How to Write a Great Call to Action

Written by - 09/05/2016

Before we dive in to the best way of creating a call to action, lets make sure we’re up to speed on what they are.

What is a Call to Action?

A call to action or ‘CTA’ is there to grab the users attention for an immediate response and to complete a conversion. There are no set rules for what a CTA needs to be, they can take the form of a banner, button, a graphic or text. As long as they’re driving a user towards the desired action, they’re doing their job.

Right, now we’re all clear on what they are, lets take a look at a couple of examples:




A CTA is not as simple as putting a massive ‘Click Here’ button on your site and thats your CTA complete. You need to lure the user in by explaining the benefits of clicking. While different kinds of CTA’s will work better in different situations, there’s generally a few elements that are universal;

  • The CTA needs to be eye-catching and noticeable.
  • The message should be incentivised and make people want to click through.
  • The user should know exactly what will happen when they click on the CTA. e.g download a brochure, sign up to a mailing list or visit a specific page.

The main point of a call to action is exactly as the name implies, to get the user to do something. You want your customers to take action and you have to assist them by removing all obstacles or distractions, they’re relying on you to provide them with the right solution.

Creating a Call to Action

The text content that appears with a CTA before the button or link is likely to be what impacts the user’s final decision. Your CTA copy answers the question, “why should I click this button?”. You don’t want your call to action to just say ‘sign up’ as this means nothing to the user, what are they signing up to? Why should they sign up? Some might write “sign up to our newsletter”, this works but is not really eye catching or incentivised. Instead, this would be better as “Join our newsletter for expert advice and the latest special offers.”. The user now knows what they will be getting if they sign up to your newsletter. For eCommerce email sign ups try something like: “Join our newsletter for exclusive offers plus 5% off your first order!”.

Target Audience

The nature of your CTA and the content included with it will be largely dictated by your industry and target audience. When writing a CTA you want your body copy to be the instruction to your reader and then your button copy to give them a gentle nudge towards the conversion. It’s often easy to play on peoples curiosity, emotions or impulsiveness with words like: now, today, easily or quickly. As you can see from Shopify, this well executed CTA with “Start selling today” makes it clear to a user what to do and drives them towards the conversion of signing up.

If your target audience is more about being economical with money or food use words like: free or affordable. With this example below from Dropbox Business you are getting a free trial for 30 days which is very appealing.

Ultimately it’s important to remember that a call to action is a clear and often final instruction to your visitor. Ensuring your CTA’s are as effective as possible could be the difference between success and failure.