CTAs that actually work

Published: September 17, 2020 | Last updated: September 25, 2020
Online sales: A child's play with the perfect call to action. ProvenExpert shows how, where and when to use so-called call-to-action buttons profitably.

Create good CTAs: You should know these expert rules!

No matter whether it is about a subscription, a purchase or an appointment: In most cases, marketing managers place calls for action in the form of colored buttons on their websites and emails. Such CTA buttons ensure that customers do what marketers want them to do: turn a potential customer into a new customer (conversion). So first of all, make sure you understand the goal of your website or e-mail and consider who your target group is and what they are more likely to respond to. A reader is more likely to click on a CTA if it meets the expectations with which they visit a particular page.

So how will your call be heard? Five expert tips that are guaranteed to work.

1. Advertise a specific value

  • "Learn more", "Sign up here" or "Click here" - boring examples of CTAs can be found all over the web. But what makes customers much more likely to respond to a CTA? These examples show alternatives that have more activation potential:
  • Start free month
  • Save now
  • 30 days free trial
  • Improve your ranking with this free white paper
  • Cut your effort in half with...
  • Save time with...
  • Be part of our expert community
  • Find the job that suits you
  • Register now - for free and in only 2 minutes

The secret of strong CTAs? They:

a) fit the product

b) promise a benefit that is important to your target group

Whether it’s saving time, a free e-book or expert status in the Community ─ people want to profit.

2. Language is key

Besides the value proposition, the language of CTAs is crucial. The rule is: use active verbs, but please keep them short and snappy. The shorter the CTA, the easier it is for customers to understand how they benefit from this offer. Active verbs that lead to an action are helpful:

  • buy
  • order
  • sign in
  • download
  • test
  • book
  • register
  • join

Add a time component, for example: "Register now, test 30 days for free". This encourages customers to act immediately ─ the basis for a high conversion rate. Power words reinforce this effect. Adjectives and adverbs like "perfect", "definitive", "guaranteed", "excellent", "simple" or " verified" imply a promise and create trust. But make sure you can live up to the claim. Exaggerations can damage your image. If you let your website visitors "discover" an offer or have special "insider tips" ready, you will arouse curiosity. You want users to seriously think about your offer before they make a decision? The "yes" and "no" triggers are simple but effective.

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3. Inspire emotions

The foundation of successful companies: They generate emotions - with advertising, well-maintained social media channels and well thought-out call-to-action marketing. Because customers prefer to buy what makes them happy and improves their lives. In practice, this means that whoever packages positive emotions in CTAs wins. The following questions will help:

  • How does your company improve the lives of others?
  • How do customers directly benefit from your offer?

Offer added value that is suitable for your customers, be inviting and informative. The customer wants to know what "is in it for them". Does the CTA correspond to what the customer is looking for, desires, longs for? But also make sure that the CTA matches the tone of your website. Our tip: Use a direct speech: "Take a look at our demo tour now" seems more human than " Take the demo tour". With a CTA you also tell the customer what happens next. So after clicking on the CTA, direct your customers to landing pages with appropriate content that will meet their expectations.

4. Use fear of missing out (FOMO) - but only in moderation!

Fear of Missing out (FOMO for short) functions as a purchasing process accelerator, but only if you use this trigger in a restricted way. Conveying "scarcity" indiscriminately and in too many places does not seem credible and ensures that customers can no longer distinguish profitable offers from others, or that they even adopt a skeptical attitude towards your offers. So be careful with the feelings of your customers. CTAs such as "Promotion ends today", "Only 10 pieces available" or " As long as stocks last" convey urgency and show that a product is limited in availability. This can certainly tempt undecided customers to make a decision at this moment and not to think twice. FOMO CTAs illustrate the popularity or exclusivity of your offer and answer the question of how customers actually benefit from your company. At the same time, CTAs strengthen trust.

5. CTA-Design: The golden rule

CTAs must look the same in the browser and mobile version and visually entice customers to click. This is achieved with a high-contrast color and an appealing wording. With a rectangular or slightly rounded shape and a complementary border, the button stands out visibly from the rest of the page. A no-go on the other hand are flashing buttons in signal colors. They look dubious and make users leave your site quickly. The design of good CTAs stands out without being obtrusive. But position and size are also crucial.

Put CTAs where users click. You can base this on the reading behavior of internet users. People scan a page in a specific manner: their gaze moves from top to bottom and from left to right - once at the beginning, a second time in the middle and, if they stay for a longer time, at the end of the page. This means: CTAs are best placed in the middle, on the left or right side. Tools like crazyegg show where it is likely that visitors will react to CTAs. Place call-to-actions in the first third of the page. Because most users leave the page after a few seconds. Successful companies like Netflix therefore rely on a full-screen landing page that focuses on the CTA button or "sticky CTAs" that always remain visible and even change color when the user scrolls. This makes users focus on your offer within seconds.

Are you offering enough to your users for them to come back?

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