[Intermediate – 110] Call-to-Action: What They Are, How to Write Them, and Great Examples

Writing and Designing a Call to Action: Research, Case Studies, and Examples

For anyone in the marketing world who’s ever drafted a single piece of content, there’s a golden rule that everyone adheres to: include a call to action.

Most marketers know how to recognize a call to action or CTA, and the majority probably assume that they know the best strategies for creating a call to action.

However, while a call to action is a simple idea, perfecting the CTA can be more complex. With a plethora of varying information about what makes your CTAs effective, they might not be as on par as you think they are.

In this article, find tips, tricks, and examples of great CTAs you can leverage to improve your online marketing efforts.

What is a call to action in writing and content?

Definition of a call to action: A button, graphic, banner or text element on your website or content page that tells your audience to do something, in hopes of converting them into a lead.

From a “check out now” button on an eCommerce site, to a social “share” button at the bottom of a blog, or a commanding line of text telling the consumer to “download your free PDF.”

Without a CTA, the user may never take the next step in your content sales funnel – i.e., a visitor to never clicks through to the next page, makes it to your shopping cart, calls your business for services, shares your awesome infographic, likes your page on Facebook, fills out a form, makes a donation, or anything else.

In this sense, a CTA is a tipping point between a bounce and conversion. This is why you can’t miss out on using them, and why every piece of content needs one.

Analysis of a Call to Action

Once your call to action has been created, assessing its performance is extremely important, as it allows you to know whether or not the CTA is increasing conversions.

If it’s not, you need to make changes. If it is, you might even consider making additional optimizations for increased conversion rates. This would mean thorough testing.

The effectiveness of a call to action can be assessed by gathering key data about the call to action. Stats you should pay attention to include:

  • Impressions (the number of times it’s seen)

  • Click-through-rate (CTR – the number of people who actually click on the call to action)

  • Number of conversions

CTR and conversion rate are both important, and both should be thought about when analyzing the effectiveness of a CTA.

If you’re struggling with CTR or conversions, regardless of high impressions, you do some A/B testing to determine what alterations need to be made.

For example, changing a single word in your call to action, like “you” to “my,” or “review” to “order” can have a big effect. While changing a single word in your call to action writing won’t always yield immense improvement for CTR or conversion rates, there are cases of 90 percent increases in CTR from a word change.

Characteristics & Great Examples of Calls to Action

When designing a call to action, there are definitely some guidelines that should be followed across industry verticals.

Make it obvious: The very first thing that you should focus on when designing a call to action is making your CTA as obvious as it can possibly be. Any nuanced phrases or ambiguous demands should be avoided. Instead, use straightforward and simple language.

Make it easy to find: Make sure your CTA is front and center, right where the user can see it. A user should never have to search for a call to action.

A great example of an obvious set of CTAs comes right from Nike’s home page. As you can see, the calls to action (shop now or learn more) are easy to spot and are clear in their message.

Keep Your Design Clean: If your page is cluttered and your CTA is only adding to the chaos, you’ll automatically overwhelm the user and turn them off. Most professional marketers and graphic designers suggest implementing white space on a page. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be white, there should be some space on your website that is relatively chaos-free. In this space, insert your CTA.

Evernote has a fantastic landing page that utilizes a lot of white space, making their call to action easy to spot.

Make Swift Action a Necessity: If a user feels a sense of urgency in the offer, then they’re much more likely to click on a call to action in order to get the best deal in that moment. Apparel stores are famous for doing this – offering short deals and sales that are limited to certain periods of time.

Amazon is one company that has mastered the skill of creating urgency in the user with their Daily Deals CTAs.

The more the user feels like swift action has to be taken in order to get a deal, the more likely they are to not only click on your call to action but also complete a purchase.

Make Your CTA Pop: Effective marketers know that visual tactics are a huge part of success. Eye-catching info graphics, striking photos, compelling videos, and other graphics and designs draw users in. Your CTA should stand out and be visually appealing.

While creating white space is one way to do this, another way to do this is by putting a large focus on the color scheme. By choosing colors that enhance the appeal of your CTA, you increase its noticeability. That translates to higher CTR and conversion rates.

Paleo Magazine has done a great job of creating an eye-popping CTA by contrasting with colors in: gray, white, black and yellow.

Summing it Up: Importance of Well-Designed Calls to Action

All of the examples above are from successful businesses that have mastered the practice of online marketing, including how to effectively design CTAs.

By following their lead, you can create and collect data on your own CTAs, that can help you increase leads, conversions, and profits.

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