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Marketing 360® Blog

Call to Action Examples & Tips (This is How You Build Calls To Action That Convert)

Post By Scott Yoder | Design & Branding

Here are 7 call to action tips, ideas, and examples that will help you convert more of your traffic into leads and sales.

The crux of a conversion-based website or ad landing page is the call to action.  It’s the point of decision where you either motivate the visitor to act – or you don’t.

Along with your value proposition, the call to action is the most important content on your website.  It’s worth tracking data on what works and refining your offer, word choice, and design to get the best results.

Here are 7 tips on how to build an effective call to action and use it to execute your conversion strategy.


Call to Action Tip #1: Determine What Visitors Want When They Visit Your Website

This is where it starts – or ends, depending.  The most effective calls to action work because the business understands why people are coming to their site, and they use that knowledge to motivate visitors.

The real key here is not just knowing what people want, but giving them an irresistible offer.

Here is a call to action example from Hulu.  They know people want to try out their service, so the call to action is to start a free trial: landing page call to action

Any local service business will build their call to action around scheduling a service visit.  But notice how this electrician motivates action by offering a $20 saving:

electrician lead generation website design
If your visitors want information, you may offer a download or other gated content so you get their email as a conversion.

If people come to your website looking to save, make sure your discounts and sales are visible.

So do two things.  Know what people want, then give them a good reason to act immediately to get it.


Call to Action Tip #2:  Make Your CTA Stand Out

A call to action should be the most obvious content on your website.  It should literally be impossible to miss.

Use call to action colors so buttons and content stand out (usually a brighter color).  For example, you can’t miss this roofer’s call to action:

As much as possible, integrate your call to action into your content so that it’s visible as people scroll down the page.

In particular, local businesses looking to generate phone call or walk-in leads should make sure their phone number and location are visible.  Call or walk-in visits are implied calls to action throughout your website, so have that content in headers, sidebars, and footers.

You should never lose a lead because they couldn’t find (or easily see) what they were supposed to do.


Call to Action Tip #3:  Use Short Terms in the Imperative Mood

In a call to action, you tell someone what to do – you don’t ask.  It’s a short phrase in the imperative mood.

For example, in a call to action you don’t ask:

Would you like to save on your insurance premiums today?  Then we advise you call us for a free quote. 

You tell people what to do:

Save up to 30% on your insurance premiums. 

Call today for a free quote.

Make your call to action clear, specific, and short.  This example is from a retargeting ad:

retargeting big call to action

One word of advice on website forms is to avoid the term “submit” in your call to action button.  This is an unappealing action, and studies show using it lowers conversions.

Instead, use positive terms that suggest a benefit (get, learn, save, free).

For example:

call to action button

This call to action has strong value elements that make heeding to the action appealing and beneficial.


Call to Action Tip #4:  Use Directional Cues

As we said, you want your call to action to be highly visible throughout your website.  Eyes should be drawn to this content.

One way to highlight CTAs is to use directional cues, such as the small arrows in the electric bill example above.

Even better is to have the person in your image looking at the call to action:

directional cue call to action

This is a subtle design tactic, but data shows that conversions rates improve when this type of directional cue is used.


Call to Action Tip #5:  Place Social Proof and Trust Elements Near Your Call to Action

Imagine a lead on your website, about ready to convert.  They’re pretty sure they want your offer, but they hesitate.  In their mind is an unspoken question:  Can I really trust these guys? 

People tend to hesitate online (it’s likely that more than 95% of your visitors won’t convert, which is why retargeting is so important).  So, if you inject trust elements into your design close to your call to action, you can ease people’s concerns and raise conversion rates.

One effective way to do this is to put a customer testimonial adjacent to your call to action:

website testimonial content

This is a specific, authentic testimonial with a call to action that connects to what the customer is saying.

You can also use trust badges, security assurances, and awards as trust content with calls to action.


Call to Action Tip #6:  Message Match

This is an important step for any advertising campaigns that are driving traffic to a landing page.

It’s vital that the word choice, offer, incentives and overall tone of the ad content match the content on the landing page.

For example, this ad:

message match ad

Goes to this landing page:

message match landing page

The call to action in the paid ad is to download a coupon and save.

When you arrive on the page, you can follow through on the ad’s call to action.

The most common mistake businesses make is to have an ad with a specific offer and call to action, then have the ad link to their homepage.  The homepage doesn’t match the ad, but instead just has their general branding.

Make the message match and call to action seamless between ad and landing page.


Call to Action Tip #7:  Test & Modify

Of all the content on your website, your call to action is best suited for A/B split testing and modification based on data.

The chances are you won’t stumble across the most effective call to action on your first try.  If you test your wording, offers, form fields, images, and color schemes, you’re likely to discover variations that improve conversion rates.

With the A/B split test, you run variations simultaneously so you can gather data during the same time frame with the same target audiences.  Most ad platforms are set up to manage these tests.

While images and colors may make minor differences, the main things you’ll want to test are your wording and the offer itself.  Often you’ll discover condensing your text so you’re as concise as possible yields positive results.

Changing a single word can have a major impact.  In a famous case study, a business found that using the word “spam” in their call to action form had adverse effects on conversions.  Taking it out and changing the word choice resulted in 19.47% increase in conversions. a/b split test

a/b split test 2

Work with your marketing executive to dial in your call to action.  It’s the focal point of your conversion strategy, so its effectiveness has a big impact on the overall success of your marketing.