What is a Call to Action?

Published: Feb 27, 2020
Last Updated:
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You can hook a potential client with a compelling opening and hold their interest with useful content and engaging writing, but how do you get them to follow through? A call to action can mean the difference between a reader moving forward in the sales process or wandering off to your competitor's website.

What is a call to action?

In marketing, a call to action, or CTA for short, is an invitation designed to get the reader to take a concrete step right then and there. It starts with a strong action verb, gives clear instructions, and sells the urgency of an immediate response:

  • Order now and get 20% off!
  • Register today and the webinar is free!

CTAs can be plain text, but they may also appear as call to action buttons.  You can find them on landing pages, pop-ups, product pages, and in emails and blog posts—just about any spot where further action from a user is possible.

<div class="tip">Want to see how some real-life companies encourage users to convert? Check out these effective call to action examples.</div>

When should you use a call to action?

Every time you have the ears and eyes of a potential customer, provide a call to action. That means every webpage, blog post, and email.

Business owners may hesitate to include a call to action on every page because they worry about annoying their audience. When you're immersed in a business, it can seem like the next step is obvious.

Let's say you're in real estate. Everyone knows that realtors will provide a free marketing analysis if you're planning to sell your house, right? Maybe not. Maybe this is the first time your reader is selling a home, and they're hesitant to call you because they're not sure how the process works. Walk them through the next step, even if it seems obvious from where you stand.

The leads that are going to convert will not be irritated by a button offering what they need. Make it abundantly clear what will happen if they click that button. What's in it for them? Consider offering a low-commitment action like calling for a free estimate to encourage the risk-averse to take the plunge.

<div class="tip">Now that you know when to use them, find out how to write an effective CTA.</div>

Why should you use a call to action?

To make the sale

On e-commerce pages, it is critical that the customer is able to readily complete their order. The frustration of hunting for an elusive button could turn a prospective buyer away. The call to action may be as simple as "Buy Now" or "Get My Tickets", but the button needs to be large, accessible, and easily recognizable.

To convert a potential client into a lead

If someone is taking the time to read your post, they are probably interested enough to want more details. Offering a free estimate or consultation gives them the information they need to make a decision, and it gives you their contact information so you can continue to reach out to them. Another way of achieving those outcomes is by providing a free e-book, newsletter, or list of tips related to your business in exchange for their name and email address.

To build your customer base

The contacts you gain from the above calls to action can increase the target audience receiving your emails. You can also offer other benefits in exchange for contact information—anything from coupons to recipes to top-ten lists.

Another way to grow your base is by increasing your social media following. Begin a call to action with "Share" or "Follow" and finish with a compelling reason to do so.

To develop trust in your brand

The more people interact with your website, the more trust you build with them. This holds true for potential clients and loyal customers. They see quality content that adds value and demonstrates your knowledge and insight. A call to action can link them to a blog post, video, or another article on your site, keeping them engaged with your brand and growing their interest in your service or product.

An Invitation

A call to action is an invitation to respond. It's an essential component of each communication with a potential client. Calls to action can improve your conversion rate, connect you with your target audience, and help you build your brand.

If you'd like to harness the power of well-crafted content to support your calls to action, consider partnering with a professional. Many companies can work with you to create custom content that forges brand loyalty and empowers your readers to act.

This article was written by Compose.ly writer Jean Myers.


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