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Call to Action – What Is It?

Call to Action

One of the most important features of marketing texts is the presence of a Call To Action (CTA) – usually in the form of a link or a button. What is it actually, what is it for and how can it increase sales? How do you create a Call To Action and how do you make them effective? Read on to find out!

What Is a “Call to Action”?

“Check out the offer”, “sign up”, “buy now”, or even the “read on” – what do these phrases have in common? They can all be classified as calls to action. They are key elements of any advertising or promotional campaign. Currently, they are mainly associated with content presented on the Internet, but they have also been used for years in traditional advertising. Usually, a CTA is designed to direct the user to where you want him/her to be. On the web, it usually takes the form of a button or other active link that directs to the right tab, landing page or store. It seems unimportant, but in marketing efforts, CTAs can make a huge difference. That’s why it’s a must-have element of every campaign, website, or mailing advertisement.

Why Is the CTA so Important?

You may be wondering how does such a simple thing as a call to action bring results? Experience proves unequivocally that indicating to the user exactly what he/she should do raises chances for him/her to take an action. A CTA can be treated as a sign that shows exactly where to go and guides the customer along the purchase path. It is this element that often leads to conversion, which is one of the marketers’ favorite terms for achieving a specific goal (most often making a purchase, but also for example subscribing to a newsletter or making an inquiry).

Even if you think that your website is well-designed and there’s simply no chance to get lost in it, you should not give up on CTAs. They should appear at each stage of the customer path leading to conversion. Choose them carefully. For example, after adding a product to the cart you can encourage the user to place an order or continue shopping. The shopping cart itself should also contain clear signposts regarding the transition to subsequent stages of completion. Thanks to them you will avoid confusion and potential customers who, frustrated, will leave the page before making a conversion. It’s also a good idea to use CTAs to direct internet users to your website – for example, by placing them in social media posts or meta tags. If you haven’t used them so far, after changing your strategy you will definitely notice the difference!

Why use Call To Action? In short, because it pays off. What’s important, using calls to action does not have to be difficult. You just need to learn a few simple rules which will help you to skillfully create them and place them in the right places so that they bring the expected results.

Where to Use CTAs?

As mentioned, CTAs usually take the form of a button or a link. Use a call to action wherever you want to trigger a specific action. They most often appear on websites and in email campaigns. However, it is also worth using them in social media posts or in the meta description of a page. The goals of Call To Action can vary. These include:

  • getting acquainted with an offer or price list,
  • buying a product,
  • subscribing to a newsletter,
  • signing up for a course, webinar, etc,
  • downloading a file,
  • submitting an inquiry,
  • contacting a company,
  • filling out a form or survey, etc.

Don’t count that users – without a definite incentive – will understand the intentions of the creators of the site and meet their expectations. That is why we use Call to Action, which precisely indicates the direction of action and allow, as it were, to make an automatic decision. The power of the call to action is immense!

How to Create an Effective Call to Action?

Creating the call to action itself is not difficult. However, it is important to use CTAs wisely! What’s equally important, remember that not every text will always work the same way. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for effective calls to action. Content should always be tailored to your target audience. It’s also worth checking their performance, comparing them with other possibilities, to choose the best solution. In the beginning, however, it is good to know the principles of creating a Call To Action, which are above all effective. What are these rules?

Keep Your Message Simple

The best Calls to Action are very simple. However, some people tend to complicate it unnecessarily. The wording used as a call to action must be understandable and unambiguous – it should not create any doubt as to what it refers to. Therefore, the button which allows adding the product to the cart should be simply called “Add to cart”. You can then prompt the customer to “proceed to checkout” or “proceed to payment”. You could also use buttons that say “BUY” followed by “PAY” or “ORDER”. Extremely simple, yet clear – which is exactly what a CTA should be.

Be Specific

An enigmatic “move on” or “click” button may not look bad at first glance. Some may even find it intriguing. But usually this kind of CTAs are not effective enough. Increasingly, they also fail to inspire trust. It is best to inform the user at once what awaits him after clicking the button. That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid of phrases like “sign up” or “proceed to payment”. They are much clearer and lead to higher conversion rates.

Don’t Mention Complicated Tasks

Many users are reluctant to move on if they receive a message that suggests a task or tedious work to be done. An example would be the phrase “fill out a survey” – simple and clear, that’s for sure, but is it encouraging? Who wants to waste their precious time filling out some survey? Whereas “participate in a survey” sounds much more interesting. The same goes for the sometimes used “provide payment information” – it is associated with some difficult task. Meanwhile, “Pay” is not only simpler and shorter but also does not contain any suggestion that the work has to be done.

Taking care to make the purchase process as simple as possible is very important and can increase conversion. However, you should also not forget about CTAs, which can cancel out all the effort you put into building a simple and friendly website if used inappropriately.

Emphasize the Benefits

This point is somewhat related to the next one. Instead of emphasizing the difficulties that may await the user in the next step, remind him of the benefits! It is often a good idea to replace “Register” with “Try for Free”. Instead of “Sign up for the newsletter” you can again use the first person singular and say “yes, I want to know more about…” or “I want to receive information about promotions”.

What else is worth remembering? A call to action alone will not do the trick. It should also be accompanied by a text that encourages its execution. It’s worth mentioning benefits or guarantees. It is also best to create a need to take this step immediately. Sometimes it may be helpful to emphasize the success so far (e.g. “join thousands of satisfied customers”).

Not Just Content Matter – A Well Exposed Call To Action

A successful Call To Action must combine two aspects – the right content with the right form. Therefore, once you’ve decided what text should adorn a button or a link, consider how to make it visible so that it is not overlooked. In this case, you can also define a set of rules, but remember that each situation should be approached individually.

Visibility

Your carefully designed CTA may be of little use if it’s not visible enough. It’s unacceptable that the user has to scroll through the entire page to get to the button. This applies to websites as well as mailing campaigns. Ideally, the call to action should be at the top of the email so that it shows up to the user without scrolling. This is especially important in the case of emails because it’s estimated that 8 out of 10 recipients do not go deep into the content of marketing messages, reading them only up to the so-called fold line, which is the place visible without scrolling.

You should take care of visibility by also using color highlighting and by using an appropriately sized button. CTA should be in such a form that the user knows it is for clicking. Remember to use the first person singular – it often helps to increase conversions. There should be enough free space around the button to make it stand out.

One Offer – One CTA

Using different calls to action on one page or in one promotional email can only lead to unnecessary confusion. Your message should be clear so that the recipient doesn’t have to think about what to choose and what to click. If he can’t make a decision right away, he definitely won’t move on. Therefore, you should always use only one CTA. However, you can place them in different places on the page or in the email so that the potential customer does not have to waste time looking for the button. In most cases, this is even a recommended solution.

Don’t Make It too Long

Remember that CTA should be short and unambiguous. Calls-to-action consisting of just 2 – 4 words are the most common. If you have more content to share, place it above the button – the call to action should only be about what awaits the user after moving on. However, it’s usually better to avoid cliched and overly general phrases (like “check it out” or “click here”) that don’t say much.

Last but not least, there is nothing worse than a CTA that leads to an invalid or non-existent subpage. So always check your links before you launch a page or send out marketing messages.

Effective Call To Action – How to Check it?

To create effective calls to action, it’s a good idea to keep an open mind. Even if you think a call to action looks great and will be effective, in practice, it may turn out otherwise. Therefore, a good way is to prepare several variants of CTA and monitor their effectiveness. How to do it? One of the easiest ways is to check the Click Through Rate (CTR). It tells you how many of those who saw the offer decided to click on the link contained in it. So if out of 100 people who visited the page (or out of 100 emails sent), 5 click the link, the CTR will be 5%. Constant monitoring of this indicator can tell you a lot about both the choice of Call To Action and the design of the offer itself.

Our CTA looks like this:

It’s always worth paying attention to the conversion rate, i.e. how the visits on the website translate into finalizing transactions, i.e. making a purchase, signing up, contact, etc. Unsatisfactory results can sometimes lead to a loss of sales and can sometimes be the result of incorrectly chosen calls to action. Of course, a good CTA is useful not only for websites but also for mailing campaigns or Google Ads campaigns.

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Author of the article

It’s been 8 years since Maciej took his first steps in the world of marketing - especially the one related to content. So far, he has worked for politicians and the b2b and b2c industries. A fan of content marketing in the digital strategy and its influence on customer navigation and brand reputation. He is also interested in the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility and sees this topic as a springboard for the communication development of many businesses. Responsible for marketing in Verseo. In his free time Maciej reads reports from the world and scientific + sci-fi literature. :)
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