Are your marketing efforts as effective as you'd like them to be? Do you want to boost sales without hiring a team of expensive sales reps? If the answer to either of these questions is "Yes" then you're in for a treat! In this article, we discuss everything related to calls-to-action: what they are, why they're important, and how to craft them effectively.
Once you learn how to create winning calls-to-action, you'll see a lot more success with your marketing and sales initiatives, guaranteed.
What is a Call-to-Action?
A call-to-action (CTA) is a suggestion of sorts that tells an internet user, website visitor, email reader, etc. what to do after consuming a specific piece of content. For example, a website visitor might be greeted with a "Buy Now" button after reading a sales page. Once clicked on, the "Buy Now" button would take them to a digital shopping cart or payment page.
There are many different kinds of CTAs. Here are a few popular ones:
- Sign Up: These CTAs generally want people to surrender their contact information and fill out lead forms — usually in return for some kind of incentive, like a free ebook.
- Call: After reading a webpage or watching a video, a prospect might be prompted to call a company and talk with them about their products and/or services.
- Schedule: Have you ever been on a website and seen a button that said "Schedule a Time" or "Book Now"? These CTAs attempt to book meetings with potential customers.
- View: There's a lot of free content on the internet. There's also plenty of gated content, i.e. content that can't be freely consumed. A "View a Page/Document" CTA denotes this.
- Watch: Video content has taken over the internet. As such, "Watch a Video" CTAs are quite popular and try to entice folks to watch some kind of visual presentation.
There are plenty of other calls-to-action as well. In fact, if you want your digital audience to do something — anything — you can create a CTA that encourages them to do it.
Why Are Calls-to-Action Important?
We've covered what CTAs are, but what's their purpose? In other words, why are calls-to-action important? While there are many reasons, here are the two most important:
If you don't tell your audience what to do next, there's a good chance they won't do anything.
Think about it: without a "Buy Now" button at the end of your sales page, your potential customers won't know how to get their hands on the awesome product you just described. Without a "Read Now" link in your email, your subscribers won't know where to find your new blog post. And if there's any confusion at all, 99% of people will simply click away.
You worked hard to drive traffic to your site, build up a substantial email list, craft the perfect ad copy… Don't let your efforts go to waste by not creating an effective CTA.
Piggybacking off of our last point, effective calls-to-action lead to greater business success. If the folks who read your company's sales pages and consume its content never purchase anything, you won't be able to boost revenue. No revenue, no business.
CTAs are the secret sauce to making money online.
(Side note: CTAs are used offline too. The billboard that says "Call this 1-800 Number Now" is using a CTA. The process for following through on the call is just a bit different.)
If you want to grow your business, make more money, and achieve greater success, you have to learn how to craft effective CTAs. Fortunately, that's what the rest of this article is about!
What Makes an Effective Call-to-Action?
That's the million dollar question, right? Knowing what a call-to-action is and why CTAs are important is one thing. Knowing how to craft them effectively is another. In this section, we share seven best practices to help you craft highly clickable calls-to-action for your business.
1. Use Action Words
We're talking about calls-to-action here. So it makes sense that the best CTAs use action-oriented words and phrases. What do we mean by that? Here are a few examples:
- Reserve Your Spot: Doesn't that sound way better than "Submit Application" or something similarly boring? "Reserve Your Spot" is much more enticing!
- Discover Your Niche: The act of discovering something is exciting and this CTA is infinitely more appealing than "Download Ebook". Plus, "Discover Your Niche" speaks to the benefit of the ebook, not just the ebook itself which will boost clicks.
- Talk to Us: While "Talk to Us" is just as action-oriented as "Contact Us", the former sounds more personal. That's why it gets the nod for better CTA.
No matter what action you're trying to get your audience to take, use action-oriented words in your CTAs and you'll find more success. Here's a great example:
2. Keep Your CTAs Concise
Action-oriented words are great; too many of them are not. In fact, too many of any kind of word, action-oriented or otherwise, is a major CTA mistake.
So keep your calls-to-action concise. How concise? We recommend somewhere between two and five words. This will give you enough space to entice your prospect and encourage a click, without rambling on and on for ages.
If you absolutely must have more text than the suggested amount, consider using "Bonus Text", i.e. text that goes below your CTA button or link and offers more information. For example, your call-to-action could read "Give [Product] a Try". Below that, you could have text that says something like "It's completely free for the first 30 days!"
This technique will allow you to keep your CTAs short while still communicating the vital details. See how T-Mobile does this below:
3. Go With 1st Person Phrasing
Here's the thing, the people that visit your website, read your emails, and watch your videos only care about one thing: themselves. Don't get too bent out of shape, you're the same way. We all are. When we look at products or read informational blog posts (like this one) the only thing we're thinking about is how it will benefit us.
That's why 1st person CTAs perform so much better than their 2nd and 3rd person counterparts.
Superstar copywriter Joanna Wiebe adjusted Schedulicity's call-to-action from 3rd to 1st person (plus made it a little more personal) and scored a 24% bump in effectiveness!
4. Make Your CTAs Stand Out
You've loaded your call-to-action up with an action word or two, made sure you didn't exceed the five word limit, and even used 1st person phrasing. Congrats, sounds like you might have a real winner on your hands. But if no one sees your CTA, it won't matter.
Design plays a crucial role in the success (or not) of your CTAs. Before commiting to a call-to-action, make sure it has the following elements:
- Contrasting Colors: You know what's not smart? Putting a green CTA on a green background. No one will be able to see it! Instead, use contrasting colors that allow your CTAs to stand out on a crowded web page.
- Button Shape: Button CTAs generally perform better than hyperlinked text — especially on web pages. Why? Because buttons are made to be clicked. Also, buttons stand out better and are easier to see, which we've already established is vital.
- Legible Text: Lastly, make sure your call-to-action text is easy to read. If your website visitors and email subscribers have to squint to read your CTAs, they won't. They'll just click on something else instead and you'll have lost a potential customer.
The way your CTA looks matters. Don't spend all of your creative energy writing your call-to-action and then have nothing left for the design portion. Be like KlientBoost:
5. Place Your CTAs Correctly
Where you put your call-to-action is almost as important as the CTA itself. Many CTAs should be placed above the fold, i.e. in a spot that can be seen without having to scroll down the web page. CTAs that ask folks to sign up for a company newsletter or offer a free incentive are generally most effective above the fold.
But other calls-to-action, the kind that ask potential customers to make purchases, for example, are better left below the fold. Imagine being asked to purchase a product before you've even read the sales page. It's a bit of a turnoff.
Understand what you're asking folks to do and then put your CTA in the place that best facilitates this action.
6. Test Your CTAs
You could follow all of the best practices in this article. You could research the junk out of CTAs and follow every best practice on the internet. But until you test your CTAs in a real-life scenario, you won't actually know if they're successful or not. Which means it's time to start A/B testing.
An A/B test is an easy way to determine the effectiveness of your calls-to-action. Simply create two identical CTAs, then change one (note: only one!) thing about the second version. You could, for example, adjust the color of the second CTA while keeping everything else the same. Then drive traffic to both CTAs and determine which performs better.
Anything and everything about your CTAs can be tested. Button shape and color, text, placement, surrounding imagery, etc.
7. Don't Overdo it
Finally, don't overdo it and place six different (keyword being different) CTAs on your web pages or in your emails. This will only confuse your audience. Instead, choose one action you want your website visitors and email subscribers to take, then dedicate your CTA to that purpose.
Now, that doesn't mean you can't use multiple CTAs. It might be beneficial to include a CTA in the middle and end of a long sales page. But both calls-to-action should encourage folks to do the same thing and lead to the same place.
CloudApp’s New CTA Button!
If you're not familiar with CloudApp, let us enlighten you:
CloudApp is a visual communication tool that brings screen and webcam recording, GIF creation, and image annotation features to the cloud. Millions of users, including folks from major corporations like Salesforce, Uber, and Adobe, love CloudApp for its powerful capabilities, intuitive interface, and ability to improve productivity and collaboration.
While we could rest on our laurels, we'd never dream of it! We're always looking for ways to improve our solution, which has led us to introduce a brand new, very exciting feature: the CTA button!
With this premium feature, you can create one-of-a-kind content with CloudApp, include a stellar CTA (like you just learned how to do), and grow your business faster than ever before. For example, you can use CloudApp to record your screen and demonstrate how to use a software product. At the end of your video, you can attach a CTA button that leads viewers to your company's website where a purchase can be made. How cool is that?
To learn more about how this exciting new feature works, click here.
The effectiveness of your calls-to-action will play a large role in determining how successful your business will be. Because of this, it's important to get your CTAs right! Fortunately, you now know exactly how to craft winning CTAs. Just follow the seven best practices we outlined above:
- Use Action Words
- Keep Your CTAs Concise
- Go With 1st Person Phrasing
- Make Your CTAs Stand Out
- Place Your CTAs Correctly
- Test Your CTAs
- Don't Overdo it
Now that users can include CTAs with the content they create in CloudApp, you can take what you've just learned and supercharge your marketing and sales efforts.