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The right call to action can do wonders. All of the above are types of call to actions that I am sure you must have seen on webpages, newsletters, landing pages, social media posts, emails or even pop-up ads. Some of them you must have clicked on, but not all of them must have insisted you on taking action.


There are quite a few reasons CTAs do not work. Some of them are not written and designed keeping a defined goal in mind. And some of them may not say the things the reader wants to read which we will discuss later in this article.

This means there are some basic ways that marketers can follow to make their CTAs more compelling and drive results.

That’s why in this post I want to highlight what is a CTA, what are the types of CTAs depending on the end goal, what should a CTA include and how to write a CTA that gets higher CTR (Click Through Rate).

Let’s get started.

What is CTA?

A call to action can be a button or even a text to click, that encourages a viewer of a webpage, landing page, email, advertisement, a pop-up, or any piece of content to take action.

A CTA button or text closes the deal.

What could be the deal though? Is the CTA there to generate leads? Did it ask you to read more?

Let’s talk about the types of CTAs depending on their end goals.

Types of Calls-to-Action You Should Have on Your Website

Back in the day, I used to think of CTAs as buttons or links that can help me generate leads — used to sprinkle them in the articles that I write. However, later on, as I explored other ways, I realized that it is not where the story ends. In fact, it’s just the beginning. Calls to action, as discussed earlier, close the deal. Generating leads is one of the end goals that a CTA can have. What could be the others?

Let’s explore.

End Goal 1: Social Sharing

I do not the regular posts or the ads in the Facebook Messenger are proof that social media has a wider audience ink of social media to be just a fun place to share your thoughts anymore. Facebook ads, Instagram ads sliding in thand it means business. So why not utilize the platform to market your website and all of its posts and updates?

To encourage the audience of your website share any piece of your content with their friends via social media using a social sharing button is one of the easiest CTAs. The benefits? There is lower commitment and you can engage your existing customers and encourage them to start a conversation with their friends, reach your potential leads and potential visitors that might turn to regular visitors of your website. It’s a win-win.

Below, Buzzfeed uses social shares on one of their recent Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra at the 2019 Met Gala articles, making it easy to share on Facebook, Twitter, email, Tumblr or on copy. They have the same buttons at the end of the article too.

Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra at the 2019 Met Gala CTA Social media CTA Button

End Goal 2: Read More

A ‘Read more’ call to action button may be a conversion killer but there are better variations (which we will talk about later in this article) that you can use on any page of your website that displays content. It could be an About Us page, your blog or even a featured article.

This type of CTA is a great way to free up space on your homepage for other content. You will also have better control over the specific metrics, like traffic, instead of annoying a user and making them read the post in its entirety.

An example is how a CoSchedule article has a ‘Download now’ button that viewers can click to download further information regarding power words to use in headlines.

Download now CTA Button

End Goal 3: Event Promotion

If your company is holding a conference or conducting a webinar or even throwing a big event, then the CTA that is going to protome any of these is going to be an event CTA. Any CTA like that raises awareness of the event, drives ticket sales and is a must-have for your website. You can also use this CTA to attract a specific type of audience.

You can slide in such CTAs in your articles and blog posts, put it on the login or even the checkout page.

Below you’ll see that EventMB is highlighting one of their events in one of their articles.

Event promotion CTA Button

End Goal 4: Lead Generation

Lead generation CTAs are the ones that try to turn visitors of your website into leads. Since it is about generating leads, you should place these CTAs in a space of your website where there is high traffic.

It is observed that many people consider adding a CTA at the end of a blog post. Some also sprinkle one or two after every four or five paragraphs of a post. You can also place a CTA in a floating banner off to the side so viewers can subscribe to your content.

You have to make these eye-catching and give a message so that these CTAs do not go unnoticed.

An example of lead generating CTA would be how ProofHub tells their readers they can start a free trial to start managing their teams and projects efficiently right in the middle of one of their articles.

ProofHub Article CTA Button

End Goal 5: Form Submission

Form submission CTAs are the next step to the lead generation ones. People who have clicked on a lead generation CTA are likely to be taken to a different landing page that contains a form. Before they become a lead they will need to fill out that form.

You need your potential leads’ contact information sent to your database. So, it is important that you engage the user with a tempting yet straight-to-the-point form.

Below is the form that appears next to ProofHub’s lead generation CTA that is mentioned above.

Lead generation CTA Button

There are many types of CTAs that you could choose for your website. However, it is clear by now that all will be with a different and a defined end goal.

It is also clear by now that you can include multiple CTAs around different spaces and pages.

The thing that is not clear by now is what should you include in your CTAs?

This brings us to our next segment.

What Makes a Good Call-to-Action?

Call to actions were there even when people did not have that much of an access to digital media. Back in the days, however, the point of CTAs was not any different than how it is today.

Have a look at one of the old ads:

“Mangoes taste better when your diabetes is in check.

Enjoy the best of this mango season with *******.”

Now, about this CTA, three elements worked well:

No obligation: “Mangoes taste better when your diabetes is in check”, you have got nothing to lose if you keep your diabetes in check, in fact, it is a win-win.

  1. Usability: The copy directs the users to “Enjoy the best of this mango season.”
  2. Immediacy: The CTA uses the word “this mango season.”

I shudder to think of the awful conversion rates of the CTAs written back then since no matter how well-written the copy would be, if the reader doesn’t know where to mail or text to get something (let’s just say subscription to a magazine) in return, the campaign would go in vain.

A close look to a digital CTA would be:

Pop window CTA Button

Even so, all CTAs that I see, old or new, include three things that are important for any call to action to have:

  1. No obligation: “30 DAY FREE Trial” is in all caps, you like it you continue using it, you do not and it is still a win-win for the customer.
  2. Usability: The copy directs the users to click “Start Your 30 Day FREE Trial Now!”
  3. Immediacy: The CTA button uses the word “Now.”

These three elements work even today for any copy, regardless of the format.

Copywriting Techniques for a CTA That Converts

We all have read about the basics of writing good CTAs at one point or the other. And if not, they tell you to emphasize on low risk, strive for clarity, highlight secondary CTAs and establish credibility.

I talk about some twists to the CTAs except for the tips that I have mentioned above.

If you made it till here, you may not want to miss the next part.

The “Why Not?” Approach

The basic idea of the “why not” approach is that if you aim to address your target audience’s worries and remove the hurdles to action, you can create a sense that there is absolutely no reason to not try a product or services.

This increases the chances your readers will take action. Here’s how Netflix uses this logic on their homepage.

see what’s next CTA Button

Netflix insists that watchers have to “see what’s next”, they have absolutely nothing to lose as they can “watch free for 30 days” and it is illogical to not sign up since they can “watch anywhere” and “cancel any time” while they are on the trial period.

As you scroll down the page they use the same “why not” approach yet again.

call to action button

If you think your copy is not turning out to be tempting enough you can aim to shift the users’ mindset from “why” to “why not?”

The “Play on Emotions” Approach

Negative CTAs are here to stay. And there are many websites that use the same.

These CTAs usually follow the following approaches:

  1. Fear of Missing out (FOMO)
  2. Play-the-expert
  3. Guilt-tripping

The CTAs that try making the FOMO work for them are the ones that appeal to fear and frustration. The chances these CTAs work get higher when it is about sales or promotion. You have to make the user feel they are losing a good deal to other users. Great examples could be: “Try now. Millions already did” and “Last day to get 50% off”. Users need to win but they also want to get the reward before others do.

The second type of negative CTA is when you play the expert. You can make the reader feel they can depend on you. In this article ‘I know what you are going through’ and that is exactly the strategy you should use in your CTA. Are your CTA conversion rates low? I can help. What I am implying here is that you are in the right place and I am here to give you the solution you need. I am willing to help.

The third type of negative CTA I have come across is the one where you send the user to a guilt trip or confirm shame. You can use sarcasm in these. These CTAs are not everyone’s cup of tea. Sometimes they get (gasp!) offensive and that is very off-putting. Leave the user second-guessing. This way the user will have no choice but to click on your offer or promotion. This trick may go against the guidelines of marketers to drive conversions using only words that elicit positive emotions. However, when done right, it can bring you good results.

What to do when you want to send someone on a guilt trip is clear on Grammarly’s CTA given below:

Why “Read More” May Be Killing Conversions

Earlier in this article, we discussed the ‘read more’ CTAs and where they should be placed. However, the ‘read more’ phrase can be considered as one of the high ‘friction’ phrases. High friction phrases imply that your readers have to ‘work’. Readers do not want to click on something that gives them a sense of obligation. You can fix this and be specific about what exactly you want them to do.

Instead of ‘Read more’, you can use:

  1. Show Me More
  2. Tell Me More
  3. Find My _____ (eBook, Article, Guide)

How Do You Know If Your CTA Is Converting?

There are multiple ways you can check if your CTAs are working regardless you have put them on a pop-up, blog post, email, landing page, etc. I use website visitor analysis tools and so can you.

To make sure they are working well, you can also:

  • Use a Scroll Map

A scroll map helps you see how far people scroll down your page before they leave. You can use the data that it shows in your next CTAs too. If for a blog post the CTA is way before the user leaves the web page, you can consider placing the CTA slightly to the top.

  • 2. Use a Heat Map

To see how often users interact with your call to action you can use a heat map tool. They tell the number of views along with the number of clicks on the button and define engagement on the basis of colors red, yellow, green, blue, and orange.

Consider Having an A/B Testing for Your CTA

To make sure that the problems you have encountered are real, you can have an A/B test. You can publish two versions of your CTA to see which one performs better. If the CTA button’s color, for instance, does not glow enough for the user to notice it, you can change the color to see which one is more effective.

That’s all for today! Remember that the end goal is to make the readers want to act on what you present. Do you have your do’s and don’ts to writing good CTAs? You can let us know your tips on writing effective CTAs that have high CTRs too.

Read more: Tune Up Your Calls-to-Action