Calls-to-action are one of the most essential elements in any marketing strategy.
After all, what’s the point of your marketing efforts if the customer doesn’t do what you need them to do, whether that’s visit a product page, head to checkout, download an ebook, or fill in a contact form?
Click to learn more, add to cart, or subscribe now are all CTAs. They appear everywhere from landing pages to blog articles to emails and are about getting the customer to do something.
CTAs have a direct impact on conversions, ushering customers down the sales funnel.
Despite this, 70% of small businesses lack a call-to-action on their website. This is a big mistake. How can you reach your business goals if you’re not encouraging customers to take the action needed to make those targets achievable? How can you expect sales to increase if you’re not convincing clients to engage, subscribe, or buy?
And a high-converting CTA is not just a button that says Buy today or Download now. The best CTAs are irresistible—like the tastiest snack in the fridge. Customers can’t help but click.
Too many companies rely on CTAs that are boring, pushy, or just plain ineffective. You need creative calls-to-action that speak directly to customers, showing them what’s in it for them, anticipating their objections, and making the choice to click a no-brainer.
15 Tips for Ultra-Clickable and High-Converting CTAs
1. Decide On Your Goal
The first step in crafting a successful CTA is to determine exactly what you want it to achieve.
Is your CTA simply a means to get customers to buy? Or maybe you want to increase your email newsletter subscriptions? Or do you want to encourage engagement with other content?
Whatever your goal, create your message based on these objectives.
If you’re trying to generate leads, craft a CTA along the lines of Download Now for a case study or whitepaper that you want to promote. Meanwhile, a CTA that says something like Contact Us Now is more appropriate for building relationships with clients.
2. Use Strong Verbs
These verbs typically take the form of an imperative—kind of like an order.
Buy, shop, click, order, reserve, get started, sign up, refer, download, grab, claim are all words that emphatically encourage you to take action.
But these words can also sometimes appear too forceful. So, you might want to opt for a softer verb that disguises the intent to sell very slightly. For example, Take advantage of our half-price sale.
Or Learn more or Discover. In these cases, it’s clear that there’s something in it for the customer. Similarly, Join our community is gentle and welcoming.
You can also make subtle swaps that make your CTA less pushy and more persuasive. For example, changing buy to get moves the emphasis from the monetary transaction to the idea of rewards and satisfaction for the customer.
3. Include Extra Details
The next step is to make your CTA more specific. No one wants to be the target of some generic sales pitch. So, make it appear relevant and meaningful to that exact situation.
What exactly will happen if they click this button? Will they save money? Make it specific. For example, Get yours today and save 50%.
Or make it even more concrete with further details, getting them to imagine what life looks like on the other side of the CTA, such as Join us in the green revolution by choosing sustainable flooring. Enjoy knowing you’re playing your part.
Personalizing your CTAs is also a great way to boost their performance. In fact, HubSpot found that personalized calls to action perform 202% better than basic CTAs.
So, try to tailor your CTA to an individual user, whether that’s adapting it to their location, browser language, or where they are in the buyer journey.
4. Add Social Proof
Humans are social creatures. We look to others for reassurance on our decisions and guidance on what to do next. Take advantage of this by placing social proof next to your CTA.
This means a recommendation or endorsement by either an industry influencer, expert, or other customers. People trust other people more than they trust businesses so explicitly show them that they’ll be in good company if they click your CTA.
For example, See Why Mary Berry loves our silicone cake moulds.
Or include a quote directly from a review. For example, “I was amazed by the range of carpets on offer and all at a reasonable price too” followed by the CTA Check out our selection for yourself.
Social proof can also take the form of a running tally of the number of people who’ve joined an email list next to a CTA encouraging readers to sign up. Or an icon showing the number of followers a company has on Facebook followed by a CTA persuading them to do the same.
Even better if you can use social proof to tap into a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). For example, 5,000 people have already taken advantage of our free whitepaper. What could it teach you?
5. Turn Your CTA into a Question
As you might have seen from some of the examples so far, turning your CTA into a question can be incredibly powerful. Especially if it’s a ‘yes’ question that readers will likely agree with.
For example, Would you like to make an extra $5k each year with minimum effort? Of course, this is a little too sales-y but the point remains the same. Get your readers to agree with you. Then they’ll be more likely to click your CTA and convert.
One tactic is to phrase the question so it seems like the reader is doing you a favour rather than the other way round. This makes them feel good about themselves and creates a positive mood.
For example, Would you mind if we showed you our product in action? Or May we follow up with a couple of interesting case studies?
These questions are very polite and not at all in-your-face which customers will appreciate.
You could also remind your customer of how they’re suffering and how your product or service can solve these issues. For example, Fed up with your hard work going unnoticed? This is an easy way to get readers on your side immediately.
6. Remind Visitors of the Benefits
Even if you’ve already listed all the advantages of your service or product elsewhere on the page, it doesn’t hurt to summarize them again concisely near your CTA. This could simply be a short bullet-point list where you highlight what’s in it for them.
As we’ve said, if you can use numbers and be specific about the benefits of following through on the CTA, then customers will feel less like they’re seeing a generic sales message. For example, Save over $300 on your air conditioning unit.
In particular, you want to emphasize those benefits that are instant. For example, Get access to insider secrets within seconds. Or Enjoy 10% off immediately.
7. Address Their Objections
You’re not a door-to-door salesperson so you haven’t got the opportunity to allay any customer fears face-to-face. Instead, you have to pre-emptively deal with their objections remotely.
Therefore, you want to combine your CTA with reassuring promises that are guaranteed to alleviate any concerns your customer has.
In the vast majority of cases, customers will be concerned about signing up to something they can’t escape from. So, phrases like no obligation or cancel anytime are always effective.
Or you could go for something like Worried it’s not right? We have a full refund, no questions asked policy.
Reduce their perception of the risks attached to taking action. You can even use the exact words risk-free.
8. Create a Sense of Urgency
Creating a sense of scarcity and the need for customers to act fast is a classic sales technique and highly persuasive. We don’t want to get left behind or left out. And so, if we sense we need to move quickly, we’re less likely to delay our decision.
Simple everyday words like today and right now are common enough to fly under your customer’s radar but still be picked up by their subconscious, making them think that they’d better move fast.
You could take this even further with a countdown clock or ticking timer on a pop-up CTA.
But you don’t want to create a sense of panic. Your audience doesn’t want to feel pressured or rushed. Simply make sure that they realize it’s time sensitive. Let them know that the sale isn’t going to last forever or that the deal is only available for the first 100 people to sign up, for example.
9. Instill Curiosity
Pique your audience’s interest by alluding to what they might get if they click on your CTA, but don’t give it all away. Suggest what’s waiting on the other page but don’t give them every detail, therefore inspiring curiosity.
Curiosity is a powerful emotion and we make a lot of our decisions based more on emotion rather than logic. So, consider your CTA like a cliff-hanger. Leave your readers wanting to know more and to find out what happens next.
You can also instil curiosity about you and your brand by saying something in your CTA that’s unexpected or unconventional.
For example, We could go on and on about how powerful this product is. But would you believe us? Better to see it with your own eyes…
Or what about something like:
Want basic and budget-friendly hiking boots for your trip this summer? You’re better off elsewhere.
But if you want boots guaranteed to last a lifetime and that can summit epic mountain peaks as well as traverse boggy terrain, then we’re the ones for you.
Similarly, the simple phrase What’s next? is very elusive and puts the power in the customer’s hands.
What do they want to do next? Sign up to your newsletter? Speak to an advisor? It’s up to them.
10. Use Trigger Words
Trigger words are like power words. They’re charged with emotion and more likely to get a customer to act. For example:
- Words that suggest good value and savings, like bargain, bonus, or free.
- The word you because it connects directly with the customer.
- The word me because it closes the gap between you and the customer. For example, Sign me up now.
- The word let’s because it creates a sense of unity and teamwork. For example, Let’s work together for B2B companies.
- Words that create an aspirational vibe such as dream or
- Words that suggest novelty, such as new, original, or cutting-edge.
- Words that suggest scarcity, such as limited supply.
- Words that suggest urgency, such as instantly, now, hurry, last chance, or
- The word join, because it creates a sense of belonging and togetherness.
- The simple phrase Yes, please, because it creates a positive mood and a sense of affirmation and agreement.
11. Keep it Simple
You want your CTA to be simple enough that it’s obvious what the customer needs to do or what you’re trying to tell them. The danger of trying to be too quirky or clever is that you’ll just confuse people. This will increase your bounce rate and abandonments.
So, make sure there’s no ambiguity about what your CTA is getting people to do. And Hubspot also recommends keeping your CTA to between 90 and 150 characters.
That said, your CTA can still be more implied than explicit. For example, We’ve got a whole range of eco-friendly toiletries for you to browse. When will you stop by?
This CTA is less obviously transactional, shifting away from the buyer-seller dynamic and making the customer feel more in control.
A gym website, for example, might swap the CTA Sign up now to Move your way to health and happiness. It’s more elusive but it’s still clear what’s being asked of the customer.
Similarly, Give our app a try doesn’t feel like it requires much commitment. This will appeal to visitors more than Get your trial now.
12. Make it Easy for Them
Customers stumble at the simplest and smallest roadblocks or obstacles, whether that’s a form that’s too complicated or a CTA button that’s too small for them to see on mobile.
Eliminate any friction in their journey. Want your user to share your content on social media? Position social media icons right there so they can do it without leaving the page. Need them to leave their contact details? Keep the form as minimal as possible.
13. Have More Than One Call-to-Action
Who says you only get to try your CTA once? This only increases the chance that your reader is going to scroll straight past it.
And you can also have more than one CTA on your website too. It doesn’t just need to be about sales. Instead, come up with other additional offers. Why not offer to send them case studies, social proof, or a whitepaper, for example?
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. As well as a Buy Now CTA you could have a Find out more CTA with a link to a FAQ page. Or perhaps a Be the first to hear about new deals CTA, encouraging your audience to sign up to your newsletter, generating leads.
A successful CTA is not just about words. It needs to look good too.
Use visuals to bolster your message, accompanying your CTA with photos, graphics, or doodles. Choose contrasting or complementary colours that will catch your visitor’s eye. One study by CopyBlogger found that CTAs that looked like buttons created a 45% boost in clicks.
You also want to remove any distractions from around your CTA. A case study by VWO found that when start-up Open Mile reduced clutter around their CTA and placed it over whitespace in the centre of the page, they saw a 232% increase in leads.
The size of your CTA is also important. If it’s too small, it may be missed. But if it’s too big, it will seem too obvious, pushy, and desperate. You don’t want it to overshadow the rest of your content.
15. Evaluate the Success of Your CTAs
After you’ve experimented with different kinds of CTAs, you want to know which ones are working best. Then you can A/B test them and determine the best CTA formula for your particular product, service, or client.
As well as using sales and conversion analytics to see if your CTAs are working, use heatmaps to work out whether your CTAs are actually catching people’s attention.
Heatmaps are the best way to evaluate CTA success. These graphical representations of user behaviour use hot colours to indicate the most popular elements on your page and colder colours to symbolize the less popular elements. They show how users interact with your page—where they click, what they look at, and what they don’t look at.
Scrollmaps, a type of heatmap, are particularly insightful when it comes to CTAs, as they give a visual indication of how far users scroll down your page. This will show whether they’re even seeing your CTAs or not.
CTAs: The Final Step on the Journey
These are some of the many proven strategies you can try to get your CTAs to perform better, from creating a sense of urgency and scarcity to being elusive and ambiguous, as well as optimizing the visual appearance of your CTA and employing powerful trigger words.
But, of course, the success of your CTA will also depend on the success of the rest of your marketing initiative. Have you established trust with your customers and convinced them of your value? Then you’re already halfway to getting them to click.