How to Create Effective Call-To-Actions: 8 Best Practices

If your app or website sells products, collects sign-ups, generates leads, or has web users take action–optimizing your call-to-actions (CTAs) should be a top priority.

A call-to-action button, link, or banner convinces a user to click or take the desired action. Most web users likely don’t realize how many CTAs they click daily, from clicking the “Shop the collection now” button on an ecommerce site to “Order Now” on a food delivery app.

As one of the primary elements on web pages, CTAs mustn’t be an afterthought. They have a significant impact. When optimized correctly, a CTA button could mean the difference between customers taking action or not.

Whether you’re peppering them throughout your product, pricing, or landing page, a well-optimized CTA button describes what customers will get, ultimately boosting conversions. 

Why Are CTAs Important?

A strategic CTA can guide your web visitors through their purchase journey and boost conversion rates. An effective CTA captures web visitors’ attention, piquing their curiosity, and seamlessly guides them through the signup process. 

Most web users are already accustomed to the digital world and expect to see CTAs in a prominent position on your landing page or website. However, that doesn’t mean they’re ready to follow your instructions and take the desired action. 

Creating effective call-to-action buttons is an art, but you can quickly master it if you follow these proven practices. 

  1. Leverage Customer-Centric Copy

According to Dale Carnegie, one’s name is the sweetest and most crucial sound in any language.

Well, he’s right.

However, it doesn’t stop with a potential customer’s own name though.

Consumers are just like the rest of humans: self-centered. 

They want to know what they stand to gain from your offer.

One effective way to capitalize on the self-centric nature of potential customers is to use the customer-focused copy in your CTAs.

Words such as “I,’ “my,” or “me” let a prospective know your offer is about them.

Also, it mimics the conversations in the customer’s head.

For example, Nerds Do It Better uses a CTA with customer-centric language.

How to Create Effective Call-To-Actions: 8 Best Practices

The call-to-action in the above example is “Get My Free Consultation.”

You can use this best practice by using those verbs or words to let your prospects know your offer is about them and what they stand to gain from it. 

  1. Focus on the Benefits

One of the fundamental concepts of effective marketing is to sell the benefits instead of the features.

A benefit is a goal a prospect wants to accomplish, but a feature is what your product or service does.

How to Create Effective Call-To-Actions: 8 Best Practices

For instance, instead of saying, “Sign up for my 3-week course on Facebook marketing,” you can say something like, “Learn how to make six figures by selling on Facebook.”

The first example tells your target customers exactly what they’re signing up for, whereas the second clarifies what they’ll gain after signing up. 

Ultimately, both call-to-actions may steer readers to the same destination, but one is more intriguing than the other.

You can leverage this proven technique by:

  • Establishing the benefit a target customer derives by clicking your CTA button.
  • Creating compelling copy around the said benefit.

Click here to learn how you can use chatbots to improve buyer’s experience.

  1. Make It Action-Oriented

You want to encourage your target customers to act–this isn’t the time to play coy!

Call-to-actions that use clear, powerful, and instructive verbs reduce decision fatigue. 

Thus, your CTA button should start with an action or command verb or what some call a trigger word, such as “Download” or “Get.” Here are other examples:

  • Download my course now
  • Get my free quote today
  • Go to checkout
  • Open my account today
  • Swipe up
  • Request a free demo now
  • Claim your code
  • Get exclusive access
  • Sign up here

If you have trouble deciding what your CTA should say, ask yourself–what would my target audience say or think? Bonus tip: Ask your target customers what they think.

If you think they would say something like, “I want to go to checkout,” your call to action may look like, “Go to checkout!”

Action text and verbs will vary depending on your business and industry. So, the CTA copy of a non-profit or B2B organization will differ from that of a retailer. 

For example, this popup campaign uses this best practice:

How to Create Effective Call-To-Actions: 8 Best Practices

You’ll notice the call-to-action is clear and tells the target customer precisely what to do: Join the webinar today!

Also, it leverages the action verb “Join” to inspire web visitors to signup.

If you’re struggling to come up with the right words for your call to action, use power words to elicit an emotional response and boost conversions. 

  1. Create a Sense of Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency generates impressive results when incorporated into CTAs. This can apply to short-term promotions or limited-edition products.

That’s because there’s nothing more tempting than a limited-time offer to impulse shoppers. 

Lean on the Fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) and leverage words such as “this week only,” “today,” or “now” in your call to action to inspire customers to take the desired action immediately. 

How to Create Effective Call-To-Actions: 8 Best Practices

The example above does a fantastic job of creating a sense of urgency. However, my problem is with the red X marks–they denote points of information, but to me, it seems like the tickets are sold out or canceled events. 

  1. Address and Overcome Customer Objections

Objections are any ideas or thoughts that may prevent a target customer from clicking the CTA button.

Potential customers may have many objections.

Common objections include:

  • Users are concerned that canceling their subscriptions will be a huge hassle.
  • Customers don’t want to enter their credit card details.
  • Customers are afraid you sell or misuse their information.
  • Customers fear that they’ll receive constant emails or sales calls.

Objections are things you can’t just ignore and wish they would go away.

Try using your CTA buttons to address and overcome common objections.

For instance, Basecamp does a fantastic job with its CTA button. 

How to Create Effective Call-To-Actions: 8 Best Practices

The CTA above addresses and overcomes two of the most common customer objections:

  • I don’t want to enter my credit card details.
  • Is it hard to cancel my subscription?

You can create a high-converting CTA button by determining what your target audience doesn’t want to happen and finding ways to assure them that those issues won’t happen. 

Click here to read more on digital marketing platforms that can help you scale your business.

  1. Leverage Contrasting Colors

Website owners always look for the highest converting colors; however, no universal color is ideal for conversions. And what works for your competitors may yield different results for you and your business.

For every designer or marketer that claims that a bold, attention-grabbing blue is the best color for a CTA button, another swears that red is the best because it symbolizes “excitement” and “action.” Instead of searching for the magic combination, remember that customers are likely to notice and remember a CTA button that stands out from everything else around it.

Further, contrast isn’t all about picking complementary colors on the color wheel; it’s also about value. For example, a light blue CTA button won’t stand out against a light blue background like a dark blue button. Your CTA copy should stand out against the button. Finally, don’t forget that your target customers aren’t all alike, and some might have different accessibility needs–which should ultimately influence your color choices. 

Here’s a great example of contrasting colors:

How to Create Effective Call-To-Actions: 8 Best Practices

Purple and green are great contrasting colors. 

If you’re still unsure what looks best for your brand, try the squint test and see what’s the most appealing. 

  1. Make It Hard to Miss and Easy to Find

Even though you created a compelling CTA copy with contrasting background colors, it doesn’t matter if nobody sees it. So first, make sure your CTA button is hard to miss. It must be large enough to stand out on the landing page but not too large that it looks like spam or obnoxious. And, if your web visitor is ready to take the next step, they shouldn’t have to struggle to find your call-to-action button because they might get confused and abandon their search.

You should place a CTA button where your web users will look next. Ideally, place a CTA button in the upper area of a web page or above the fold. For instance, you can add the same CTA several times on a landing page or leverage a frozen navigation bar, especially for long pages with loads of information. Based on the natural flow, most apps and websites add a call-to-action button under the content web users are supposed to interact with.

Being careful about CTA placement is also crucial for mobile devices. If you’re using a mobile-friendly web page, which is a must in today’s digital era, ensure your call-to-action appears above the fold on mobile devices, too. Above the fold means where a web user first lands on a webpage without scrolling. 

  1. Test & Iterate Your CTAs Regularly
How to Create Effective Call-To-Actions: 8 Best Practices

It’s not enough to create a CTA button and trust your gut about designing it and writing its copy.

You require data to determine how your call to action is performing.

Many copywriters need help creating compelling copy for their call-to-action buttons. So don’t give up if it takes time to get it right. How do you know you have the right call to action, though?

The data will tell you.

You can do this by split testing. Experiment with button size, color, text links, CTA copy, form, placement, and page design. Start with design or copy and quickly create an A or B split test to determine what works best.

Split testing is a crucial part of creating a high-converting CTA. Start by split testing your new CTA versus the current CTA button. See which one boosts your conversions and what generates more conversions. 

Wrapping Up

Your Contact Us page, landing page, sales copy, promotional banners, and PPC ads will generate more leads and boost conversions when potential customers click on them.

A high click-through rate will increase conversions if all other elements are well-optimized for your target audience.

Whether you’re driving traffic to your site through social media referrals or from search engines, bear in mind that you have to focus on the benefits, create a sense of urgency, and test your CTA copy, design, and placement to create an effective CTA button.

However, there’s no single recipe for creating a compelling CTA. Only by testing various elements can you be sure of what works. 

Click here to read my latest article on web design mistakes to avoid.


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