What is a Call-to-Action?
A Call-to-Action (CTA) is a button image, graphic, or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take a specific action.
Any specific action you want someone to take is entirely up to you – whether it’s watching a video, subscribing to an email list, or downloading an eBook. You can also place a CTA wherever you want (your website, email, blog post), though it’s recommended you only place CTAs where they makes the most contextual sense.
Call-to-Actions are critical to your marketing success because they’re one of the most influential determinants of your bounce rate and conversion rate. Regardless of how you define a conversion, your CTA is your last opportunity to persuade someone. By incorporating strong CTAs into your marketing, you’re increasing the likelihood that people will take your desired action. Electing to not incorporate CTAs is like shooting yourself in the foot.
What Makes a Call-to-Action Effective?
An effective CTA is eye-catching, clear, specific, and compelling. It’s not vague or passive – only direct, relevant, and immediate. It’s obvious and noticeable, inspiring someone to take action by telling them exactly what they’ll be getting.
To write an effective CTA, your button copy should be simple, concise and to the point. It’s important to use actionable language that communicates the value of your proposition and sets accurate expectations. It’s also important that each of your CTAs be unique – especially if you are using multiple CTAs on one page.
How to Write Call-to-Actions
1) Define Your Action
In order to write an effective CTA, you need to define the exact action you want someone to take. Any CTA should be focused on only one goal. If you have multiple goals, you’ll need to be strategic about using multiple CTAs per page.
2) Communicate Your Value
Now that you’ve clearly defined your action, you need to be able to communicate the value or benefit someone will receive if they do take action.
For example, your goal is to have someone download your eBook. First, be able to answer the question about what someone will learn or gain from reading it. If your eBook is about how to write a Call-to-Action, you might communicate the value like this:
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3) Value First, Then Action
You should communicate the value or benefit someone will receive, followed by a short and simple text button that communicates what will happen next if they take action.
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4) Use Power Words
As any copywriter or marketer will tell you, some words are simply more influential than others. When deciding upon CTA verbiage, you should be considering the the most powerful words that resonate with your intended audience to trigger the completion of your desired actions.
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Words like “new”, “secrets”, “powerful” and “immediately” are just a few examples of terms that can imply a sense of exclusivity and effectiveness. There are at least 189 words and phrases that have been proven influential and persuasive, so you shouldn’t have a problem using at least one power word per CTA.
5) Be Creative
Once you know your power words, it’s time to be creative. Consider the problem your eBook could help someone solve, and appeal to your audience in a clever way:
There are a number of ways to be creative with your CTAs. Large buttons with bold, contrasting colors are often recommended for guiding focus and catching your visitors’ eye. However, negative psychology is another great way to be clever and creative in an unsuspecting way. Instead of focusing on what you want your audience to do, try giving them the negative option that pokes them where it hurts.