In marketing, the call to action is one of the biggest keys to making a sale but also one of the most challenging things to perfect.
If you’re too pushy, you might scare someone off. If you’re not pushy enough, you might miss your chance to complete your task.
What is a Call to Action?
In digital marketing, a Call to Action, often called your CTA, is a word or phrase that prompts someone to take a specific action.
For example, “Join our mailing list,” or “Book an appointment,” or “Donate now.” These are all calls to action.
You are telling the person what you want them to do.
Why CTA is Important
The call to action is vital because you outline the user’s next steps.
Usually, the CTA comes at the end of your marketing material. You have laid out your case for why your service or product is necessary; now, you need to prompt your reader to take the next step.
If you don’t have a CTA, your reader may be at a loss, and all that work beforehand is wasted.
The CTA is necessary to make the reader act on the new information they have received in the way you want them to act.
Know Your Ask
Before you craft your CTA, you need to know your end goal. What do you want the reader to do?
A call to action is only effective if you clearly understand what you want.
Your wants are going to vary by platform. What you ask for on your web page will likely be different than what you would ask for through a social media account.
CTA with Social Media
For example, with social media, your goal may be to get new followers for your social media account. Or, it might be to drive visitors to a landing page.
Perhaps your goal is interaction and engagement on your social media page.
Your call to action would reflect these goals.
How to Write a Call to Action
Once you know what you want, you can begin to craft your ask.
Use Strong Verbs
A good CTA includes strong action words.
These words are clear and concise. Words like “Join” or “Buy” or “Click.” You are telling the reader what you want them to do.
The call to action must also create an emotion. Often, this is a sense of urgency. “Buy now before time runs out.” Or “Space is limited, so join now.”
Use emotion to make your CTA more impactful.
Provide a Benefit
While the first two items—strong verbs and emotion—will do most of the work in your call to action, the benefit will put you over the top.
This is the “what’s in it for them” piece of the puzzle.
If they act now, they receive a discount. If they subscribe now, they receive a free copy of your ebook. You are offering a unique benefit to them if they act on the call to action.
Finally, whenever possible, be creative. Not only will creativity make your call to action memorable, but it will likely inspire more people to act. You are making your request stand out.
Just be careful. You never want your creativity to overshadow the ask.
How Long is a Call to Action?
The CTA is direct and to the point. It is a short sentence with clear directions.
According to Optimizely, sometimes a call to action isn’t even a sentence.
“A good call to action should be a short phrase, not a sentence. Most are no longer than five to seven words.”
Call to Action to Book an Appointment Examples
Putting all of this into action, here are a few examples.
For some businesses, the ultimate call to action is the chance to meet with a potential client.
A typical call to action in these cases includes “Book Your Free Assessment” or “Save Time By Scheduling Online.”
Not only do these calls to action offer a very specific ask, but they also provide a benefit to the customer. In one case, a person is offered something for free. In the other case, the person is saving time by booking online.
CTA to Buy Examples
A call to action that asks someone to buy something will have a similar format to the book an appointment call to action, though the wording will be different.
In many of these instances, you will play up the benefit to the buyer.
Examples include “Buy now and receive free shipping” and “Buy now to receive 50% off your purchase.”
Wording like “Claim my exclusive offer” and “Be the first to know about offers and benefits” makes the person feel like they are part of an elite group.
While sometimes, the CTA is about instant gratification, such as, “Try it now.”
Call to Action A/B Testing
You will find that some calls to action work better than others. Many times, it has to do with your audience. What works for one group may not work as well for another.
That’s where A/B testing comes in.
A/B testing is when you try out two different tactics to see if one receives a better response from your audience than another. It’s a great way to refine your marketing techniques.
For more details on A/B testing, check out this previous post here.
A/B testing is an ideal way for you to determine which calls to action best trigger the desired response from your audience.
While possibly the shortest piece of marketing copy you will ever write, the CTA may also be the most important.
It is the piece of text that triggers results, so take your time to craft your perfect call to action.
Written by Erika Towne