Crafting CTA’s: 4 Ways to Boost Your Impact

You’ve invested a significant portion of your limited supply of time, thought, and energy to coordinating an event, or perhaps creating an instructional eBook, in efforts to educate and engage existing and potential customers. Maybe a new feature or product is launching, the results of laborious months of R&D. Perhaps you’re hyper focused on driving lead-generation or crafting a brand image. Despite the level of investment or the quality of the offering, it ends up not mattering if the audience does not convert.

A simple and impactful way to drive conversion is optimizing your CTA’s. Calls to Action perch on the fulcrum of bounce and conversion. It is the link between your audience and a landing page with your value offering. If you’re CTA is more successful in getting your audience to answer the call, that’s half the battle.

Here we explore 4 simple and effective ways to power up your CTA.

“Call to Action.” That action varies depending on your product and your purpose and therefore so should your call. Some examples include asking a reader to subscribe to a newsletter, download an eBook, make a purchase, explore a sale, start a free trial, or register for an event. Different business motivations could include nurture leads, increase membership, close a sale, drive downloads, or increase social shares. Potential improvements fall under two categories, content and design.


Emphasize what the consumer is going to get, not what they have to do. In some cases, the simple difference between “Order” and “Get” creates drastically different results. “Get” emphasizes what the consumer will receive, while order suggests forms and additional action they have to take, which can easily deter people from clicking.  Lower commitment is shown to generate more conversion, for example “buy now” suggests the viewer will spend money by clicking, while “shop now” is more open-ended and inviting.


A common mistake is using passive or weak language: action-oriented verbs suggest, of course, action, which is what you want your audience to do. For instance, use phrases such as “discover” or “learn now” instead of ones like “be smarter” or “education.” Say “start free trial” instead of simply “free trial here.” Actionable language is compelling, not to mention creates a sense of immediacy. Incorporate “today” or “now” and heighten the urgency. As Hubspot suggests, reminding people to do something now can increase the chance of them actually doing it now.


When possible and applicable, avoid generic verbs or phrasing, such as the standard “click here.” However, it is always extremely important be concise and clear. Descriptive is good, verbose isn’t. The wording should also line-up with the wording on the subsequent landing page, to create a seamless experience and avoid reader confusion.


Value & Relevance
The more value and relevance you can convey through your call-to-action copy, the more conversions you are likely to get. As we discussed earlier, call to actions that are too wordy are not successful, but wordy does not equate to descriptive. Try to use evocative verbs that communicate what potential clients will benefit from volunteering a click. For instance, incorporate “20% off” in your “Shop now” offer, or be more specific- use “Download E-book Now” instead of simply “Download.” Additional words can compose a more persuasive message.



Placement & Prominence
Make your CTA big and noticeable. A reader should not be able to miss it. This can be achieved by making it larger and/or creating high value or color contrast with its surroundings. Placing the CTA in obvious positions, such as the beginning or end of an email or article, on a form submission, or on your sidebar will get more eyes and clicks. An eye-tracking visualization study by Nielsen shows that users often read web pages in an F-shaped pattern: two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe. Be sure to place your CTA and your other important information somewhere where users’ eyes naturally stray.


Making your button large enough is also critical for mobile. With a smaller screen comes the complication of clicking. Don’t frustrate your viewers by making it too small, or too close to other clickable content. In addition, if you opt to utilize images as CTA’s, ensure your alt text is relevant and descriptive.


As stated above, color is an important tool you can use to distinguish your call-to-action. Padding it with white-space also attracts more attention and creates a cleaner appearance. A highly successful technique is to make the CTA a button, and one that looks clickable. People know what to do with buttons. The three-dimensional view creates an intuition to click and implies a function before the viewer even reads the text. A short, punchy copy is also important here because a shorter message is more crisp and contained.

By experimenting with different CTA versions and employing different techniques, you can hone in on the best performing CTA. A-B testing is your greatest tool to determining this and subsequently capturing more of your audience with a simple and powerful fix.