17Jan
By: Justas Markus January 17, 2017

What is a Call-To-Action (CTA)?

A call-to-action, or CTA, is a marketing term referring to a piece of content, such as an image, a button or a line of text, intended to prompt users to perform a specific action. It typically takes the form of an instruction or directive using action verbs (“buy”, “sign up”, “register”, “follow”, etc.) and leading the consumer to the next step of a sales funnel or process.

Calls to action are most commonly used in sales and marketing to solicit the desired action from leads and customers. For example, a CTA can be used to grow your email list (“Sign up to our newsletter”), promote a special offer (“Claim your voucher code”) or a piece of content (“Download our new eBook”).   

Why is a CTA important?

Strategic calls-to-action (CTAs) can help you guide your visitors through the buying journey and directly impact your conversion rates. A really effective CTA will do wonders at drawing visitors’ attention, piquing their interest and eloquently guiding them through the signup process.

The human mind is so accustomed to how the online world works that they expect to see a call-to-action in a prominent position on your site or a landing page. That, however, doesn’t mean they’re prepared to follow your instruction and convert. Crafting effective CTAs is an art in itself, but can be mastered if you follow the proven techniques.

A Checklist to Creating an Effective Call-To-Action

A tantalizing CTA is a sum of various different elements. To get it right, you need to take a step-by-step approach and ensure each and every one of them is working as it should be.

  • Attention-grabbing design. One thing you should remember about CTAs is that they need to stand out and make an impact. Don’t follow the standard design rules when you’re crafting a CTA button or image – it shouldn’t blend in with the rest of your page design. You can combine the elements that match your style, such as fonts and brand colors but make sure the final CTA really pops from the rest of the page. A highly contrasting design is key to an eye-catching call-to-action.
  • Action-focused copy. Finding the right balance between simple, clear instruction and enticing, jargon-free copy that utilizes action words like “download”, “register” or “start” can require quite a bit of iteration and creativity. Browse leading brand websites to see what kind of actionable copy they’re using and let your inner copywriter emerge.
  • A sense of urgency. Adding the element of urgency is one of the best ways to keep your visitors focused on the action you want them to take. Is it a limited offer? Is the promotion expiring soon? Only a few items left in stock? Let your customers know to prompt them to act now rather than put it off for later.
  • A clear promise. People hate being deceived or tricked into clicking onto something that has no value to them. Keep your CTAs informative and ensure the copy explicitly tells your customers what they should expect in exchange for their click. Will they be signed up to your newsletter or taken to a new page to complete the order? Focus on communicating the benefits of clicking on your CTA.
  • A logical path to conversion. Map out your path to conversion to ensure a smooth and logical flow that will make your CTAs more effective. It’s important to align your CTAs with specific stages in the sales cycle in order to make relevant offers. For example, you don’t want to be promoting a full-year premier delivery subscription to a new visitor because it’s too early in their buying journey. CTAs that focus on later-stage conversions can highly benefit from a dedicated landing page that keeps distractions to a minimum, in such way increasing the chances of conversions.