Clever call-to-action examples that guarantee clicks in 2020
Looking for a way to improve your marketing and get more engagement through your website? Explore ways to create a call to action and see examples to help you get started.
16 December 2019 · 7 min read
Knowing how to create and implement an effective call to action (CTA) is easier said than done. That’s why we’ve gathered call-to-action examples, statistics, and design principles in this article that you can use to create your first CTA or perfect your next one.
What is a call to action?
A call to action, or CTA, is a short phrase or paragraph that is meant to attract more customers and increase online sales. You likely see these all over the place, even if you’ve never realized it. Any kind of marketing that screams, “Act now!” is probably a call to action.
On the internet, CTAs most often take one of two forms. The first is as a button. This includes buttons with text like, “Watch now,” “Sign up today,” or “Join our mailing list.” They ask the audience for a click in exchange for a benefit.
The second form is as a hyperlink. This is that blue, underlined text you see everywhere. Hyperlinks tend to be more common in emails and SMS messages, though you can use buttons and hyperlinks interchangeably.
Although call-to-action messages are most often links and buttons, they can also be neither. In fact, you can have non-digital CTAs, like the ones you see in most commercials or around your grocery store. Getting someone to click is one goal of a call to action, but not always the primary goal.
Why a call to action matters
It’s easy to look at a call to action as a simple, small gimmick in your marketing campaign. Just a little “Click here” message to try and get more traffic. With this thought process, not only do you end up jeopardizing the potential of your call to action, but also your entire marketing campaign.
CTAs are the gateway to the rest of your marketing campaign, often to the rest of your service. The “Buy now,” “Watch today,” and “Sign up” buttons are the first steps people make into your business. If they aren’t convincing, then people won’t take those first steps.
Writing a call to action
To inspire people to make those first few steps, you’ll need to come up with smart, carefully crafted CTAs. The better your call to action is designed, the more successful it will be. To help you out, here are some of the best practices to use when writing a call to action.
Keep it short
First and foremost, keep your CTAs short! The longer a call to action is, the less precise your message will be. If it’s long enough, audiences might not even realize it is a call to action — it may seem like another paragraph on your website.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to keep your CTAs down to one sentence or just a few words. They can be a few sentences long, especially if they’re closing off an email or blog post.
The main thing you want to avoid in a call to action is becoming long-winded. Remember the goal of your CTA, the message you want to get across, and convey it in terms that are as concise as possible.
Next, you’re going to want to make sure that your call to action inspires excitement. If your audience isn’t enthusiastic about what you’re offering, then they’re not going to be interested in clicking that shiny red button.
One of the best ways to create excitement is to use action words. Some common examples of action words include “Buy”, “Shop”, “Start”, “Now”, “Watch”, “Subscribe”, “Download”, “Sign up”, “Fill out”, and “Order”. These words (also known as “verbs”) build excitement and tell your audience how you want them to act.
This gives your CTA focus, bringing the entire message together in just one or two words. You may find it helpful to write out your action word(s) first, then build the rest of your call to action around that.
For more tips on creating the perfect call to action, keep reading.
See what we did there?
Motivate your audience
Next you’ll want to motivate your audience to go along with your call to action. This is the “why” behind your CTA. If your audience doesn’t have a reason to click your call to action, then they’re probably not going to.
The easiest way to motivate your audience is to offer them something in return. This includes things like providing free trials, exclusive offers, and so on. Oftentimes, this type of motivation is a unique selling point. What can your audience get by clicking your button that they can’t get anywhere else?
For a more psychological approach, you can implement FOMO, or fear of missing out. FOMO is the idea that you are offering something that the audience doesn’t want to miss out on. Limited time offers are a great way to implement FOMO and motivate your audience.
Where to use a call to action
There isn’t a definitive answer when it comes to where you should implement a call to action. Generally, wherever it feels most natural is likely best. You could even apply a CTA more than once in the same piece of content, like at the beginning and end of a blog article.
If you are going to add a call to action multiple times in the same piece, make sure that it’s implemented in a way that doesn’t come across as forceful. You don’t want to bombard your audience with CTAs and popups at every turn. This will more than likely have the opposite effect you’re looking for.
Blogs make a great place to incorporate CTAs naturally. You can include them at the end of an article for a soft sell, or add them to the beginning of a blog post to get readers interested in what you have to say. CTAs also go great on the front page of your website, on your sidebar, on your social media, and in your emails.
5 call-to-action examples for 2020
This is one of the most popular call-to-action examples of all time, and for good reason. It incorporates several of the factors that make a successful call to action. Let’s start with that first word: Save. As we touched on before, this is an action word, and one of the most engaging ones at that. Immediately, it tells people what they can receive by participating in your CTA.
Next up is 50%. Similar to the word Save, this tells your audience what they can get from your call to action, which is precisely the kind of information they want to know before signing up for anything.
More than that, though, 50% plays to people’s inherent love of numbers in marketing. Unlike vague marketing phrases and slogans, numbers have concrete meaning behind them that people can instantly understand. That makes these types of CTAs particularly potent.
“Try 30 days free.”
Again, you’ll see that this call-to-action example starts with an action word. All of the call-to-action examples in this article begin with a verb. That should tell you something about the importance of action words.
This CTA is a bit more subtle in a few ways. First, “try” is a less forceful action word than “save.” It presents the call to action as an option rather than a command. And second, there’s no pressure on your audience to spend anything. All you’re asking is for your audience to give your service a shot.
If you want to make this call to action a little more engaging, you can combine it with some kind of exclusivity, like labeling it as a limited time offer. Offering a free trial to members of your mailing list or new site visitors is a great way to get your audience engaged with your service quickly.
“See why hundreds have already made the switch!”
In this example, we see yet another way that incorporating numbers into a call to action can improve its effectiveness. Advertising that hundreds/thousands/billions of people are using your service helps to give it legitimacy. If so many people choose to use it, then it must be good!
On top of establishing trust and credibility, this call-to-action example also uses FOMO. When you say that hundreds of people are using your service, you imply that the audience is missing out by not being one of those hundreds. Everyone else is benefiting from your service while the reader is only reading about it.
A great complement to this call to action is a list of unique benefits that your service provides. Rather than leading into this CTA with a paragraph, simply list out the pros of using your service that the competition doesn’t have, and then compel your audience to give it a try.
“Tired of using a widget workflow that sucks?”
Using a call to action like this one is a great way to catch your reader’s eyes. Slang words like “suck” aren’t used by businesses often, which make them a great way to add humor to your website and bring attention to your CTA.
If you are going to use this technique in your call to action, just be sure that it’s done in the right context. It needs to match the personality of your business and play to your audience. If you’re not sure who your audience is or what kind of personality your business is trying to portray, this could easily backfire and seem unprofessional.
The other tool that this call-to-action example is using is pain points. Rather than telling someone to do something, it’s asking them if they’ve experienced something annoying or frustrating. The inherent promise of this kind of statement is that your service can alleviate their stresses, inspiring them to act.
“Grade my performance for free.”
The last of our call-to-action examples involves an interesting twist on the idea of a CTA. Rather than asking your audience to act, you’re allowing them to ask you to act. Strangely, this makes engaging with your CTA less confrontational, removing the pressure and commitment.
Additionally, this gives your audience a taste of what your service has to offer. You’re giving them a free sample, which establishes that your business has something of value to provide them with.
Just make sure that whatever you’re offering through this kind of call to action is relevant to your service as a whole. For example, if you’re a financial institution, you might offer a free budget calculator. This doesn’t replace or give away what you’re offering; it only acts as a sample of the rest of the services you have to offer.
CTA statistics that you can use in your business
Now that we’ve covered some call-to-action examples to get your creativity going, here are some statistics that you can apply to not only the way you create CTAs, but also how you implement them. These stats are all backed by studies from some of the leading marketers on the internet.
Personalizing your call to action generates 202% more conversions
Personalization has been one of the keys to business growth on the internet for the latter half of the last decade. What do we mean by personalization? When you order a product from Amazon, that product was selected for you by an algorithm based on data Amazon has about you. Google applies similar strategies when curating your search results, as does YouTube and every social media platform.
But personalization isn’t only limited to recommendations and curation. You can use it in several different areas of your website to increase your engagement, including CTAs. In a 2018 study by HubSpot, one of the internet’s most effective marketers, they found that incorporating personalization into a call to action increased their conversion rate by 202% — an insane improvement, to put it lightly.
What kind of personalization did HubSpot use? The most obvious route to take when personalizing a CTA is to pull data from a user like their name or location and create a call to action that reads, “Hey John, click here to learn more about our Denver location”. While this is personalized, it’s going in a direction that’s a bit creepier than you want to aim for.
Instead, use factors like a visitor’s position on your customer journey to predict what kind of service they might be interested in. “Click here for a free trial at our online academy,” and “Click here for a free trial of our email service add-on,” can be used interchangeably depending on the visitor’s relationship to your brand.
A clean, easy to spot CTA can generate up to 232% more conversions
An effective landing page has a couple of things working to its advantage that quickly become apparent once you start looking for them. They tend to have very little, but extremely compelling text, only a few visible colors, and an obvious call-to-action statement, form, or button.
What they don’t have is a plethora of ads in the sidebar, walls of text, links to blog posts, other products, or an About Us page, unnecessary images, and other forms of digital junk. While this kind of clutter may fly on a homepage, it is incredibly detrimental to the goal of a CTA.
The reason for this is pretty simple: When there are distractions surrounding your CTA, the visitor is going to have a hard time finding the CTA in the first place, let alone being compelled by it. Open Mile found that making the CTA the clear focus of a page led to 232% more conversions than a page that buries your CTA in chaos.
Combining a call to action with anchor text can create 121% more engagement
For those that don’t know, anchor text is the text that a hyperlink is attached to. In this call to action, Check out the Resource Center at B12!, “Resource Center” is the anchor text for the hyperlink. This is a simple example of a call to action being connected to text rather than a button or an image.
At first glance, this may seem less effective than a traditional CTA button. It’s not bringing too much attention to itself and risks blending in with the rest of the text on a webpage. However, research has shown that hyperlinks are far more effective at catching attention than they may at first seem.
Research by HubSpot found that switching their CTAs to anchor text led to a 121% increase in CTA conversions. Additionally, they found that at least 47% of their leads came exclusively from anchor text. Knowing this, you can not only increase your conversions by making more of your CTAs into hyperlinks, but you can also use hyperlinking in more strategic ways. For example, you can increase the number of internal links your webpages have (links that link to other areas of your site) to increase visitor engagement and boost your SEO.
Phone calls are 3x more effective than clicks
In the age of digital, phone calls may seem like a thing of the past. More and more companies are moving their customer service to chat-based systems, and consumers are becoming less comfortable with over-the-phone communication as time goes on. But that doesn’t mean that phone calls don’t have any place in your business.
In 2019, WordStream found that combining phone calls with CTAs led to 3x more conversions than CTAs asking for clicks from website visitors. There are a few possible reasons behind this that will more than likely make sense to most marketers.
First, people are doing more internet browsing from mobile devices than ever before, with mobile browsing now surpassing desktop browsing. This means that when someone is visiting your website, they are most likely doing so with a device that they can call you from.
Second, there is a certain degree of personability and engagement that you simply don’t get when someone is browsing through your website. You can quickly tailor the phone call to their specific needs, talk with them casually, and market to them directly rather than hoping they connect with your copy.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to combine a call to action with a phone number, asking someone to send you a call rather than click a link.
A call to action is 17% more effective at the end of a page than the beginning
QuickSprout, founded by one of the leading marketers on the internet, Neil Patel, found that placing a call to action at the end of a webpage rather than the beginning made the CTA 17% more effective for garnering conversions than at the beginning of a webpage. At first glance, this may seem like a less impressive percentage or exciting stat than some of the others mentioned, but it offers a few important lessons that can help you improve your CTA effectiveness.
The question you should be asking yourself is why is a call to action more effective at the end of a webpage? After surveying some of the participants in the Neil Patel study, QuickSprout found that the audience enjoyed reading and learning more about the site before being faced with a call to action.
And this makes sense upon reflection. If someone doesn’t know anything about you, your business, or your service, how can they make a decision to purchase a product or sign up for a newsletter? It may seem like you should be trying to place a CTA at the forefront of a reader’s attention, but the truth is that providing context will improve the chances of you gaining that valuable click.
You can apply this lesson in a few different ways. In a blog, the simplest way to take advantage of this is to simply add your CTA at the end of a post rather than the beginning. On a welcome page or landing page, you can add bullet points and blurbs before a call to action so that the CTA isn’t the first thing they see. Before asking your audience to give you a click, give them a reason to click.
How your website layout and formatting affects a call to action
How you craft your call to action is only half the battle when it comes to keeping a consumer’s attention. Once you’ve created your call to action, you’ll need to think about how it will actually appear on your website. This includes the font, location, and imagery of the CTA itself as well as the webpage surrounding.
Below we’ve gathered some of the most important elements of web design and explained them from a CTA perspective.
Using whitespace to your advantage
Whitespace is a simple term in web design that refers to the blank space on a webpage. It isn’t necessarily white, per se, but any color that fills up the majority of the background on any particular webpage. Google’s homepage, for example, uses lots of literal whitespace around the search bar.
Though there is a lot that goes into the psychology of whitespace, its most important purpose is the direction of attention. Unlike a cluttered webpage, which tends to have a hard time pulling the audience’s attention in any specific direction, a page with lots of whitespace has just a few items for the reader to focus on. When used in conjunction with a call to action, it becomes immediately clear what you want your audience to do.
Whitespace also helps to create contrast between the different elements of a webpage. It separates the background components of a page (like the menu bar or navigation links at the bottom of the page) from the foreground components, like ad copy or a CTA. By freeing your visitors from distractions and fading other content into the background, you can be sure that audiences will be drawn in the right direction.
Understanding Fitts’s Law
Fitts’s Law is a principle established by Paul Fitts in 1954 that is seemingly decades ahead of its time. There are a few key rules to the principle that today we might take for granted, but that are still important to keep in mind when looking at web design.
The basic premise of Fitts’s Law is that interactive elements in design are similar to aiming at a target. The smaller the target it is, the harder it’s going to be to find it. This of course makes sense when thinking about a webpage; there’s nothing stopping you from creating thousands of tiny webpage buttons and scattering them all over your website. However, this would clearly be incredibly frustrating web design.
The second basic rule of Fitts’s Law is that the longer the distance between an interactive element and the point where a person decides to interact with that element, the harder it will be for them to find that element. Or in simpler terms, if someone is at the bottom of a page and decides to click a button that is located at the top of that page, it will be more difficult for them to find that button, leading to less effective design. Being able to predict when and where people will decide to interact with certain elements is key.
There’s a bit more math involved, but that’s the underlying concept of Fitts’s Law. Applying this to a call to action, two things become clear: First, your CTA should be easy to find no matter what device a person is using. And second, your CTA should be located at the point on a webpage where someone is most likely to want to interact with it. Think carefully about how a person is likely to move through your website and place your CTAs accordingly.
Take your marketing to the next level with these call-to-action examples
At this point, you should see CTAs everywhere, and that’s because they are everywhere! They’re a simple and proven way to get your audience engaged with your service. For more ways to improve your website’s performance, check out the rest of our Resource Center.