No matter how revolutionary or groundbreaking your product is or what your service delivers, if your customers don’t know what to do when they first encounter your offering, they won’t buy. That’s why you need to TELL them what to do. And that’s where the call to action comes into play.
Back before the digital age, you know, when broadcast television and hot-off-the-presses newspapers were the only way to get news, you saw CTAs all the time. Big, bold messages like “Call Right Now!” or “SALE!” drove you to take action. Hard telling how many QVC or “As Seen on TV” products are still looming in people’s closets these days.
Today’s digital landscape of marketing and advertising is an entirely new level of customer engagement and messaging. And the playbook for calls to action is all different, too. So, let’s dissect some of the most impactful CTAs that drive conversions, sales, and bottom-line results. You can get inspired to revamp your strategies and leverage some of the psychology behind attracting new buyers and impulsing more sales.
What Is a Call to Action?
Technically, a call to action or CTA is a term or series of words that prompt an immediate response. Most often, CTAs are used in digital marketing, chaperoning online users to take the logical next step. A CTA doesn’t always have to be a “buy now” initiative. In fact, you can use a strategic series of CTAs to move leads through the sales funnel at any given point.
CTA Buttons – These are the most common forms of CTAs, using an icon with an action phrase that encourages users to do something.
CTA Forms – Form submissions are great CTAs for converting prospects into leads, usually in exchange for customer information or data.
CTA Banners – Banners make for ideal CTAs for deals, sales, or special discounts, and they’re most often colorful graphics that appear at the top, bottom, or side of your page.
CTA Links – Embed links contextually within an email or blog post, using your CTA to direct content readers to take action.
CTA Pop-Ups – Pop-ups can be perfect CTAs for discounts and special offers, with exciting messaging as buttons or forms that direct users offsite.
CTA Slide-Ins – These are like pop-ups, only less intrusive to the customer experience, as they’re CTAs that “slide” into view on the page.
How Do You Use a CTA?
Your online ads, website, landing pages, email marketing campaigns, and product descriptions are all great-fit places to put a brilliantly devised CTA. Use calls to action whenever you want your audience to do something specific. It’s usually a “button” or link that, when selected, will take the user to the next logical phase of the buyer’s journey.
CTAs are effective in any online arena or marketing strategy. And you’ll want to use actionable calls to action with nearly every marketing message and via every channel, including…
- Digital product descriptions
- Free trial subscriptions
- App downloads
- Membership offers
- Recruiting efforts
- Scheduling communications
- Event promotion
- Fundraising efforts
- Upselling opportunities
- Referral campaigns
- Digital advertising
What Makes a CTA Compelling?
Obviously, the language you use with your CTA will determine whether or not an online lead is persuaded to take action. You can’t just shout, “Hey you – buy this!” and expect conversions. You’ll want to be creative with your customer-facing instructions. And you’ll want to bake enthusiasm and excitement into every CTA statement. So what makes a CTA compelling enough to inspire action? And what distinguishes a brilliant call to action from a tone-deaf button on your home page?
- Compelling CTAs are brief one-to-two-word phrases or statements.
- Compelling CTAs are easy-to-understand instructions.
- Compelling CTAs make logical sense to the audience in placement and timing.
- Compelling CTAs use language the audience uses.
- Compelling CTAs stand out from the content around them.
- Compelling CTAs have great designs and vibrant colors.
- Compelling CTAs often involve enthusiastic tones and a sense of urgency.
It’s also important to remember that all call to action prompts should include three core elements. They need to demonstrate urgency. CTAs should be educational, describing precisely what the prospect needs to know about taking that next step. And CTAs need to be specific to a precise outcome. Now start exploring some of these compelling content examples and learn what makes them stand out and drive sales results and conversions.
Examples of CTAs That Convert When Used Correctly
When you’re able to tap into the power of a well-placed, well-crafted CTA, prepare for results. Let’s dive into some of the most successful call to action statements and share why they’re so effective when used correctly.
Whenever you have an offer, special purchasing deal, or unique buying proposition, this CTA works great. It’s the most common call to action statement to use and, when selected, takes the prospect to the buying page. Get creative, though, and try “buy now for $199” to include price points, too. Including specifics only provides additional clarification.
“Add to Cart”
In eCommerce and product-based businesses, prompting the prospect to put their selected items in their online shopping cart is essential. It’s not the official purchase step, so customers usually have an easier time taking this step. This is a great stepping stone CTA to use, nurturing the buyer along. Just don’t forget to follow up with efforts to get people to buy what’s in their digital carts, too.
“Yes! I Want 15% Off!”
Use a call to action statement that reinforces your offer. A CTA like this, or some variation of it, capitalizes on the excitement of your enticing offer. Instead of “buy now,” users can opt-in to take advantage of a special deal or discount specifically.
Consider creating more than one CTA option. Instead of asking your prospects to say yes or no, you can provide a yes and a maybe later opportunity. Anyone not quite ready to finalize a purchase can be persuaded to keep shopping or browsing, providing you a chance to convert them later.
CTAs don’t all have to be about buying. Change up your CTA to reflect what it is you’re offering, including downloadable assets, tools, or software. Consider offering free or discounted tutorials or webinars to get your prospects comfortable with taking action.
“Get FULL Access!”
Stage your CTAs in a way that offers more than one purchasing experience. Give your prospects an opportunity to buy tiers of services or access, including entry-level and full-access options.
Using this CTA is often appealing because it provides the user with a satisfying feeling of achieving access, unlocking access to something special, and rewarding experiences.
“Get Your Lifetime Access!”
Tap into the fear of missing out or FOMO with CTAs that dangle the carrot. Put a timeframe on your offer, whether it’s “limited time” or “lifetime access.”
“Open Your FREE Account”
Anytime your offer includes a layer of free access, use your CTA to promote it. Capitalize it so users can see they can commit without buying.
“Sign Up for FREE”
Here’s another example of a CTA that engages with a free offer. Use these CTAs as opt-ins to move prospects closer to a sale without actually asking them to commit yet.
“Join FREE for 1 Month”
Use your CTA to describe what it is they’re getting for free. Free trials, whether they’re for one day or 30 days, should be included into your call to action message.
Use your CTA to describe your purchasing decision as an up-leveling experience. Online users will be persuaded to take action in hopes of achieving an elevated outcome.
“Try Premium Today!”
Use the word “try” in your call to action to signify to your prospects they can sample something without a burdensome financial or binding commitment. These are great CTAs for offerings you have that also come with grace periods and easy opt-out options.
“Register for the Webinar”
Build excitement for prospects to register or sign up for upcoming webinars or scheduled events. Registration actions are usually free, but they’re great for collecting additional information about your prospects.
“Reserve My Best Seat in the House”
Use your call to action to describe the experience the prospect can expect upon purchase. Choose statements that describe an irresistible outcome, like reserving the “best seats in the house.”
“Start Closing More Leads!”
If what you have to offer is a solution to the customer’s pain point, use that within your call to action. This allows buyers to choose their ideal outcome, not just agree to a financial purchase.
“Start Saving Money NOW!”
Create a sense of urgency with your CTA, and get creative with how you describe buying opportunities. And any chance you have to highlight any potential savings or earnings your offering provides – do it!
“Get My FREE Quote”
Using first-person language within your call to action helps to align the decision with the unique prospect. Users feel like you’re speaking to them and offering a next step based on their situations.
“Connect with an Expert”
Another advantage of unique CTA statements is your ability to strategically position your brand or expertise. Provide a selection that naturally makes you the industry leader or expert.
“Take the FREE Quiz”
Add another layer of engagement to your roster of available CTAs with quizzes or surveys. Make them free, but use them as a method for learning more about your ideal and target audience. And while they might not be ready to purchase outright, they can be moved through your sales funnel with a free, information-gathering quiz or questionnaire.
“Submit Your Answer”
If you’re not up for building out a questionnaire or survey, you can still use your email, website, or landing page as an info-gathering tool with one or two questions to engage your prospects. A “submit your response” type of CTA is a risk-free engagement that nurtures your audience towards eventually buying.
“Schedule a Demo”
Use your CTAs as tools to schedule connections and additional engagements with your prospects. Link to calendar app or form that allows them to determine a convenient time to demo a product or speak to you about your offering.
Use this CTA as a secondary option for users who may not be ready to engage yet. These recruiting CTAs can provide insights about careers, company culture, or growth opportunities in jobseeker settings.
It never hurts to include a benign CTA that encourages users to just “learn more.” These links should point to other landing pages or digital assets that keep the sales process moving.
A/B Testing Your Call to Action Statements
The other key to a successful call to action strategy is constant improvement and evolution of your efforts. Much like other marketing strategies, CTAs will work brilliantly with some audiences but not others. CTA designs in a sequence of emails might be different from those you find success with on your website. The only way to keep your CTAs fresh and effective is with split testing or A/B testing ongoing. Here are just a few CTA elements that you can focus on when testing:
- Text, color, and font
- CTA placement or location on the page or within the copy
- Button designs and sizes
- Media including images or videos
Change things up and try new designs or CTA messages with different products or audiences. Fine tune your efforts in line with those testing results. And recognize that any opportunity you have to make a CTA personalized or customized, the more engaging it will be.
Get inspired by these call to action statement examples and start creating your own for use throughout all your marketing strategies. Use the psychology along with brilliantly crafted phrases to inspire your audiences to take action and buy! And remember, for CTAs and all your marketing content, including blogs, white pages, web copy, newsletters, and thought-leadership articles, rely on the talented wordsmiths at Ghost Blog Writers!
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(See what we did there with our own CTA?)