7 min

How to Write a Call to Action (CTA) That Converts

The team at Yext dives into useful tips for writing a call to action (CTA) that converts your visitors into customers.

By Yext

Jan 25, 2022

7 min

Website visitors know that your webpage is trying to accomplish a goal: the coveted process of conversion.

Whether that means getting them to sign up, subscribe to a service, or purchase products from your company, you want to give people an incentive to do more than just read your landing page.

That means you need a strong call to action (CTA) to provide motivation. In this article, we'll explore the best practices for how to write strong CTA copy that converts.

About Your Call To Action

There are many components to consider when crafting a call to action, but essentially it serves one purpose: to guide your visitor further down the conversion funnel. No matter where they are or what page they're on, your call to action should provide a clear, concise reason for them to proceed. It might seem obvious, but your CTA should also show the way forward.

Your CTA also functions to deter certain users from proceeding. There's nothing worse than wasting time and customer acquisition costs on users who aren't in your target audience since they won't convert. This might be people who don't need your product, can't afford your services, or who are already signed on with a competitor.

One example of a CTA is 'contact us for more information about "XYZ" with a link to your company's contact information. This call to action gives visitors a reason to move forward, learning more about the subject they're interested in, and the path to complete that objective, a link to click on. You must be sure that your CTA tells the audience what to do next and why they should do it.

The Verbiage Matters

In all languages, some verbs come off as stronger than others. It can be tricky to recognize, especially when you're first learning a language, but the connotations of some verbs have a more commanding interpretation than others. You want to use verbs that are visceral and evoke an immediate emotional response in your readers.

This is especially true since calls to action are usually short and sweet. In one sentence you have to motivate your readers to continue and tell them how to go on. The best CTAs usually use action words or action phrases to get prospects to hit the action button. Some examples of these verbs are:

  • Buy

  • Find

  • Contact

  • Search

  • Shop

  • Act

  • Register

  • Download

  • Order

  • Subscribe

The right words will depend on your business and how you want users to proceed, but these are some good places to start.

Light A Fire

Once you've explained how to go on, you want to inject a sense of urgency. Another example of a classic CTA is "call now" or "act now" to signify that whatever you're promoting is a limited-time offer that has a deadline.

Generally, this tactic will help buyers who haven't made a decision yet move further through the conversion funnel because they're worried about missing a potential opportunity. When your CTA energizes readers, you'll notice an improvement in your click-through rate.

You can also use the CTA as a countdown timer for a promotional sale or discount code that is set to expire in the near future. For example, a holiday sale that only lasts for a week will instill the fear of missing out, which will drive more people to get while the getting is good.

This type of compelling call to action sparks emotion. Even if they haven't been completely sold on your product or service, they'll be tempted enough to buy now since if they wait too long, they'll miss out on the reward and have to pay more for it.

However, as any good salesperson can tell you, urgency isn't always the best way to get through to your customers. For high-ticket products and expensive or vital services, people may want to do more thorough research and won't appreciate a company trying to force them into making an important decision before they are good and ready.

Know What Consumers Want

If you don't want to scare off people with a ticking clock, you can also work the enthusiasm angle more and the urgency less. Advertising certain discounts with your calls-to-action still give people a reason to go through with the decision without making them feel like the clock is ticking on their options.

For example, "Click here and receive a 20% discount on all items in the store!" is cheerful and upbeat, as well as providing a good motivation for customers to follow the link for a coupon.

Notice that there is nothing in that CTA to suggest that taking some time to read the reviews or do their research will disqualify them from the offer. It's not going anywhere; just patiently waiting for them to make up their minds.

Depending on the tone of your copy, adding an exclamation mark at the end of your CTA can add more enthusiasm and show your users a preview of how happy they'll be if they follow the instructions.

Be sure that you're offering can benefit your consumers. Interesting them in your information isn't usually enough; you have to offer something that will benefit their lives. Saving money is a large motivation, but you can also offer a unique selling point here.

Mobile or Desktop?

An interesting fact researchers find is that consumers behave differently on their smartphones than their laptops when it comes to looking up products and services. While tablets don't seem to register different behavior from laptops, people who use their smartphones to read your company's blog posts or check out your homepage are more likely to be ready to purchase.

For some reason, people on laptops and tablets are less ready to commit, instead, they're researching a product page longer, or reading reviews before they make up their minds.

This might be because the larger screen makes it easier to open more tabs or because laptops and tablets are generally used in scenarios where people have more time to research.

Smartphones are often used to browse or shop during a commute or on the go and people need to make up their minds faster.

Regardless of what causes the behavior, it is proven to be a factor and some companies are creating multiple CTAs: one for laptop and tablet users and one for mobile users. When writing specifically for mobile users, consider using the dominant verb "call" as in "call now for x…" since they will already have their phone in hand.

Testing One, Two, Three

You will want to test out multiple different calls to action before settling on one that appeals to your target audience. With user analytics software, you can monitor how a CTA button functions, which email marketing newsletter format works best, or which ad copy inspires better conversion rates.

Depending on who you are appealing to, even CTAs that have been tried and true for industry competitors may not work on your audience.

You'll need to conduct tests to see what works and what doesn't. Tap into your creative side and try variations on some of the verbs we listed above and see what appeals to your customers.

Social Media

Writing CTAs for social media ads is a little different than ones for your website or blogs. A growing majority of consumers are willing to deal with ads from search engines and blogs, but are employing ad blockers for social media and are tired of seeing ads in their feed.

Because of that ad fatigue, your company will need to be more careful about how it creates ads so viewers see them as more than advertisements.

If you can present emotional connections or interesting information and a brief, strong call to action, you can slip them in among social media posts without aggravating users.

When you get your value proposition conveyed in a clear, concise manner, you capture the imagination with a simple picture and hashtag. Unlike mobile or laptop users, you want to be as brief as possible with social media or risk causing some frustration.

In Conclusion

Having a strong call to action is a great way to promote your brand and convince more people to become customers. With the tricks, we list above, you'll be well on your way to creating calls-to-action that motivate consumers to convert.

Contact us for more information about enticing customers to convert.


Hook, Line, and Sinker: 7 Tips for a Killer Call-to-Action | Wordstream

21 Captivating Call to Action Examples to Steal | Crazy Egg

15 Call To Action Examples (and How to Write the Perfect CTA) | Ad Espresso

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