Call to Action « Back to Glossary Index
What Is a Call to Action?
A call to action, or CTA, is a message that encourages a
reader to take action, immediately. That action could be anything: buying a
product, registering for an event, or subscribing to an email list. CTAs motivate
users to take the next step in their engagement with your brand, driving
conversion, sales, traffic, attendance, and more.
In digital content, CTAs often take the form of buttons, with microcopy that takes the form of a command or action phrase. Think “Buy Now,” “Get Started,” and “Apply Today.” In print material, you can find CTAs in headlines, sidebars, and callout boxes. Print CTAs can often be longer than their digital counterparts because there’s usually more room to work with.
How to Write Effective Calls to Action: 6 Best Practices
for Strong CTAs
- Start with a verb. When we’re trying to get the user to perform an action, our language should be as action oriented as possible.
- Keep it short. Respect your user’s time and get straight to the point, à la Nike’s “Just Do It” and Apple’s “Think Different.”
- Be original. I think we’ve all seen enough “learn more” CTAs to last a lifetime. Creating a fresh CTA such as “Find out how!” will spark interest and curiosity in your brand.
- Create scarcity. There’s a reason why going-out-of-business sales are so popular. Scarcity creates a sense of value and urgency. Igniting the fear of missing out (FOMO) is a powerful way to get users to take action, fast. Make use of words like “now” and “today” in your copy.
- Make sure it stands out. While you may be tempted to include as many CTAs as possible, this will confuse your audience about which action to take. Stay focused on your main desired action to increase click-throughs and engagement.
- Deliver a clear value proposition. Users evaluating your CTA will be thinking, What’s in it for me? The benefit to the user should be as clear and compelling as possible.
- Test and optimize. There are so many factors that contribute to your CTA’s success: word choice, font type, button color, spacing, and more. Use A/B or multivariate testing to determine optimal features and make your CTA the strongest it can be.
Why CTAs Matter for B2B Marketing
CTAs give readers a clear prompt for what to do next in their digital journeys. Optimizing CTAs can lead to increased traffic, higher profits, and happier clients. As MarketingLand explains, starting with a soft CTA (“download our free ebook”) can pave the way for a harder CTA (“request pricing”). Strategic CTAs can open doors to lead generation, brand recognition, and stronger KPIs. Read these B2B CTA case studies to learn more about the power of strong CTAs in B2B marketing.« Back to Glossary Index