Some call to actions work. Some are so seamless, so beautiful, that we find ourselves clicking the button, adding our email address, doing whatever it was that it asked us to do. Others, well, our brain automatically writes off as junk and we don’t even see them.

We’re all familiar these days with the “click me” sentence or button at the bottom of just about all web content we consume. Some go so far as to suggest that readers actually expect it. It can be so familiar, in fact, that we don’t stop to think about it or analyse what works and what doesn’t, yet, as business owners, it’s certainly something worth taking very seriously, as small differences in your CTA on a page can make a big difference to a reader’s response.

A good Call To Action is one that makes people act.

What do you want people to DO when they go to your website?

  • Buy your product?
  • Sign up to your mailing list?
  • Contact you?

All of these are valid, and you may have different CTAs depending on which page they’re at on your site.

What do you have now? How can you tweak it to make it better?

Using a contrasting colour to the rest of the page is the best way for a CTA to stand out visually, but there are subtle tweaks in language that can make a big impact on whether people follow through with an action:

Make them an enticing offer.

An inbox full of promotional emails can be overwhelming, and people are often reluctant to sign up to mailing lists without a clear benefit. A great way around that is to offer free content to email subscribers, or a free e-book in exchange for signing up.

Scarcity is a powerful motivator, as is the offer of a discount. Create a sense of urgency to propel people into action. “Buy Now” is so familiar that it’s almost invisible, whereas “Add to Cart – Save 20% Today”, or “Buy Now—Offer Ends Soon” has more impact.

Play with power words and action words, and personalising.

Words like “Now”, “Today”, “Free” are great modifiers. Personalising things with “you” and “your” make a big difference also—“Download your free example today!” is so much more powerful than “download”.

Focus on the benefit.

Sometimes simple, clear and to-the-point is best, but other times you might find focusing on the result of an action is more of a hook than the action itself. Sure, the action you want them to take is “buy now” or “subscribe to our mailing list”, but your CTA might be more focused on the positives people will experience.

  • A call to action button for a not-for-profit might read “Save a dog’s life today”, or “Help a child in need now” rather than “Donate”.
  • Instead of a “Download e-book” button you could focus on the skills they’ll learn from reading it. “Upgrade your Memorisation Skills! Get your free e-book”.
  • Swap “Submit” for “Get Free Quote”, or “Contact us” for “Start your health journey today”.

Get creative! Find a way to test and track the results of your call to action tweaks and get familiar with what works and doesn’t work for your site and audience.