of the main tips being –  “Keep it SASSy – Short, Actionable, Simple and Straight”, by Martina Balazova of Kontentino.

While these might be handy tips to start writing some for yourself but make sure to test enough. If you don’t test your CTAs (or any element) on your website, enough, you’d never know what works for you. Instead of depending on others and ruining your metrics, test and optimize your CTAs.

According to our survey, 40% of marketers A/B test their CTAs, while it has to be almost 100%.

do you A/B test copy variations of the CTAs before launching them fully?

Laura Rike recommends, “Test variations of call-to-actions before launching them fully. I do this to have a better understanding of how my community is receiving that information, and to make sure it is a high-converting CTA, and if it is not, making the necessary changes until it is just right.”

Editor’s note: Use this HubSpot Marketing (landing page performance) template to track your CTA performance. This dashboard shows activity across your landing pages, and their activity over the last 30 days, previous month and past year.

HubSpot Marketing (landing page performance) template

Wrap Up

A lot of businesses underuse CTAs, so take a good look at your content and identify where you can make an effort to add more CTAs, or refine the existing ones.

It could be on your blog posts by encouraging people to leave comments, subscribe to your newsletter, or try a new product. It could be on your social posts by encouraging users to “check the link in your bio”, read your new blog, check a new product update, and more.  

All ready? Then make sure you follow the steps to writing the perfect call to action outlined in this post, and watch how your conversion rates improve.

About the author
Archita Sharma
Archita Sharma Archita helps B2B SaaS businesses with marketing (with a focus on content). She is happiest while helping founders unleash the power of content marketing and telling stories about her weekend artistic cafe visits!

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