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What if I say, “Subscribe to our email newsletter at the end of the article?” Probably, you’ll skip it and forget when reaching the subscription button. Why? Because a compelling call to action is not only about using action words. CTAs should appear at the right place and contain the right words to lead to conversion.
A CTA is a suggestion to people to perform a certain action: subscribe, download an ebook, schedule a call, etc. Website owners place them in various parts of the page, depending on the goals, such as:
- above the fold;
- in the middle of an article;
- next to the lead form;
- in the right rail and many other places.
How should you arrange CTAs to encourage the audience to do what’s expected? This post will enumerate some helpful tips for successful call-to-action writing and show real-world examples from various spheres.
Image credit: Freepik
7 Proven Tips for Crafting Effective CTAs
Choose the Right Action Verb
CTAs usually appear precisely at the end of the message. It’s the last opportunity to reach out to consumers and point them in the right direction on their purchase journey. Where can you see them? On buttons, ads, banners, pop-ups, slide-ins, or at the end of videos. In any case, you have limited space for them. That’s why the CTA should be short, concise, and punchy.
Use a command verb at the beginning of the CTA copy. Compare the following variants and think of what will be more effective:
- Start your 14-day free trial period now.
- A 14-day trial period is available.
The first option is the clear winner because it tells the audience what to do. Remember that a strong call to action eliminates as much thought as possible. Choose the needed verb to match your situation and purpose, such as:
- sign up, subscribe, register now/get access
- download, start free trial;
- learn more, click here;
- buy/purchase, shop, order.
Use Power Words and Emotional Triggers
Another crucial component of call-to-action writing is power words. These are words that appeal to emotions and trigger the desire to click. While action verbs tell readers what to do and what will happen after clicking a link, power words subtly nudge people to the desired page. They rely on people’s emotions as a motivation to proceed, such as:
- fear: mistake, nightmare, painful, crisis, danger;
- encouragement: amazing, astonishing, life-changing, astounding, effortless;
- lust: thrilling, pleasurable, mouthwatering, compelling, engaging;
- anger: misleading, diminish, infuriating, annoying;
- greed: double, profit, explode, quadruple, extra, reduced;
- safety: proven, risk-free, moneyback, secure, refund;
- curiosity: lost, never seen before, unconventional, invitation only, confidential.
A strong CTA is the one people feel, not just comprehend. For example, “Secure your spot for the concert of a lifetime now,” will elicit a different response from viewers than, “Get your tickets for the concert now!” due to phrases like “lifetime” and “secure”. Another way to evoke enthusiasm is to leverage punctuation like an ellipsis or an exclamation mark.
Create Urgency and Scarcity
As most purchases are emotional rather than rational, another motivator can be a fear of missing out (FOMO). It’s one of the most widely-used tactics in e-commerce, where sellers show the number of remaining goods or the time left until the discount expires. So you can do it in the CTA.
The more people think, the less likely they will buy, remember? A sense of urgency/scarcity encourages people to act without much consideration. You can also find FOMO in social proof. If someone uses this product or service, others will be interested in joining the crowd. You can employ this idea in the CTA. Find a problem that your audience is experiencing. Emphasize it, show people they are not alone, and provide a solution.
Highlight the Benefits and Value Proposition
There is hardly anything more persuasive than a benefit. It works as simply as suggesting some perks for clicking the button. In other words, what are consumers going to gain from it? Will it enable people to perform their jobs more effectively, get in shape, or save money? You can add a tangible benefit like a discount or promotion. To show readers the value of clicking, start the CTA with words like “save” or “redeem” like “Save 15% by calling today!”
Or you can combine a USP and CTA in a single statement to persuade potential customers to take action. By highlighting what makes your product or service unique and motivating the user to take a specific action in line with that USP, you can increase the chances of converting them into leads or customers. Here’s an example of a USP/CTA mash-up:
“Get the best deals on luxury vacations - Book now and save 50%!”
Here you mention the action you expect users to perform (“book now”) and bring up a reason to do it (“save 50%”).
Personalize the CTA for the Target Audience
Personalization is one of the easiest ways to elicit emotions. It shows users that you value them and take a genuine interest in guiding them through the purchase journey smoothly. That’s why personalized CTAs can be so effective. According to Hubspot, tailored CTAs outperform standard CTAs by 202%.
Suppose a new website visitor, John, adds some products to the cart but leaves without buying them. You can show an exit-intent pop-up before he closes the tab with a personalized advertising call to action, such as: “John, get 10% off your first purchase! Plus, free shipping on orders over $50. Shop now and start saving!”
But if it was your existing customer, Rebecca, you could show her another pop-up, such as: “Welcome back, Rebecca! As a valued customer, we’d like to offer you 15% off your next purchase. Take advantage of this exclusive offer by making your purchase right away!”
Consider your audience when crafting your message, and address them specifically. You can segment people by age, gender, profession, level of proficiency in using your software, and other traits to offer the most relevant products and services.
Apart from writing a tailored message in your CTA, personalization can also be achieved by using new tools for sales documents creation. If you go with an interactive sales deck or proposal, you can add an impactful CTA by embedding your own calendar in the message, so that your potential customer can book their next meeting simply by reading your proposal.
Include Numbers If Relevant
Numbers catch the readers’ attention because they stand out on the page with text. So it’s another way to persuade people to click. Numbers also provide information that audiences want, like phone numbers, pricing, or advantages. For example, “Learn a new language in just 30 days with our intensive course.” It’s easy to spot the numbers, so viewers will immediately grasp the possible advantages of responding to your CTA.
You can also include a price in the ad copy and CTA. Why should you do it? On the one hand, you may scare away users from clicking the button and reading more about the product. On the other, if people deliberately respond to the ad knowing about your pricing, it shows their interest in the offer. It reduces the chances of bouncing from the landing page, increasing the return on ad spend.
Test and Optimize the CTA
Calls to action are tricky since you won’t know how effective they are until you put them to the test in real life. An idea that seems terrific on paper may not work well in practice. Thus, you need to understand why the CTA performs poorly and what doesn’t appeal to viewers. But how do you determine the need to change something? Through A/B testing.
A CTA is one of the most accessible and suitable page elements for the A/B test. A small change in word choice can have a significant impact. A/B testing lets you find the best option not only in terms of wording but also in placement, colors, size, etc.
Examples of Incredible CTAs
Now that we know the best practices for organizing CTAs, let’s examine how different companies do it. We’ll analyze call-to-action examples of online stores, SaaS companies, and nonprofit organizations.
Screenshot taken on the official Converse website
The first example under consideration is from Converse, a renowned lifestyle brand. The company uses several tips mentioned above:
- the language is simple to comprehend;
- numbers are showing the benefits of performing a particular action, such as 15% off the next order for signing up;
- the CTAs stand out from the rest of the content because they are bold or contrasting.
Screenshot taken on Ulster Weavers
In this example from Ulster Weavers, we see the emphasis on FOMO. The bag is at a lower price, but only one item is available, so the retailer leaves us less time to think but to click the “Add to Cart” or “Buy it now” button.
Screenshot taken on the official Kusmi Tea website
Kusmi Tea decided to play with words and use the CTA “Enjoy now” instead of a basic “Click here” or “Shop now”. Don’t be afraid to get creative, as Kusmi Tea does in this screenshot. You can also notice that there is a lot of space around the button. This trick and the contrasting black color on the orange background make the CTA more visible.
Service-Based Call-to-Action Examples
Screenshot taken on the official Salesforce website
Here we can see several CTAs. Salesforce directs the viewer’s attention to them in the following ways:
- “Start free trial” is in the hero section of the website and is filled with color. So we understand it’s more important than the “Watch demo” button next to it.
- “Try for free” is filled with a contrasting green color for more emphasis. It also denotes no obligation to pay at the moment of clicking.
- The “Let’s chat” button is also noticeable. The photo on it aims to create a personal connection with the visitors and increase the likelihood of them engaging in a chat.
Screenshot taken on the official Time Doctor website
When adding creativity to your CTA, be careful with misleading users. For example, the screenshot from Time Doctor illustrates two CTAs on the exit-intent pop-up:
- “Yes, help me increase my team’s productivity.”
- “No, I don’t need insight on what my team is doing.”
Unfortunately, they lack information about what will happen after choosing each. While you may guess the second button will close the pop-up, the first one may be confusing. Will I schedule a call, download the app, or get to the checkout page? No idea.
Screenshot taken on the official Exabytes website
This screenshot from Exabytes demonstrates a personalized approach. The CTA contains a personal pronoun, “My”, creating a sense of ownership and exclusivity in the customer’s mind.
Screenshot taken from the newsletter from the official Elevation Church website
It’s an email from Elevation Church. We can see that the organization displayed creativity in its “READY. SET. SHOP” advertising call to action. What may be the reason for that? It can be a powerful way to reach younger generations and differentiate an email from other generic promotions.
African Wildlife Foundation
Screenshot taken on the official African Wildlife Foundation website
Another nonprofit with impactful calls to action is African Wildlife Foundation. They are one of the first things you notice on the page. CTAs are concise and inspire supporters to learn more about the organization or donate immediately.
Over to You
- beginning with a powerful verb;
- appealing to emotions;
- leveraging numbers;
- offering benefits;
- instilling a sense of urgency;
- personalizing CTAs according to user preferences, behavior, and types;
- testing various aspects of CTAs thoroughly.
These tips will help you amplify your conversion rates and find the key to your audience.