Good marketers know that your call to action plays a significant role in your response and conversion rates, both online and off. It would be great if you knew what the best call to action is for a given campaign; if you had, essentially, a shortcut to achieving more sales. However, if such a universally-guaranteed call to action existed, it’s fair to say it would be the only call to action you’d ever see on sales letters, brochures, websites and email blasts. That’s obviously not the case, which begs the question: what, exactly, is the best call to action?

call to action

First, it’s important to understand exactly what a call to action is. Your call to action is the copy and visual elements you use to tell potential customers what to do next – how to take the next step in the purchasing process. You’ve seen many calls to action:  “buy now,” “call today,” “see plans and pricing,” “join now,” “sign up,” “start your free trial” and more. Variation in calls to action isn’t difficult to find; simply browse through marketing materials and you’ll find dozens of examples. And with a bit of research, you’ll find examples of calls to action that worked well for their campaigns.

In one well-known case study, 37signals changed their call to action from asking users to sign up for a free trial to copy that read “see plans and pricing.” This seemingly simple change resulted in a whopping 200 percent increase in response rate. It seems logical that incorporating the same change into your marketing materials would net a similar result; however, Crazy Egg did just that and reported a 10 percent decrease in response rate. Thus, we can’t say that this call to action is the best; only that it is the best 37signals has found.

The reason there is no universally-guaranteed call to action is because there are so many variables to consider. They include:

  • your target customer
  • they type of product, service and payment model
  • your marketing medium
  • your entire design and copy, not just your call to action
  • your call to action size and color
  • your call to action position
  • and, of course, your call to action copy

The only way to truly know which call to action yields the best response rate for your campaign is to conduct A/B testing. I recommend researching competitors and other companies who share your target customer base to see what calls to action they use. See if you can define established trends in your industry.

Next, come up with your own calls to action independent from what has already been established. Then, conduct small-scale A/B testing to determine which call to action returns the best response rate. In this manner, you will be able to maximize your ROI with predictable results from future marketing campaigns.

There are many powerful and effective calls to action, but not all of them will work well for you. Experiment with your marketing materials and conduct A/B testing to find out which call to action wins the most customers.