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Ready, Set, Call to Action!: Creating a Compelling CTA

Angie Tran

Content Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

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Wham! Bam! Ka-zam! That’s how your call to action (CTA) should make your site visitors feel. Well, maybe not that extreme, but your CTA should be able to get an immediate response from the person seeing or hearing it. If you’re finding that your prospects aren’t taking the next step in your sales process — whether that’s making a purchase or simply asking for more information — the issue could be a weak CTA. 

What’s a Call to Action (or CTA)?

A CTA is “the part of a marketing message that attempts to persuade a person to perform a desired action.” It’s a marketing strategy that (literally) calls for potential and existing leads to take a specific action, such as to “Buy now!” or “Sign up today!” CTAs aren’t always used for direct sales — if you have a high-priced product or service, a CTA can be something like, “Sign up now for a free estimate.” There could be multiple CTAs on the page if there are various actions you want people to make. 

Examples of CTAs

A CTA’s format depends on the CTA’s purpose and placement. It can range from being a line in an email to a closing statement in a blog post. 

CTAs are used across the web and come in many forms:

  • Button
  • Pop-up
  • Sidebar
  • Blog
  • Form
  • Social sharing 

There are many formats to choose from, so be sure to clearly define what you’re trying to achieve in your marketing strategy.  

CTA copy is also dependent on the purpose and context of your business. For example, an e-commerce store might have CTAs that are more commercially-focused, such as “Add to cart” or “Add to wishlist.” On a blog, you could see CTAs like, “Sign up for our newsletter!” or “Share our posts on social media.” B2B companies would feature CTA copy such as, “Get started,” or “Free trial.” 

Why Are CTAs Important?

The CTA is one of the most crucial elements of your webpage, advertisement, or piece of content. Consider it a neon sign that lets users know what to do next. For example, let’s say you’re on a cool blog. You click on a useful article, read it from beginning to end, but there’s no clear indicator of how to sign up for a newsletter, so you leave. With a CTA, you can encourage users to interact with the site to move the user down the sales funnel quicker.  

A recent study found that when done right, CTAs on the landing page can increase conversion rates by a whopping 80%. In addition to increased conversion rates, there are also plenty of other benefits: 

  • Improved website performance
  • Increased website and product signups 
  • Quicker location of products and services
  • A decrease in frustration and an increase in usability, which leads to higher customer loyalty. 

Tips to Create a Compelling CTA

So, how do you create effective and eye-popping CTAs? Here are some common strategies: 

Keep it short and sweet. A great CTA shouldn’t be a full sentence, but a short phrase that’s no longer than four to seven words if possible. 

Provide a clear benefit. Who wouldn’t love a discount, gift, or free shipping? Offering that extra little something is an excellent way to get someone to click to the “buy” button or sign up for your newsletter. 

Create a sense of urgency. When it comes to CTA copy, don’t be shy — use strong verbs to communicate what you want to say clearly. Action terms like “buy,” “subscribe,” or “register” leave no room for confusion. Add a deadline on your offer and add an expiration date, such as “available for a limited time.” 

Think about the design. The point of a CTA is to grab a customer’s attention instantly. If your webpage features a specific color tone, make sure that your button’s color is high-contrast for maximum effect. The best CTA button colors are red, green, and yellow (or orange), while the worst are brown, white, and black. And while it’s essential for the button to have stand-out shapes, colors and fonts, be mindful of it complementing the rest of your webpage design (so that it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb). 

Be smart about CTA placement. The general rule of thumb is to place the CTA button above the fold of your website, to the right of your content, so that users can’t miss it. Additional information should remain below the fold so that it’s not too distracting.

Test, test, test — then, test some more. According to Wingify, almost 30% of all A/B tests run by their customers are CTA button tests. Run an A/B test with multiple variants — such as color, copy, size, and page placement — of your CTA to help measure the effectiveness of different designs and text.

Now that you’ve got an action-packed CTA, let’s go over additional ways to increase your web traffic

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