Seven tips for creating compelling calls to action

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Date: 24 September 2021

A woman acts on a call to action

CTAs (Calls to action) are exactly what they say on the tin: they call the reader to take action. It's vital, then, that you sign off all of your content with a compelling CTA in order to move your prospects onto the next stage of your marketing funnel.

With this in mind, CTAs don't have to be fancy or overly wordy; they just need to give the reader a little nudge. Wordstream recently reported that emails with CTAs see clicks increase by 317%, showing just how valuable they can be for engaging consumers.

To help you create effective CTAs that will encourage your readers to take action after consuming your content, we've put together a list of seven tips that we've found to generate fantastic results.

1. Keep it short and sweet

Your CTA doesn't have to be longer than a few words; in fact, it’s often the case that the fewer words used, the more impactful. The best CTAs are striking; immediately grabbing the reader's attention and telling them what they need to do. So, for example, if you're offering a free trial, you don't want your CTA to be "why not book in with us now and speak to one of our specialists to sign up for a free trial". It should be something like "book your free trial". It’s short, punchy and authoritative; telling the reader exactly what to do next. 

2. Provide the reader with something they need

The majority of readers won't click a CTA unless it benefits them somehow. It's crucial that the CTA provokes a response that takes them onto the next stage of the buyer's journey. Using the free trial example again, if your content discusses the benefits of your service or product, your CTA should be a no-brainer for your readers. It should come across as something that seems completely logical to them. You want to make them think: "yes, of course, I want my free trial; why wouldn't I!"

3. Make your offer too good to miss

A good CTA should make the reader think that your offer is too good to miss. They should be inspired to take immediate action before the offer goes away. In order to do this, you should include time scales within your CTA, such as "buy today", "sign up now", "get while stocks last".

Deadlines and time restrictions inspire a sense of urgency in readers which drives action and, more importantly, conversions. However, you need to make sure it's realistic. It’s a fine line between something that's too good to miss, and too good to be true, so bear this in mind when creating your next CTA.

4. Speak to your audience

Your CTAs don't need to be written in the Queen's English; they only need to communicate a message that your readers will understand. Consumer research is your friend here. Once you understand the type of language your target audience will respond to best, use it. For example, if you're looking to promote holiday deals, you don't need to be overly formal; you could instead use more playful language that will encourage your readers to either book their next holiday or at least start thinking about options for their next trip.

5. Consider what devices your audience will be using

Consumer research will also tell you which devices your target audience uses. This will determine how you create your CTAs. If you know that your audience is primarily using desktop, you'll want to pay particular attention to how your CTA appears on desktop. However, following Google's most recent algorithm update - Core Web Vitals - you'll need to make sure that your CTAs look great on any device. You'll get the best possible results by considering how your CTAs will appear on all devices, but make sure you put additional focus where your target audience is.

6. Don't be too overbearing

Of course, you want your CTA to be noticed, but there is a fine line between bringing your CTA to your audience's attention and pushing it in their face. If your readers feel that you are too forceful, they're unlikely to click on your CTA and instead click off your page.

You want your users to notice your CTA and almost feel like they found it naturally. It should fit in with the flow of your webpage to make it feel accessible, but not intrusive. If your CTA is the first thing that your reader sees, you might come across too salesy, but making it more difficult to find will reduce your conversion rates.

7. Get creative

There is really only one rule when it comes to CTAs: "if it works, it works". That means you can get as creative as you like; so long as you're getting clicks, your CTA is doing its job.

Your consumer research will help shape your ideas, but it's also a good idea to run plenty of A/B testing so you can home in on the elements that work and that your audience responds to.

Conclusion

We hope this guide helps you to produce your next CTA. Remember that no matter how good or informative your content is, it has to be signed off with a CTA that encourages your audience to take action if you want to start generating conversions.

It's important to do plenty of research and testing when creating your CTAs. Don't be too discouraged if they don't work right off the bat. Sometimes it can be harder to produce a few words that convince someone to take action than to produce 1,000 words of technical copy. And remember, there are no wrong answers - what works; works!

Copyright 2021. Featured article by Larry Kotch, co-founder of The Brains, an award-winning digital marketing agency in London.

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