A call to action (CTA) encourages people to take the desired action of a brand or organization. CTAs have always existed, but with the internet they’ve become more specific and targeted. For marketers, this makes writing calls to action a bit more challenging.  

This post explains more about crafting CTAs, and offers call to action examples from leading brands for some inspiration. 

Understanding the Concept of Call to Action

You’ve seen calls to action on television commercials, billboards and websites. They are action words and phrases encouraging potential customers to take a step. That step might be as small as learning more or as significant as buying a product, but either way, it’s a step closer to your main goal for customer commitment.

What Is a Call to Action on a Website? 

On the internet, calls to action are everywhere. Just about anything clickable could be a CTA (though CTAs can also be plain text with no link). Historically, it may have been a literal “click here,” though these days it tends to be a highly visible button saying “Learn More,” “Buy Now” or “Register Here.” 

For digital marketing, CTAs can move consumers through traceable journeys of your website and advertisements. The idea is to offer low-commitment CTAs on pages visited first (home and landing pages), and increase the buy-in as they get deeper into the site. For example, start with CTAs that offer more information, then work your way to offering downloads and finally suggest scheduling a meeting or making a purchase.   

Learn more about incorporating CTAs as part of your:

Crafting Irresistible Calls to Action: Proven Tips

Including calls to action isn’t difficult–ensuring they’re actually effective is more challenging. You only have a few words to clearly suggest urgency and relevance, and to do so without scaring people away.

Fortunately, observing certain techniques can increase the chances of your CTAs being seen, understood and acted on. 

First, consider where the CTA will be and why a potential customer might see it, as well as what specific action you want them to take (Sign up for a newsletter? Contact you?). Then, use a few tips for making those CTAs irresistible:        

  • Employ dynamic action verbs: Create a sense of urgency and immediate action with words like add, sign up, order, get, buy, learn, find out and swipe.  
  • Craft in the first-person perspective: When appropriate, use first-person rather than second-person, such as “Reserve My Table” rather than “Reserve Your Table.” First-person CTAs actually have a better conversion rate than second-person ones.   
  • Maintain brevity and simplicity: Being concise is vital with text online, and even more so with CTAs. Try to stick to two or three words, though in some circumstances you might use five or six words.   
  • Understand your audience's needs: Consider their “lead temperature,” meaning what are they ready to commit to? Someone searching your specific offerings is more prepared to contact you than someone simply seeing you ad in their social feed. 
  • Ensure easy visibility for your CTAs: Use color, size, placement and style to make your CTAs easy to see and understand.  

Most Common Types of CTAs

You can build calls to action into your content in all sorts of ways, though a few are the most common and reliable:

  • Buttons: These rectangular icons contain a few words and are obviously clickable. Their color contrasts with the rest of your content but should coordinate with branding aesthetics. 
  • Forms: Offer visitors something for completing a form that includes their email address, phone number or other identifying information. Typical offerings include a download,  estimate or subscription.  
  • Banners: Appearing more like an ad, a banner might run along the top, side or bottom of your page. Give it an appealing design and action words to assure visitors that it’s not a third-party ad.  
  • Contextual Links: These in-text links tend to differ in color from regular text, and use words that clearly communicate where they will take users, such as “contact us” or learn our history.”   
  • Pop-Ups: As boxes that appear over a page’s content, pop-ups capture attention and usually encourage a certain action. Use these sparingly to keep them from being annoying, and consider exit intent pop-ups, which appear when someone’s about to leave the site.   
  • Slide-Ins: Slide-ins are a bit less disruptive than pop-ups, though they work almost the same way. The major difference is that they slide onto the screen from the bottom or sidebar. 

Learning from the Best: Call to Action Examples

Leading brands pay attention to what their customers want and know a good call to action can make all the difference. What is a call to action example that might best suit your brand? 

  • Progressive Insurance: “Get a Quote” is a clear, concise way to offer a tangible reward. 
  • Glossier: “Let’s take this to your inbox” above and “I’m In” beneath an email address field makes users feel like part of the beauty brand’s club.
  • Hootsuite: “Try Hootsuite Free for 30 Days” is an intriguing and low-commitment offer for trying the social media management platform. 
  • Domino’s Pizza: Including a button for each “Carryout” and “Delivery” at the top of the website makes it easy for customers to get started.
  • VRBO: “Discover Your Escape” is unique and alluring, reminding visitors of what they’ll ultimately get with a vacation rental. 
  • Zara: “View” is a safe but enticing CTA that takes visitors from the fashion brand’s homepage into new items and then increasingly specific areas of the site. 
  • Headspace: “Snuggle Up to Headspace” evokes the comfort the meditation app is designed to provide.
  • Zoom: “Why Zoom” lets you know the brand is competitive and wants to offer more than other meeting apps. 
  • Hulu: “Get the Disney Bundle” immediately suggests more bang for your buck. 
  • International Rescue Committee: “Donate,” followed by a tiny heart icon and surrounded by images of aid recipients, gives visitors an immediate, purposeful action with a nod to ideas of moral duty. 
  • Dropbox: “Sign Up for Free” on a button that matches the logo is simple and clear. 
  • Hello Fresh: “Claim Offer” coupled with a countdown timer is the ultimate in urgency and reward.
  • Stitch Fix: “Shop Now” and “Buy Now” in a Facebook ad is ideal for those who’ve looked at your brand before and just need one more nudge to shop.             

Convert Clients Through Irresistible CTAs

Coming up with and executing CTA ideas is tougher than you might think. However, once you know some techniques and view top-notch CTA button examples, you’ll be ready to start creating your own.   

Skillshare has the best class selection, from beginner to advanced, for learning how to write converting CTAs. Get started with Copywriting for Beginners and Writing Advertisements for CTAs that attract and convert.   

Written By
Katie Mitchell

Katie Mitchell

Katie lives in Michigan with her husband, kids and pets. She enjoys cooking, travel and live music.

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