Everything on your landing page leads to this moment – – > inspiring your reader to click that call-to-action (CTA) button.

Your landing page has painted a specific vision of the wonderful future that awaits the reader once they click that button. Now it’s up to your CTA button to seal the deal. Does the button make it easy for your reader to click, or plunge him into a morass of Hamlet-like indecision?

The CTA copy on your button, while short, directly impacts your click through rate (CTR). The placement and design of your CTA button also have an impact, but here we’re going to focus on the text.

Pairing Nicely with Your Headline

To Be or Not to Be - CTA

Good CTA copy shares some qualities of a good headline. You want to keep it short, less than 150 characters. You also need to give the reader a good reason to click. The underlying question of every headline and CTA button is – why should this reader click? What’s the value of taking action to the reader? While your headline teases with possibility, your CTA button copy answers that call.

Let’s take a look at Copyblogger’s membership landing page headline:

Call to Action Question - CTA

And now it’s CTA button:

Call to Action Question - CTA

The headline makes the promise – you can become a content marketing expert! How? The CTA button answers – join Copyblogger Authority.

What does this mean for your CTA button copy?

First, it means that your CTA button copy isn’t going to accomplish much on its own. From the headline, to subheaders, to body content, your landing page has to be building the expectation and anticipation of the real value your visitor will receive for taking action.

The CTA button is there to seal the deal, not to make it.

So your CTA button’s copy must align with the benefit promise of that page’s headline and copy. Ideally, you’ve clarified the interests and pain points of the specific audience for this specific landing page in order to write the rest of the copy. This is the same information to use when crafting your CTA copy.

Words, Words, Words

OK, let’s get to the actual words that work well:

Action-oriented verbs are always great places to start. However not all commands are created equal. Since you want your CTA copy to explain the value of the action, command words that describe that value will often do better than action words that focus on what the reader has to do. In one case study, changing copy from “Order Information and Prices” to “Get Information and Prices” resulted in 14.79% increase in conversions. In another test on a SaaS landing page, “See demo” outperformed “Test it out.

Why? Because the outperforming options told the reader what they’ll – well – get. “Order” and “Test” put the onus on the reader, on what they must do and not on the value they’ll receive.

So instead of starting with an action verb that’s commanding the reader to do something, select an action verb that gives them something. Compare:

Example #1: “Request a free quote”v”Receive a free quote”

Include numbers. Numbers make the benefit quantifiable, which makes it more credible and real in your visitor’s mind.

Example #2: “Receive your ebook filled with carb-free recipes” v “Enjoy these 27 carb-free recipes”

Use the first person. The CTA button is all about the reader taking action, so put the copy in her perspective. Numerous tests have shown that using “my” instead of “you” boosts conversion rates. Let’s refine Example #1 this way: “Receive my free quote.”

A CTA’s Most Important Words: “A/B Test”!

If there is one default CTA word, it’s “Submit.” It accurately describes any landing page situation; your reader is submitting information. When HubSpot looked at over 40,000 of their customers’ landing pages, they found that CTA buttons with “submit” underperformed those without that word.

CTA words that did even worse? “Download” and “Register”

However, in a separate HubSpot test of one specific landing page, it compared “Download Now” against “Get My Free Ebook Now.” The results…. “Download Now” had triple the CTR than the other option.

Now all the testing reviewed to this point told us that “Get My Free Ebook” should have done better.

What does this mean for your CTA button copy?

Test, test, test. Our touchstone for all landing page copy, including the CTA copy, is that it’s specific to the needs and interests of that page’s targeted audience. So all best practices notwithstanding, the best practice for any given landing page is the CTA button that provides the best results.

Start with these solid guidelines and then test the hell out of it. Even if you’re happy with the CTR on one page, test out if it could be better.

CTAs That Don’t Lose the Name of Action

Here is your cheat sheet so your CTA copy keeps the currents flowing towards action:

  • Fulfill the specific promise of your landing page’s headline; this keeps your CTA copy aligned with the vision of benefits presented throughout the page
  • Start with action-oriented verbs that describe what the reader will get, not what they have to do
  • Including numbers enhances the credibility of the copy
  • Writing in the first person helps paint of the picture of what the value the action-taker will get
  • Continually A/B test

What CTA button copy is working best for you? What changes have you made to CTA button copy that moved things up or down? Let me know what your CTA copy is doing in the Comments area below.