Your Call to Action is Crucial – And Profitable.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

Hold on a sec, what – thirteen?!

Hopefully that brilliant opening line, from George Orwell’s novel, 1984, got your attention. That’s what good writing does. It grabs you, moves you emotionally and in the case of a Call to Action (CTA), gets you to click on a message.

Writing a good Call to Action (CTA) is tricky. You need to be brief yet simultaneously convey a lot of information. You also have to be persuasive enough to make someone click or tap on it.

And because so much is riding on that message – like serious revenue – it’s imperative to put serious time and effort into crafting your Call to Action. If people ignore it on your website, email or ad you won’t get conversions and your campaigns can fail.

What Is a Call to Action?

A Call to Action message (also sometimes referred to as a button) appears on websites, in emails, social media posts and elsewhere and is designed to get someone to do what it says: “Try Free for 30 Days”, “Take This Course”, “Watch Our Demo”, etc.

You need to offer something valuable and motivate people with your CTA. Its ultimate goal is conversion – get website visitors and mobile users to download your eBook, start a free trial or add something to their cart.

Don’t be boring with your CTA. “Click Here” doesn’t say much. “Increase Your ROI” says a lot and evokes thoughts of better budget spending, bonuses and trips to Tahiti (okay I digress – a little!).

Want a 90% Click Through Rate Increase?

Landing page developer unbounce did some A/B testing with the words “My” and “Your” for a client. The page that had the CTA was “the last step in the conversion funnel and every click means money in the bank.”

The results were striking. The two CTAs being tested were “Create My Account” and “Create Your Account”. The CTA with “Your” performed worse than the one with “My” – almost 25% worse.


The testers at unbounce then wondered if it was possible to “generate positive lifts” by using “My” in CTAs that had the word “Your”.

The answer was a resounding yes! Testing a PPC unbounce landing page “saw a 90% increase in click through rate when we tested “Start my free 30 day trial” against “Start your free 30 day trial”.”


The Psychology Behind a Good Call to Action

Searchenginepeople notes that the CTA “is the central bottleneck of your business, the place where the action takes place. Nowhere in your marketing is an understanding of psychology more vital.”

While the wording, number of words, placement and other factors are crucial for a successful CTA, so is a psychological understanding of your customers.

Searchenginepeople points out that “if we visit a landing page looking to download an eBook, we will actively select the CTA. If, on the other hand, we are trying to read a blog post, we will actively select against parts of the page that we have trained ourselves to understand as distractions, places where we would typically see advertisements.”

To be effective and motivate someone to click on your message you have to know what your visitors expect and want when you show them your CTA.

The digital marketing experts at AB Tasty note that brand familiarity and trust also play a big role in CTA click through rates. “Do you often click on a pop-up from a brand you’ve never heard of?” AB Tasty asks. The answer is usually ‘no’.

AB Tasty also points out that you should consider a good Call to Action “a culmination of sorts… part of an ‘action phase’ following an introductory phase, or even an entire campaign.”

Their examples include:

  • Asking for an email address after an article is read
  • Offering an audit after someone has viewed a demo video
  • Suggesting someone purchase something after they viewed a product page
  • Suggesting a free trial after a certain page is viewed

Consider these five tips when creating CTAs:


Shorter is better, but researching this article I discovered “short” means no more than three words to some folks, while others claim six to seven words maximum. An art director I once worked with told me, firmly, no more than three words.

The longest CTA currently on Take 5’s site – It’s Time to Connect with Your Customers – comes in at seven words. I’m going to suggest basically halving it to read: Connect with Your Customers. Even then it’s still a bit long because “Connect” and “Customers” each have a lot of letters.

The best way to figure out which words work is to run an A/B test. See the above unbounce example and how they drastically increased their click through rate by changing “Your” to “My”.

A/B testing is crucial and lets you test:

  • Wording (including specific words and number of words/overall CTA length)
  • Button colors
  • Size
  • Format
  • Placement

Start with Action and a Verb

You need to get to the point quickly and create a sense of urgency with a Call to Action. Using action verbs and highlighting a time limit or unique factor can accomplish both.

You also need to provoke an emotional response. An enthusiastic CTA can do this.

“Super Sale!” has enthusiasm but doesn’t say much. “Buy now and get 50% off!” says so much more – act now, get half off, get a great deal, save money!

Show a Benefit

Let your CTA tell customers how clicking on your message will help them. The above example points out the 50% off sale and money saving aspect of the deal. Will your offer help them at their job? Refinance their mortgage? Let the CTA show how life will be better and help solve a problem.

Visuals and Colors

Use attractive, attention-grabbing visuals but don’t go too “salesy” with them. A starburst-type of image might have looked great on a print ad in the 1970s but today, not so much. As for the color, make your CTA stand out by using colors different than the rest of the page (but don’t clash).

Make it Device-centric

The online marketing mavens at WordStream note that smartphone users behave differently than when they’re on a desktop or tablet.

“Someone could be walking down the street when they see an ad on a moving bus, and whip out their phone and quickly search for what they saw before it leaves their brain,” WordStream provides as an example.

“Their search will also likely result in a phone call to complete the desired action, rather than browsing a website.”

WordStream advises to create a more phone-oriented CTA – e.g., “call now to get started” – for your mobile ads.

Take 5 Media Group – Digital Marketing & Content Creation Experts

Take 5 Media Group is one of the nation’s leading compilers of consumer information. We’re experts at building highly-targeted audiences based on purchase intent, demographics, lifestyle changes and more.

We then use our cutting-edge, digital marketing channels – email, display ad and social media retargeting, geo-fencing, Web Interceptor™ and others – to get your message to those audiences.

To find out more, call Take 5 Media Group, Boca Raton, Florida, 561-819-5555, New York at 917-201-7451, or visit our website at