Digital marketing
Oct 16, 2023

How to create effective and irresistible call-to-action

Unlock the secrets to creating effective, irresistible call-to-action! Dive into strategies that captivate audiences and turn clicks into conversions.

How to create effective and irresistible call-to-action

Write an effective and irresistible call to action

Navigating the world of digital marketing is like trying to find the best route through a maze. With the right guide—like understanding the power of effective calls-to-action (CTAs)—you can lead your audience straight to the prize.

What is a CTA and why is it important?

Imagine you're on a treasure hunt. You've got a map in hand and you're searching for the next big clue. Now, think of a CTA, or call-to-action, as that big, bold 'X' on the map guiding you to the treasure. In simpler terms, a CTA is a prompt or instruction that encourages you to do something, like click a button, fill out a form, or even share a post.

The role of CTAs in digital marketing

In the vast ocean of digital marketing, CTAs are like lighthouses guiding ships (or in this case, your audience) safely to their destination. Whether you're running a blog, an online store, or a social media page, having a CTA is crucial. It's the direct link between presenting your content or product and getting your audience to take the next step.

Did you know that the click-through rate (CTR) can plummet by as much as 50% if there's no CTA? That's like half of the ships losing their way in our ocean analogy! A well-placed, clear CTA can be the difference between someone just visiting your site and someone taking action, whether it's subscribing to your newsletter, making a purchase, or any other valuable interaction.

Bridging the gap between interest and action

Let's take a moment to think about your favorite storybook. There's always that moment of suspense where the hero has to make a choice, right? CTAs are pretty much like that moment. They bridge the gap between someone being interested in what you're saying or offering and them actually doing something about it.

Imagine you run into a friend at the mall, and they tell you about this amazing new ice cream place. You're interested, of course (who doesn't love ice cream?), but then they just wave goodbye and leave. You might wander around, maybe find the place, or maybe not. But, if they took your hand and led you right to that ice cream store, you'd definitely end up with a cone in your hand.

That's the power of CTAs. They're not just about telling people what's cool or great. They're about taking your audience's hand and leading them exactly where you want them to go, turning that simple interest into a real action. So, whether you're selling a product, sharing information, or gathering feedback, remember the magic 'X' on the treasure map. Make sure your CTAs are clear, compelling, and guiding your audience straight to the prize.

What makes a CTA effective?

Remember when we talked about the big, bold 'X' on a treasure map guiding you to the prize? Well, not all 'X's are created equal. Some are faded, some are unclear, and some might lead you in the wrong direction altogether. Similarly, just having a CTA button doesn't guarantee success. The key lies in how you write CTA prompts and how you present them to your audience.

Psychological triggers

Imagine a friend tells you, "Hey, only a few pieces of that chocolate cake are left!" Even if you weren't hungry, there's a part of you that thinks, "I better get a slice before it's all gone." This reaction is based on a psychological trigger. As humans, we are wired in certain ways. When something seems limited or exclusive, we instinctively want it more.

The same principles apply when a marketer crafts a CTA. By understanding human behavior, you can create prompts that speak directly to those instincts. For example, using action-oriented words like "grab," "discover," or "start" can make a person feel like they're about to embark on an adventure or gain something valuable. The idea is to create a connection, a reason for your audience to not just see your CTA but to act on it.

Balancing urgency and value proposition

Now, while it's tempting to always create a sense of urgency with phrases like "Limited Time Offer" or "Only a Few Left," it's essential to balance this with a clear value proposition. Imagine if that friend kept telling you about the "last slice of cake" every day. It would lose its impact, right?

In the world of CTAs, constantly screaming urgency can have a similar numbing effect. The trick is to match that urgency with a genuine offer of value. For instance, instead of just saying, "Buy Now!" you could say, "Grab Your 20% Discount Before It's Gone!" Here, not only are you creating a sense of urgency, but you're also clearly telling your audience what they stand to gain.

So, the next time you sit down to write CTA prompts, think about that slice of cake and the balance between making someone want it right now and showing them why they'd love to have it. That's the secret sauce behind truly effective CTAs!

How to write call-to-action copy that converts

Crafting the perfect call-to-action isn't just about throwing together a couple of words on a button. It's like baking a cake: you need the right ingredients, in the right amounts, and a touch of flair to make it truly special. When done correctly, it can entice your target audience to take the desired action.

Action-oriented verbs to use in CTAs
Action oriented verb CTA example

Utilizing action-oriented verbs

Imagine you're at a crossroad, and there are two signs. One says "Maybe Go This Way?" and the other states "Discover What's Ahead!" Which path would you choose? Most of us would be drawn to the promise of discovery.

This highlights the importance of using action-oriented verbs in CTAs. Words like "discover," "explore," "build," or "create" inspire a sense of adventure and progress. It's not just about telling your audience to do something; it's about promising them an experience or a benefit. These action words can greatly influence the action you want your audience to take, making them more inclined to click, sign up, or buy.

Here's a closer look at more of these power-packed words:

  • Learn: Ideal for educational content or tutorials. Encourages users to acquire new knowledge or skills.
  • Unlock: Suggests exclusivity or hidden value. Perfect for premium content or special deals.
  • Get: Direct and to the point. Works well for straightforward offers, like downloads or sign-ups.
  • Claim: Implies a sense of ownership. Use this when offering special deals, discounts, or limited-time offers.
  • Transform: Indicates a significant change or improvement. Ideal for products or services promising personal or professional growth.
  • Achieve: Perfect for goal-oriented content. Motivates users to reach a particular milestone or accomplishment.
  • Grow: Indicates progression or development. Useful for products or services related to personal or business expansion

Understanding audience pain points

Now, consider you have a magical pair of shoes that can instantly make any feet feel comfortable. To sell these shoes, you shouldn't just talk about their features. Instead, address how they'll relieve the pain of sore feet after a long day.

This is where understanding your target audience's pain points becomes invaluable. By addressing specific problems or needs, you show empathy and awareness. Your CTAs become more than just prompts; they become solutions. "End Your Foot Pain Today!" is far more compelling than just "Buy Shoes." By targeting these pain points, you're more likely to entice users to take the desired action.

Crafting tailored CTA

If you've ever received a one-size-fits-all template card on your birthday, you know it's nice, but a customized message always feels more special. Similarly, CTAs should be tailored to fit the situation, platform, and audience.

Best practices recommend crafting CTAs that resonate with where your audience is and what they're feeling. For instance, a CTA on a blog post about beginner gardening tips might read, "Start Your Green Thumb Journey!" while one for advanced gardeners might offer, "Master the Art of Gardening Now!" By customizing your message, you create a personal connection, making the action you want them to take feel all the more relevant and enticing.

Best practices to make your call to action stand out?

In the vast digital landscape, where every marketer is vying for attention, having a call to action button isn't enough. It's like setting up a lemonade stand in the middle of a bustling marketplace; you need more than just a sign to get people to stop by. You need to make it stand out! To write an effective call to action, we have to think about more than just the words. Let's delve into how placement and design can make all the difference.

Make your call-to-actions stand out
Make your call-to-actions stand out

Importance of CTA placement

Imagine you're reading a fascinating article about a new marketing campaign strategy. As you're soaking in the information, you think, "I'd love to try this for my business!" But, where do you click to learn more or sign up? If you have to hunt for that call to action button, chances are you might lose interest.

Here are some best practices for CTA placement:

  • Above the fold: Ensure your primary CTA is visible without scrolling. This is prime real estate on your website or email.
  • End of content: After providing valuable content, place a CTA to guide readers on the next steps.
  • Floating or sticky CTAs: These stay visible as users scroll, reminding them of the action you want them to take.
  • Pop-Ups: Although some find them annoying, a well-timed pop-up, maybe offering a free trial, can be very effective.

By strategically placing your CTAs, you're creating compelling pathways for your audience to follow, leading them straight to your desired outcome.

Leveraging colors and design on your landing page

Now, think of your call to action button as the star actor in your marketing campaign movie. It needs a costume that makes it stand out, but it should also fit the scene. This is where colors and design come into play.

  • Button color: The color of your call to action button can greatly influence click rates. For instance, while a red button may convey urgency, a green one might suggest growth or positivity. However, the key is contrast. Your button should pop against its background but remain harmonious with the overall site design.
  • Size matters: If your button is too small, it may go unnoticed. Too big, and it might seem aggressive. Finding the right balance is crucial.
  • Clear and legible text: Fancy fonts might look pretty, but if they're hard to read, they're not really suitable.
  • Borders and shadows: Adding a subtle shadow or a border can make your button more visible, attention-grabbing.

Remember, every detail, from the button copy down to the button color, can influence whether a visitor takes action or moves on. So, when you're crafting your next marketing campaign, pay close attention to how you're presenting your call to action. With the right placement and design, you can ensure it's not just seen, but also acted upon!

Improve your conversion rates with new CTAs

You've probably heard the phrase, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But in the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, resting on your laurels can mean missing out on golden opportunities. Even if your current call to action seems to be working decently, there's always room for improvement. Think of it as updating the decor in your favorite room; a small change can make a huge difference. Let's dive into how refining your CTAs can lead to significant leaps in conversion rates.

A/B testing for optimal results

Ever found yourself unable to decide between two toppings for your pizza? Pepperoni or sausage? Well, in the realm of digital marketing, we have a tool to solve such dilemmas. It's called A/B testing.

Imagine you have two compelling CTAs, and you're unsure which one will resonate more with your audience. Instead of making a wild guess, you can use A/B testing to let real-world results guide you. Here's a quick rundown:

  • Choose the Element: Decide what specific action or aspect of your CTA you'd like to test, be it the text, color, or placement. Always test one thing at once!
  • Two Versions: Create two variants – 'A' being the original and 'B' the new version.
  • Equal Exposure: Show both versions to an approximately equal number of visitors.
  • Analyze and Implement: After a specified period, check the results. If version 'B' performs better, you have a winner!

For example, a social media call to action saying "Learn More" might be pitted against "Dive Deeper." Through A/B testing, you can determine which phrase is more enticing for your audience.

Adapting CTAs for different platforms

Digital marketing isn't a one-size-fits-all game. A CTA that works wonders on a blog post in your content marketing strategy might not have the same impact on social media or an email campaign. It's akin to wearing beach attire to a winter resort - out of place and ineffective.

To ensure you're creating effective CTAs across platforms, keep the following in mind:

  • Know the Medium: A social media call to action must be concise given the platform's fast-paced nature, while an email CTA can afford to be a tad more descriptive.
  • Platform Limitations: Some platforms might limit the number of characters you can use. Others might offer interactive elements like swipe-up features.
  • Audience Behavior: Users on LinkedIn, a professional network, might react differently to a CTA than those on Instagram, a more visual and casual platform.
  • Visual Consistency: While the message might change, ensure your CTAs maintain a consistent look and feel across platforms. This helps in brand recognition.

In essence, while the foundation of a compelling CTA remains consistent – clarity, urgency, and value proposition – the way you present it should be tailor-made for the platform. Being adaptable and responsive to each platform's unique requirements can significantly boost your conversion rates.

How to create effective and irresistible call-to-action FAQ

With the sheer importance of CTAs, many questions arise. Let's tackle some of these frequently asked questions to help you craft the perfect call to action.

Struggling to come up with the right words for your CTA?

Ah, the challenge of the blank slate. Staring at that empty call to action button, wondering how to write compelling text that will woo your audience. It might feel like waiting for a fish to bite in a vast ocean. But fear not, there's a method to the madness to learn how to create effective cta copy.

  1. Start with Action-Oriented Verbs: Words like "discover", "grab", or "start" can be particularly engaging. They nudge people to take action right away.
  2. Convey Value: Why should someone click your CTA? Make the CTA convey a benefit, like "Get my free eBook" instead of just "Download."
  3. Keep it Brief and Clear: While it's tempting to write a call to action that's descriptive, remember that less is often more in the digital realm. Aim for clarity in as few words as possible.

If you ever find yourself struggling, imagine speaking directly to a friend. How would you invite them to take the next step? Use that natural, human voice in your CTA.

What 3 elements should be in a call to action?

Crafting an effective call to action is like making a sandwich. Yes, you read that right. Imagine you're building the most delicious, mouth-watering sandwich ever. There are three essential layers (or elements) to consider:

  1. Clear Direction (The Bread): This is where action-oriented verbs come into play. Just like how bread gives structure to your sandwich, your CTA should start with a clear directive, like "Download," "Sign Up," or "Learn More."
  2. Value Proposition (The Filling): What's sandwiched between those slices of bread? The good stuff! This is your value proposition. Why should someone act? Maybe they'll "Save 50% on their first order" or "Unlock exclusive content." Make them feel the value of what's in between.
  3. Urgency or Time Sensitivity (The Tasty Sauce): Just as a sauce can add that zing making a sandwich irresistible, adding a sense of urgency can make the CTA even more compelling. Phrases like "Limited Offer" or "Only a few spots left!" encourage people to take action pronto.

With these three elements, you'll not only write compelling CTA copy but also create effective strategies that can significantly boost your conversion rate. Remember, it's all about guiding your audience smoothly down the path you've set for them

What is an example of an effective call to action?

Where information flows freely, an effective call to action (CTA) can make or break your digital marketing campaign. Like a lighthouse guiding ships, a compelling call to action acts as a beacon, leading your audience towards desired actions. Wondering how does an effective CTA look like? Let's unravel this by exploring a couple of call-to-action examples.

Shaw Academy's effective call-to-action
Shaw Academy's effective call-to-action

Shaw Academy's Digital Marketing Course Ad:

  • Urgency and Value Proposition: "Not next week, not tomorrow, NOW!" This line immediately grabs attention. By stressing the immediacy, it creates a sense of urgency for the user to take action immediately. Offering a "4 weeks FREE online course" is a tangible benefit, making it a compelling offer.
  • Clear Direction: The "START NOW" button is bold and visually distinct, leaving no room for guesswork on what the next step should be.
  • Reinforcement: The line "refocus your future" instills a sense of purpose, reinforcing that this isn't just any course but a path to a brighter 2021.
ClickUp's effective call-to-action
ClickUp's effective call-to-action

ClickUp's Ad:

  • Announcement with a Benefit: Starting off with the announcement of their "$100M raise," ClickUp immediately follows it up with the benefit to the user: "15% OFF ClickUp Unlimited for life!" This combination of showcasing company milestones with user benefits is genius.
  • Features Highlighted: By listing "New features" and "Lightning-fast mobile apps," they effectively communicate the added value users would get.
  • Clear CTA Button: The "Learn More" button is simple and direct, guiding users to explore the offer in depth.

When you sit down to write CTA copy, remember, the goal is to inspire action. These cta examples show that whether you're offering an educational course or a software tool, clarity in your message, value proposition, and a sense of urgency or relevance are key ingredients to cook up the perfect CTA.

In essence, while the medium might vary, the core principles to write effective CTAs remain consistent. Understand your audience, offer value, and make the next steps crystal clear.

Why do some CTAs increase conversions but others don’t?

Ever wonder why some movies become blockbusters while others barely make a ripple? Similarly, in the digital marketing arena, not all call-to-action (CTA) buttons are created equal. Some CTAs manage to encourage the audience to take action effortlessly, while others struggle to make an impact. Let's unravel this mystery and delve into why certain CTAs shine brighter than others.

  1. Clarity is King: A clear call to action is like a well-lit path in a forest. Visitors know where to go and what to expect. On the contrary, a vague CTA is like trying to read a map in the dark. The phrase "Click here" is vastly different from "Get my free guide now." The latter is specific, offers a value, and tells the audience exactly what's in store for them.
  2. Emotional Connection: As humans, we're emotional creatures. CTAs that tap into emotions, be it excitement, curiosity, or even a pinch of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), often get better results. For instance, "Join the revolution!" might resonate more than "Sign up here."
  3. Visual Appeal: In a sea of content, a CTA that stands out visually can catch the user's attention. Bold colors, contrasting design, or even an enticing graphic can make all the difference. Think of it as a brightly colored flower attracting bees in a vast garden.
  4. Relevance to the Content: It's jarring when you read an article about healthy eating, and at the end, there's a CTA about buying video games. Relevance is crucial. The CTA should feel like the next natural step after consuming the content.
  5. Action Phrases Matter: Using strong, action-oriented words can amp up the persuasiveness of a CTA. Words like "Discover," "Unleash," or "Dive in" are more enticing than passive terms.
  6. Simplicity: Sometimes, less is genuinely more. A lengthy CTA can overwhelm or confuse users. Aim for brevity while keeping the message potent.

If you're looking for a guide to creating CTAs that convert, the above pointers are a good starting point. Remember, it's a combination of clarity, emotional connection, visual appeal, and relevance. Like a chef perfecting a recipe, it might take some tweaking and testing, but with dedication, you'll learn how to create CTAs that resonate and inspire your audience to take the desired action.


Wrapping up our digital marketing journey on the topic of CTAs, let's revisit some of the key takeaways we've learned together.

First and foremost, the placement of your action button plays a pivotal role in its effectiveness. It's widely recommended to have the action button above the fold. It ensures that your CTA is one of the first things visitors see, boosting the chances of them taking action.

Another crucial element that can't be ignored is the CTA design. Much like a well-dressed individual making a strong first impression, a well-designed CTA grabs attention and communicates its importance. The choice of CTA button colors, for instance, can evoke different emotions in your audience. A blue button might be seen as trustworthy, while a red one might convey urgency. But remember, it's not just about the color; it's about ensuring it stands out and complements the overall design.

We've also looked at examples of great CTAs that make an impact. These CTAs don't just sit pretty on a webpage; they drive action, engage users, and help meet business goals. They're not just buttons; they're gateways to meaningful user experiences.

In the end, a strong CTA is more than just a clickable element on a page. It's a culmination of well-thought-out design, strategic placement, and compelling copy.

It's about understanding your audience's needs, presenting a solution, and guiding them toward taking action.
Jason Turner

Jason Turner

Jason Turner is our go-to guy for digital insights. As our in-house writer, he shares pieces of his digital journey with all of us through this blog.

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