How to Create Irresistible Calls-to-Action in 2021: A Beginner’s Guide

Call-to-Action: How to Create Irresistible Calls-to-Action

Want to entice your readers to download your latest e-book? 

Maybe you want more people to subscribe to your newsletter. 

Or you just want to get more leads from your website.

It all starts with the right call-to-action (CTA).

Without calls-to-action, your visitors have no clue what you want them to do. For one thing, if you don’t ask them to download your e-book or subscribe to your newsletter, they won’t do it.

Here’s the thing. Your CTA is the end goal of any landing page, form, or campaign you’ll create in a marketing campaign.

If your CTA is weak, your results will be too. So if you want high conversion rates on your site, strong CTAs are important, to say the least.

Yet, many of them don’t work. The typical “Download” button doesn’t do the trick anymore. The overused “Sign up,” “Buy now,” and “Learn more” call-to-action triggers won’t get you the results you’re looking for. 

For one thing, your target audience is more knowledgeable than ever before. What’s more, they’re tired of seeing non-personalized calls-to-action that don’t compel them to click and take action.

Let’s start at the beginning…

What is a call-to-action?

Calls-to-action (CTAs) encourage your audience to take action on a marketing campaign. Like the name suggests, a call-to-action invites a user to take a desired action, whether that means downloading your latest e-book, signing up for your webinar, or leaving a comment after reading this guide.

Call-to-Action: How to Create Irresistible Calls-to-Action

This phenomenon of inspiring interest is better understood by looking at how big brands use image enticing ads to create a sense of need and desire in consumers.

Calls-to-action do the same but in an unconventional way as compared to ads; they are inherently persuasive; they have a compelling tone that enhances the slightest desire your audience has, eventually engaging them more. The result is an increase in purchases, sign-ups to your email list, likes, and shares.

Sign up. Buy now. Click here. Open. 

All these expressions compel your audience to take an action.

Knowing how to create irresistible calls-to-action is one of the most important skills you must master to keep your digital marketing mojo a boost.

For one thing, in a digital space where information is literally like the sand on a beach, it takes tactful efforts to catch the eyes and minds of your audience. 

The magic behind calls-to-action confirms that often the smallest things could be those that matter most. call-to-action or CTA buttons only take up a small amount of space on any marketing material but have the ability to make a big difference in your digital marketing plan and drive you into success. 

What’s more, calls-to-action can increase your conversion rates by a whopping 80%, a recent study found. Plus, CTAs are one of the greatest lead generation techniques you would ever use.

Yet, most B2B digital marketers aren’t using effective CTAs to engage their ideal customers. Even worse, some aren’t using CTAs at all. 

In fact, according to Small Biz Trends, 70% of small business B2B sites lack a call-to-action.

Why do calls-to-action work?

Calls-to-action are not just ordinary buttons on a website. They are like signposts; they are one of the most visibly profound elements on your web page. 

But you might be wondering if they still work.

The answer is, ‘yes.’ They still do.

And here are two reasons they work really well at converting casual readers into paying customers:

1. Calls-to-action weed out ambiguity

You don’t want to leave your user thinking: “so what do I do next?” Your call-to-action provides them the clarity on what exactly you expect them to do next.

2. Calls-to-action act as a guide

When you drive into a new town, it’s only natural to have an itch of discomfort and a feeling of being lost. Most times, the first things you notice are signposts, and they help you find your way around. 

This is just about the same experience your users have when they visit your website. 

What does this mean?

Creating the right and precise calls-to-action can help your users have a good experience. The result: better engagements. 

Examples of calls-to-action

Here are some of the most common ones you’d find around:

  • Learn more
  • Subscribe to our blog
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Request demo/quote
  • Meet the team
  • Sign up
  • Get started
  • Start your free trial

For blogs

  • Read more articles
  • Register for the free course
  • Sign-up for our newsletter
  • Join our social media community
  • Become a sponsor

For companies 

  • Start your 30-day free trial
  • Register now
  • Sign up today
  • Contact sales

For e-commerce sites

  • Make purchase
  • Add to cart
  • Check out

How to create irresistible calls-to-action

Use bright color designs

Your design is everything. 

Color has great power in design. It can draw your eyes to an image and sometimes, even trigger an emotional response. 

Different colors symbolize different things. Warm colors, for example, show off excitement, optimism, and creativity. On the other hand, cool colors stand for peace, calmness, and harmony. 

Making sure you understand the language of colors puts you ahead in your game as you will be able to access the minds and emotions of your users.

Nonetheless, it is more scientific to use bright colors. Using a bright button color that contrasts with the page color is a great strategy to pull your users’ attention. Plus, for the sake of being consistent, consider using colors that represent your brand image like Evernote does:

The green color of the main and secondary CTA buttons is the same green as the headline and the Evernote logo, all of which jump off the page.

Use a large font size for visibility

To get your users’ attention, you need to make your calls-to-actions obvious just at a glance. 

Use larger font sizes to give your calls-to-action visibility that commands attention. 

Ideally, the largest things on the page often attract the eyes first, so keeping your calls-to-action fonts bold enables you to get significant contrast from the rest of the fonts on the page.

Call-to-Action: How to Create Irresistible Calls-to-Action

Make the benefits clear

Your users want to know what they stand to gain. So your calls-to-action should either sharply or sublimely communicate such benefits to them.

Psychologically, interest is motivated when there is something to be gained. One effective way of getting your users to engage with your content is by stating clearly what they’ll be benefiting from the process.

The design on Evernote’s website makes it super simple for users to see quick benefits of using the app and how to actually sign up to use it.

Keep it short and simple

Calls-to-action are meant to be brief. The best call-to-action is just a phrase, not a sentence. For one thing, the shorter it is, the more direct, commanding, and effective it will be.

Think about it. Wouldn’t you easily remember something as short as “Shop now” than “Interested in buying a candy? Shop now”? I bet you would.

OKCupid’s CTA doesn’t seem that impressive at first glance, but it does a good job at keeping its call-to-action short and simple:

Call-to-Action: How to Create Irresistible Calls-to-Action

The simplicity of its CTA, “Continue” no doubt gives hope that the signup process is short and super easy. 

Make your call-to-action urgent

You can only get your users actively involved if your calls-to-action can trigger a sense of urgency. 

With all the distractions users face, it’s only tactful to use compelling offers like “limited time,” “last available sales for the week,” “best prices,” “promotion,” “latest version,” “newest feature,” “free trial expiring” to draw their attention and compel them to act now, not later.

Mind your language

The language you use is very important in reaching out to users. To communicate effectively, make sure you’re using action verbs. Action verbs are less ambiguous and direct. They make the steps you want your users to take easy: download, subscribe, buy, click, open. 

Plus, make sure you use an honest voice and avoid making boastful claims. The reason is, people are increasingly being aware of publicity stunts and as a result, people express skepticism towards brands with exaggerated claims. Being completely honest will win your users’ hearts and presents you as being real and worthy of trust. 

You also want to be consistent in the use of language. The language you use complements the language in the buttons. A good synergy of language gives your users a natural flow on your web page.

The shape of your button

One of the features that could have an effect on your users is how your call-to-action buttons are shaped. Square and bullet-shaped buttons are most common, but you don’t always have to stick to the conventional way of doing things. 

Think out of the box. Make your buttons with curvy edges. For one thing, psychological findings have revealed that people are naturally drawn to curves.

Call-to-Action: How to Create Irresistible Calls-to-Action

Prioritize positioning

It’s important to know where you should place your calls-to-action. Getting the right position is very important because it makes so much of a difference in both visibility and conversions. 

Most often, the type of action you want your audience to take determines where you would position your call-to-action.

Sign-ups, for example, always appear above the fold (the space where your web page is viewable to the user without having to scroll down). 

Steps that require some explanation like downloading an e-book or registering for a webinar should be found within the text. The text around it will give a proper explanation and throw some light on why your visitor should take on such an action.

Steps that are closer to actual customer conversions should come below the fold, near the bottom of the page.

Practice repetition 

When your user keeps going through calls-to-action with the same offer or steps, they often yield to one of them. 

Using multiple calls-to-action with the same offer is more of a psychological approach. It works because it constantly gives users another opportunity or chance to engage in case they missed a previous opportunity, just like Evernote does:

Did you fail to click the “sign up” button above the fold after landing on this page? No worries. Evernote reminds you again a short way down the page.

Make good use of empty space

There’s a magic in using empty spaces that sometimes people ignore or pay less attention to. People do not pay much attention these days. 

Here’s the thing. The average user now pays attention to your website for eight seconds. So when it comes to design, empty spaces have a great ability to draw their attention to an icon. 

Leave a significant amount of empty space around your CTA buttons on each side. Dropbox, for instance, has always embraced simple design with a lot of negative space. 

Also, take your images, graphics and copy further away from your CTA’s to increase their effectiveness. 

By doing all these, you are giving each important icon the chance to breathe as well as enabling your users to see through effortlessly.

Design your CTAs to suit users’ devices

Knowing what devices visitors use to access your site will serve as a proper guide to designing or tailoring your CTAs. 

Your website analytics will tell you if your visitors are predominantly mobile or desktop users. If the majority of your users are mobile phone users, then you should switch to a more mobile-friendly style. 

In any case, whatever the favored device is, build your calls-to-action in such a way that they accommodate the device that users are using the most to access your site.

Test and improve

One good thing you should know about calls-to-action is that there’s always room for change and improvement. The changes you make will be based on the level of responsiveness you get from your visitors or users. 

To make a critical analysis of your level of success and ascertain where to make improvements or changes, you need an A/B testing system. 

A/B testing your CTA means you create a clone (copy) of your CTA, change a single element of the CTA (button color, language used, etc), and publish both CTAs together. Half of your users will see one variation and the other half will receive the second variation. 

This allow you to compare how your website visitors engage with the call-to-action based on your changes. The variation that performs better becomes the right one to use.

Pro tip: Leave your CTA A/B test running for at least one month before examining the results for a winner.

Bonus tip: Match the right call-to-action to the right stage in your customers’ journey

Do you want your readers to take the next step? Tell them. As the saying goes, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

In marketing, this translates to adding calls-to-action (CTAs) in your content. Yet, that doesn’t mean every CTA should lead to “download my e-book” or “subscribe to my newsletter.”

Truth is, not every reader is ready to download or subscribe now. It all depends where they are at in the buyer’s journey.

Let’s say, for instance, you sell search engine optimization (SEO) services and you wrote an article about “what is SEO?” So far, it’s ranking really well on Google and getting a lot of search traffic.

Because this is a beginner-level topic, your readers are likely not to convert at this point. After all, they’ve only just learned what SEO is and are not ready to put money into something they just learned about.

Rather than trying to convert them into a customer, pull them into the next stage of your marketing funnel:

Call-to-Action: How to Create Irresistible Calls-to-Action

For example, in your “what SEO” article, you might explain how SEO works and your readers might be wondering if they need one themselves. So, if you had an article on “5 Reasons Every Business Needs SEO,” you could internally link to it instead.

That way, your readers would be one step closer to converting. For one thing, they learned about SEO, how it works, and now, why they need it for their business.

From a copywriting standpoint, you’re improving conversions and the ROI of your content. From an SEO perspective, it increases your pageviews, reduces bounces, and may send positive engagement signals to Google to rank your page high in the SERPS.

You’re ready to create irresistible calls-to-action

As a beginner, it’s never so easy but the good news is, it’s possible to achieve positive results with your calls-to-action. 

Taking color, timing, positioning, language, and visibility into consideration will solve the puzzle. 

If you can make all of these features inherent in your CTA structure, then you might as well be on your way to success. 

Now, I’d like to hear from you: which tip are you going to try first?

Are you going to start using bright color designs?

Or maybe you want to start keeping your CTAs short and simple.

Either way, let me know by leaving a quick comment below.

Before you go…

I understand that reading about call-to-action best practices and tips isn’t the same as seeing them or trying them out for yourself. I’ve been there. Trust me.

That’s why I’m giving you this CTA template from HubSpot for free. It contains 28 free CTA templates you can customize along with inspiring call-to-action designs to help you create, write, and optimize your calls-to-action. 

Ready to create irresistible calls-to-action? Download the CTA Template below for Free:

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