Call to Action

Chapter 01: Call to Action

What Is a Call to Action?

Swipe up! Buy now! Click here!

What do all of these phrases have in common? They are all popular calls to action, a marketing term referring to copy and design that encourage consumers to act in a certain way.

Whether prompting customers to buy a product, watch a video, or read a book, calls to action exist in practically every marketing asset. From short speeches to pop-up boxes to petitions, calls to action occur in a wide range of diverse formats, but all work to generate audience activity and revenue.

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How Do Calls to Action Improve Conversion?

Like with all marketing tactics, you need a way to measure success. One of the most common metrics to track calls to action is conversion rate, the percentage of customers who actually did the thing you requested, like sign up for a free trial or read a blog post.

Here are three ways calls to action can improve conversion rates:

  1. Clear directives: Calls to action provide a clear, actionable step for customers to take. Rather than reading an email or landing page and thinking now what?, they know the next step in the process and can continue through the sales funnel.

  2. Brand awareness: While it may sound counterintuitive, even calls to action that don’t get clicked on can improve conversions in the long run. For example, if customers see your call to action on an ad, they instantly learn a lot about your company. From what you’re selling to your company’s brand and tone, each call to action helps build brand awareness and the relationships that encourage future conversions.

  3. Expedited customer journey: A strong call to action will bring your customer right to the site of conversion, whether it’s a landing page form or online checkout flow. Customers won’t have to poke around your website or scroll through a landing page. Instead, they are fast-tracked to the exact spot they are looking for.

Call to Action Examples

Calls to action can take many forms, like short, clever puns or more elaborate, thoughtful phrases.

Here are three call-to-action examples across different mediums:

  1. Print: A series of print advertisements for the specialty pet food company, Pedigree, have a clear call to action that, while not self-promotional, builds brand awareness and trust. In one of the ads, Pedigree writes that “A dog makes your life happier” and follows with the call to action, “Adopt.” This single word establishes Pedigree’s place as a leader in the pet care industry and directly connects to their target audience.

  2. Email: A more traditional take on the call to action, popular clothing store, ModCloth, uses “Shop Now” in the hero image of their emails. ModCloth could have tried a more witty, unique call to action, but instead chose a simple, concise phrase that speaks directly to what they do: offer great deals.

  3. Website: Popular list and task management app, Evernote, features a “Sign up for free” call to action as soon as you land on the homepage. This wording speaks directly to potential customers, who want to try a new app for free before investing money.

Call to Action in Writing

Well-written calls to action are much more successful than copy that is put together as an afterthought. And, while calls to action are usually five words or less, they can be difficult to write.

Here are three tips to writing a successful call to action that gets clicks:

  1. Keep it short: The shorter, the better. Don’t try to pack too much in your call to action. Focus on the one thing you want your customers to do and make that as clear as possible.

  2. Make it stand out: When possible, be sure to separate your call to action from other copy elements of your piece, like the headline. You could use different colors, font size, or a button.

  3. Create an action: Use the active voice when writing your call to action and be sure to create an actual task that your customers can perform.

Need more inspiration? Check out our list of 75 calls to actions for you to use in your marketing campaigns.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be afraid to test different calls to action to find out what works best for your business and customers. A/B testing your emails is an easy way to compare two different calls to action, like “Buy now” versus “Start shopping.” By testing your calls to action, you can continue to try new, creative wording and iterate as you get more data. Over time, you’ll be able to write more powerful calls to action that can lead to real business results.