What Is a Call to Action? A Beginner’s Guide

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A call to action (CTA) is a term used in marketing that refers to the next step a website wants its audience to take. This is often related to sales and can encourage us to make a purchase. However, it can also impel us to share content, sign up to databases, or invite us to explore other related content.

So, a call to action does very much what it says on the tin – it calls for us to take an action. Often, it takes the form of a pretty direct request (such as “click here”) and is placed strategically so you find it easily – usually in the form of a clickable box.

1

What is the Purpose of a Call to Action?

CTAs are used by businesses, websites and bloggers to direct audiences and encourage action – and the nature of the CTA often varies depending on the medium. They can be essential for those looking to convert prospects into customers and clients, and they enhance a user’s experience by offering clickable directions. As website visitors, we can be lazy when looking for the next steps – whatever they may be – so call to actions make things easier.

Essentially, CTAs are simple (yet potentially highly effective) marketing tools. One survey, for example, indicated that the addition of a call to action button to articles increased monthly revenue by 83%. Not bad for a single button!

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What Are Different Types of Call to Actions?

There are some call to actions you’ll be used to seeing regularly – here are the most common:

Lead generation

In marketing, lead generation is defined as the initiation of consumer interest – or enquiry into – the products or services of a website. CTAs are crucial for generating leads on any website or platform, and should be clear and eye-catching so that visitors know what to expect when they follow them.

Closing the sale 

After generating some leads, you’ll want to get down to business, and start turning those leads into customers. The key here is utilizing sales-focused CTAs, such as “shop now” and “buy now.” These are used to encourage customers to buy products or services there and then.

Form submission

To acquire contacts – and consolidate your site’s visitors as leads – you’ll need to get them to fill out a form and ‘submit’ their information to your database via a CTA. This is often the case when signing up to newsletters, and allows you to stay connected with your site’s visitors via marketing emails going forward.

Encouraging visitors to read more

When displaying content and copy on a blog or website, you may not want to show the whole post initially. You can entice viewers with a preview, and invite them to explore further with a “read more” CTA. You can also direct them to other related articles, encouraging them to stay on your blog or website for longer, and engage with a wider range of your content.

Social sharing

Social sharing calls-to-action encourage us to share content with others, and are a great way to boost engagement. It’s worth including them in places where it makes sense on your website; for example, at the end of features and blog posts, or on landing pages.

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How to Create an Effective Call to Action

Although CTAs might seem simple, it’s worth putting some time and thought into creating – and customizing – them, to ensure you see the best results.

So, how do you write a call to action that works? Here are some tips to help you out:

  • Use active language and be direct – think about some of the most common CTAs you see online, such as “shop now” and “find out more.” Keep them direct and snappy!
  • Focus on benefits – identify and understand the problems your users may be facing, or what they’re searching for, and think about how you can solve these pain points.
  • Create urgency – imply that there could be a limited amount of time to encourage audiences to act, using language such as “soon” and “hurry.”
  • Consider size, color, and position – experiment with testing to see which colors and font people respond to, and then select the combinations that stand out most.
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Key Takeaways

  • CTAs are used by many businesses, websites and bloggers to direct audiences and encourage action.
  • They’re an easy and effective marketing tool, whether you want to boost sales or increase engagement with your website.
  • There are some main types of call to actions to consider using on all types of website, from closing the sale to social sharing.
  • To create an effective CTA, consider the language you’re using, as well as the size, color, and position of the font.
  • It’s important to focus on the problems users might be facing, and how you can make their browsing easier. You should also try to create a sense of urgency if you want your CTAs to be as effective as possible.