A Call to Action, often referred to as a CTA, is an appeal to the user. The purpose of a CTA is to generate a particular, desired response from your prospective customer. The “Buy Now!” at the bottom of an Amazon product page or a “Learn More” link on a Facebook ad are both perfect examples of popular CTAs. According to Jeremy Smith of Market Land, “a successful CTA results in a conversion.” This is the point at which your user buys into whatever you’re selling. Unfortunately, only effective CTAs produce this response. This is why crafting persuasive CTAs is imperative to a website’s success. Here are seven tips to remember during the CTA writing process:

1. Tell Me (Them) What You Want

Use clear, direct words that elicit an immediate response. Simple, easy to understand language is processed faster, and therefore encourages quick action from the reader, rather than slowing down their cognitive process – giving a visitor an opportunity to leave.

Additionally, directly addressing the user and utilizing action-oriented words can facilitate a stronger response.

The shorter, more direct version of this CTA is easier to process and more effective.

2. And WHY

    Make your CTA benefit oriented. Don’t just tell users what you want them to do, sell them on the idea that your service will benefit them just as much as their patronage benefits you. Do this by using the “Voice of the Customer.” Focus on what they need and how your company can fix their most vexing problems.

    “Accelerate Your Blog’s Growth” shows the customer what they have to gain by clicking on this CTA.

    3. Make an IMPACT

    Use strong, powerful words that will evoke an emotional or enthusiastic reaction from your user. Cliffhangers are a great way to induce curiosity and encourage users to click, as long as the CTA gives them an idea of where the link will lead. For example, in the instance shown below, you would expect to be taken to an article about how this organization increased their social media sales. If you were instead taken to their homepage or a product page, you as a user would be confused, and probably leave the site rather than investigate further.

    Never forget the magic word: Free.

    The cliffhanger in this CTA peaks the reader’s curiosity, drawing them in and encouraging clicks.

    4. Capitalize on FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

      Promote sales or special offers by highlighting their expiration date. Even if the date is far away, knowing that the deal will expire instills a sense of urgency that can motivate users to click. People also have an innate urge to fit in. By creating a sense of FOMO, or a feeling that they are missing out on the “next best thing,” you can encourage a quick reply from your audience.

      “Buy now… or lose the deal!” is a perfect example of FOMO. Ignoring this CTA has consequences; missing out on the deal.

      5. Take the Device into Account

        People use different devices for different purposes. Individuals are more likely to look to their computers and laptops when completing in-depth searches or long tasks, while their tablets and smartphones are used for simpler, faster feedback. Tailor your CTAs to the device they will be viewed on, and see greater success with a wider audience.

        This Facebook ad for a recipe app is a great example of a device oriented CTA. Not only does it allow the user to quickly download the app, it takes into account that the individual viewing the ad is on their cell phone. A similar CTA would be ineffective on a computer where people would be looking for websites rather than phone applications.

        6. Avoid the Status Quo

          Cliché CTAs are uninteresting and ineffective. “Learn More,” “Click Here,” and “Try Now” are just a few examples of some very popular, but uninspiring, CTAs. Additionally, repetition of these overused CTAs can confuse your potential customer. Having multiple “Learn More” buttons on the same page causes uncertainty about the outcome of a click, and can lead visitors to leave without further exploration.

          Get creative. Use out of the box ideas that will grab user attention and intrigue them to explore further. Humor and abrasive language are both risky tactics but can be quite rewarding when used properly. When deciding what kind of risks are worth taking, it is important to know your audience. For example, ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com uses the concept of sending glitter to people you hate. While this is appropriate and humorous for their audience, if a large bank were to try a similar tactic, it would likely backfire and cause concern in regards to the abilities of the bank.

          ShipYourEnimiesGlitter.com adds a humorous twist to their CTA, an effective use of audience knowledge.

          7. Placement is Key

            It is important to consider the placement of the CTA. Depending on the type of response you are looking for, certain CTAs might perform better in different locations. A “Learn More” button may do well at the top of a page, when visitors are still in the exploration stage. Presenting a “Buy Now!” before the customer has any idea what you’re selling, would not. Think about the flow of information on your website and make sure that your CTAs comes at the right moment.

            Two CTA options for this website. In the second option, the CTAs come before the user has any knowledge of the products, and is likely to be ineffective. In the first option, the CTAs come directly after the relevant information, giving users an idea of what to expect when they click, increasing the performance of the CTA.

            While there is no perfect recipe for writing an effective CTA, these seven tips can help you get on the right track. Unfortunately, you only know what really works after testing it out on real clientele.This is where Discida can help. We specialize in both user and market research, creating the perfect combination to get you the data you need to see what elicits the best reaction from your customers. Explore our research options now.





            Also published on Medium.