How to Write Effective Call To Action

How to Write Effective Call To Action (With Examples for 2023)

Disclaimer: This is a guest blog by Shiva Prabhakaran, creator of the much loved Validated newsletter on substack where he writes and shares different online business ideas.

Closing the deal is arguably one of the most crucial aspects of the online business cycle. In digital marketing, asking people to take a particular action is known as CTA (aka call to action).

The goal of this post is twofold:

  1. Educate you on how to write a good Call To Action
  2. Inspire you with some examples in case you’re stuck

With that out of the way, let’s jump in.

Where do you start using your Call To Action?

First, you must understand that CTAs are not just buttons. People have this common misconception that buttons are the only Call To Action item that matter, so they focus all their energy on optimizing their buttons instead of taking a holistic approach.

As I mentioned earlier, CTA is anything that asks the user/visitor to take action.

This could be:

  1. Button
  2. Hyperlink
  3. Simple text

For example, if you have a button that says “Buy now,” that’s a Call To Action. But so is a hyperlink to another site/page text and plain instructions in your website copy.

That said, let’s get started with some best practices.

Starting with an action

A simple yet effective rule while writing CTA copies is to start with an action term (verb).

And a lot of us do this already, and that’s why it is commonly used on buttons on most websites.

But I recommend extending this practice to hyperlinks and text commands on your site.

For example, instead of a hyperlinked text that reads “google chrome extension,” also try to link the word “download this” along with “google chrome extension.”

Similarly, as an example for plain text, instead of “You can use this chrome extension,” start the sentence with “use this chrome extension.” It is less ambiguous.

Using the LIFT model

For those unaware, the LIFT model bases its method on six factors from the visitor’s perspective.

Call To Action - Using the LIFT Model
Credit: WiderFunnel

  1. Value proposition (showing perceived benefits – perceived costs)
  2. Clarity (articulating your value proposition in simple language)
  3. Relevance (matching visitor’s expectations on your webpage)
  4. Distraction (removing anything that could divert the visitor away from the goal)
  5. Urgency (indicating to take action now)
  6. Anxiety (addressing any potential misgivings your visitor might have)

Make sure you hit these six factors, then your Call To Action and your website copy will be more conversion friendly.

Using emotion and enthusiasm

Emotion sells better than empty discounts ever could. The good thing about this strategy is that it is not expensive to implement and monitor.

All you have to do is change your CTA’s copy to get them enthusiastic.

Instead of writing:

  1. “Book your tickets,” use “Plan your vacation right now!”
  2. “Search jobs,” use “Find your dream job!”
  3. “Download the XYZ finance app,” use “Save $10 every week!”

There are a lot more tips and copywriting hacks that you can use to improve your CTA, but the three hacks mentioned above form the basis for nearly all of them.

Inspiration for your CTA

As promised, here are some examples that you can use when you are stuck:

B2B or enterprise sales

  1. Talk to [representative] to see if [business name or product] is right for you
  2. Download whitepaper
  3. Reserve your seat
  4. Save 10% on XYZ every month
  5. Stop paying for XYZ
  6. Learn why XYZ doubled their savings

B2C or consumer stores

  1. Get XYZ now
  2. Pay just XY% now
  3. Get our free trial
  4. Try the product for $1

Newsletter/web subscriptions

  1. Join XYZ(influencers name) and hundreds more
  2. Get the free report now
  3. Start saving money now
  4. Get more out of your tools now
  5. Get them now or wait 6 months
  6. Mail me the free eBook/report
  7. Receive the XY% discount
  8. Smash XYZ goals in 7 days

In addition to CTAs, there also needs to be a statement that could relieve your visitor’s anxiety. Something like:

  1. Try it for free for 30 days
  2. No credit card required
  3. You won’t be billed for 30 days
  4. Hassle-free 30-day return
  5. No questions asked refund policy
  6. Find a lower price, and we’ll match it
  7. We are certified by XYZ body
  8. Your money is insured by XYZ entity

So that is a quick introduction to writing a compelling CTA to increase conversions and sales. What did you think about this post? Let me know on Twitter (@FightShiva).

You can also find my other writings by Googling “Shiva Prabhakaran” or visiting my blog I also write pretty regularly about productivity on Routine’s blog.