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Call To Action (CTA)


CALL TO ACTION writing in speech bubble with megaphone (© ionut / Fotolia.com)

CALL TO ACTION writing in speech bubble with megaphone (© ionut / Fotolia.com)

A statement that is intended to garner an immediate response from the person who reads or hears it, a call to action is an integral part of marketing strategy. The goal of a call to action is to encourage a target audience to respond by taking an action. In this article, we will further investigate the call to action, discuss its purpose, and provide examples of calls to action.

A call to action also known as CTA) is a prompt that is used in content that urges a reader, listener or viewer to take some type of action. Typically, a call to action is written as a command. For example, “Sign Up, “Click Here” and “Buy Now” are terms that are often used in a call to action. When used on the Internet, such as on a website’s homepage, a landing page, or a blog post, a hyperlink is embedded in a call to action. Once the person clicks on the action, the hyperlink re-directs the individual to another location where the desired action can be completed. For example, a call to action might lead a person to a shopping cart or a booking page.

What is Call to Action Important?

A call to action is a vital tool in public relations. It serves as a signpost and lets a user know what he or she should do next. Without a clear call to action, the  person might not know what he is supposed to do next in order to make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, or whatever else it is that you would like them to do. If the person doesn’t know what to do, there’s a good chance that he or she will leave without completing the task you want them to.

In other words, a call to action clarifies to the audience what action they should take, and the steps that they should be taking in order to take those steps. A call to action also helps to reduce friction and confusion when moving a person through the sales funnel.

Where are Calls to Action Used?

A call to action is most commonly used in sales. It is used to tell a potential customer what he or she should do next in order to purchase a product or service. The sales process isn’t the only a call to action can be helpful. For example, a call to action can be used for the following purposes:

  • To increase your following on social media
  • To build an email list
  • To keep readers on your site
  • To call to schedule an estimate

And so much more!

Statistic: Which of the following have you ever done in an online comments section with malicious intent towards a stranger? | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Phrases Commonly Used in Calls to Action

Since the point of a call to action is to encourage people to take some type of action, the phrases used in them are action verbs. Some examples of phrases that are commonly used in calls to action include:

  • Call
  • Register
  • Sign up
  • Buy
  • Order
  • Click here
  • Donate
  • Subscribe
  • Share
  • Download
  • Follow

Other phrases can also be incorporated in a call to action that add a sense of urgency and encourage people to take immediate action for fear that they will miss out if they don’t. Examples of terms that that can increase the sense of urgency in a call to action include:

  • Limited time offer
  • Act now; supplies are limited
  • Offer expires on (insert date)
  • Respond before (insert date) to ensure a discounted rate
  • Supplies are limited
  • Won’t last long

How to Create a Call to Action

Business owners should never assume that their targeted audience will automatically know what to do. If you want to get better results, you are going to want to clearly state what it is that a prospect should do next.

Make sure that that all of your content  your home page, your landing pages, your blog posts, - and every piece of printed material or audio contains a very explicit and defined call to action.

Calls to action work the best when they are simple and straightforward. If it makes prospective customers and clients jump through hoops, or makes them confused in any way, the call to action won’t serve its intended purpose. While it is a good idea to include an option, such as “call us” or “email us, avoid giving them too many options or making them confused about what it is that you want them to do.

Lastly, you also want to make sure that you identify an end goal for each call to action. You should also include how one call to action will tie into other parts of your marketing plan or bring prospective clients into your sales funnel. For instance, your call to action may be “sing up for our email list to get a free (insert item)”. Signing up for your email list is your first goal. Once users join your email list, create sales letters that have a clear call to action that tells readers what they should do next; “buy now”, for example.

Here are some things to keep in mind when creating a call to action:

  • Clearly identify what it is that the customer has to do to respond (“Click Here,” “Buy Now”, “Subscribe Here”, for example)
  • State exactly what it is that the customer will gain by responding to the call to action (a coupon, a discount code, a free product, etc)
  • Highlight the benefits that your audience will reap when they take the intended action (“save money now” or “gain special access”, for example)
  • Provide a very compelling reason for the viewer to respond immediately or by the deadline (“sale ends in 24 hours” or “there are only (insert amount) left”)

When creating the call to action, make sure to highlight it. Write it in a larger font, in a different type of font than the rest of the text, write it in bold or italics, use a different color, or outline it. Making the call to action appear different than the rest of the content will draw attention to it and prevent it from being lost in the rest of the content.

Helpful Tips for Creating an Effective Call to Action

If you really want to ensure your call to action will yield the results that you are looking for, you want to put some real effort into creating one. While it doesn’t require a great deal of effort to develop an excellent call to action, you do want to put some time and energy into creating it.

Here are some tips that will help you create a great call to action that will get you the results that you are looking for.

  • Start with a strong command verb. You want your call to action to be clear and concise. You don’t have a ton of room to get your point across, and attention spans are short, so you want to make sure your call to action is as direct as possible. Let your audience know exactly what you want them to do right from the get-go. Here are some suggestions:
    • E-commerce website: start with words like, “shop”, “buy”, or “order”
    • Want someone to ask for more information? Use “fill out the form” or “learn how” at the start of your call to action
    • Promoting a white paper or newsletter? Start out with “subscribe” or “download”
  • Use words that provoke enthusiasm or emotion. When you are enthusiastic, your audience will be enthusiastic, which means that you will elicit a much stronger response from your call to action. For example, if you want someone to book a hotel room, you might start out with “book your dream vacation today!” Adding an exclamation point at the end will definitely inject enthusiasm into your CTA.
  • Use fear of missing out (FOMO) to your advantage. People to think that there is a chance that they could miss out on something. Make sure your CTA uses words that will highlight how your audience will miss out if they don’t take quick action. For example, “Sale ends (insert date)! Shop Now!” is a highly effective way to encourage people to take immediate action.
  •  Know what devices your CTAs will appear on. You should seriously consider customizing your call to action based on the devices that it will be viewed on the most by your audience. Take advantage of Google’s “set mobile preferences” options for your ads. That way, your audience will be able to see your call to action in the best layout for whatever device they are viewing it on.

Track Your Results

Last, but certainly not least, once you create a call to action, you want to make sure that you track your results. In fact, this is so important that it needs to be discussed in its own section. A standard A/B test is an excellent way to find out which calls to action are getting the most clicks, and which calls to action are big duds.

To conduct an A/B test, use the following formula:

Number of clicks / number of impressions

It’s a very simple formula and it will allow you to get a better idea of which CTAs are working for you and which ones you need to get rid of. It will also give you a better idea of how you can improve your calls to action for future endeavors so that you can get better results.


Press releases

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