Crafting Effective Calls to Action

August 4, 2020

Crafting Effective Calls to Action

We recently considered best practices to increase the effectiveness of landing pages, and one of those suggestions was to have action-oriented CTAs. Defaults like “Click Here,” “Sign Up,” and “Submit” simply don’t cut it anymore. An effective CTA should illustrate exactly what will happen when the button is pushed and why someone should push that button in the first place. It’s an exercise in copywriting that can be very challenging, but today we’re going to dive in and help you write the perfect CTA.

What is a CTA?

A CTA, or call to action, is a button that performs a specific action within a funnel, such as subscribing, registering, downloading, ordering, advancing to the next page, etc. Typically, clicking the CTA represents a “conversion” for whatever the goal or objective is of the page that it’s on. That means it’s important to make it easy and compelling for users to click on your CTA.

Thanks to our friends at Adzooma for these useful CTA suggestions!

Be clear on exactly what the user is getting.

Your CTA should convey the exact action that the visitor will take when or if they click the button. If they’ll be subscribing, downloading, or ordering, to reuse our examples from above, then the button could be labeled “Subscribe” or “Join Our Email List,” “Download,” or “Place Order” or “Pay Now.” These CTAs make it very clear exactly what will happen so there’s no surprises.

One word of caution: Make sure that the action promised does indeed happen. These action-oriented CTAs make it clear there aren’t additional surprises or more forms that load after pushing the button, so make sure that doesn’t happen. Someone who pushes a button labeled “Join Our Email List” expects the process to be complete after pushing that button. They should see a thank you message and/or their promised lead magnet, not a form asking for a bevy of additional information. If a visitor has accepted your deal and clicked the CTA, keep your end of the deal and give them exactly what you promised, no less and no more.

Make your CTAs easy to read.

Accessibility is a major concern on websites today (and an entirely separate topic deserving of its own article). Be sure that it’s easy for people with visual disabilities to spot and read your CTA. Even people with normal vision can benefit from making your CTA easy to read. After all, how can you expect people to click on a button they can’t see?

Use plain language.

If your visitors can’t understand the words on your CTA, they can’t understand what the button will do, which violates our overarching principle. Use simple words in plain language.

Have a single CTA.

With multiple buttons plastered across a page, it can be overwhelming to site visitors. They may click the wrong button or go down an incorrect path. Remember that one landing page should have one objective, one purpose, and therefore one CTA.

Keep your button technically lightweight.

There’s no need to format buttons with features like SVG gradients or jquery animations. While there isn’t necessarily anything inherently wrong with these ideas from a design perspective, they will take longer to load, particularly on slow internet connections and/or on mobile. The button is one of the most important parts of your web page, so you want it to load very quickly and not slow down someone who’s trying to progress through your funnel.

A/B Test your copy.

The copy that performs best on one page could be vastly different for another, particularly those in different industries. However, you could have two landing pages in the same campaign for which you target audiences differently and see significant performance differences in your copy. For these reasons, it’s important to consider these tips a starting point to crafting exceptional calls to action. We encourage you to write several options for each button and A/B Test them against each other to see which performs best for each page, and to not assume that each page will be the same.

Get a Helping Hand

If this feels challenging for you to implement, Empower Ideas can help! With our Unlimited Work retainer plan, available for a limited time, you’ll have access to a team of professional copywriters to compose variants for every button on your site. You’ll also have unlimited use of our team of developers and analysts to implement and monitor A/B Tests so we can quickly zero in on the most effective CTAs for you.