6 Simple Rules For Calls-To-Action That Convert (With Examples)

6-simple-rules-for-calls-to-action-that-convert-(with-examples)

Are you tired of watching your website traffic turn into nothing more than a bunch of tire kickers?

With killer call-to-actions, it's time to turn those passive site visitors into paying customers.

Using the call-to-action examples and tips in this article, I’ll show you

  1. how to craft compelling headlines,
  2. use bold colors to grab attention,
  3. and utilize other tried-and-true techniques to motivate your target audience to take action.

What Is A Call-To-Action (CTA)?

Whether it's presented as a button, link, or banner, a CTA is an instruction or suggestion designed to encourage users to take specific actions that align with your business or organization's goals.

The best call-to-actions ultimately drive conversions.

For this reason, CTAs are purposefully designed to be persuasive, eye-catching, and prominently placed to grab a potential customer's attention. The best-performing CTAs provide concise, informative language that is easy to understand and precisely conveys the desired action.

Later, we'll break down best-in-class call-to-action examples to see exactly what effective calls-to-action look like in practice. For now, though, let's jump into what factors make a good CTA.

Why should you create a strong call to action?

Research has repeatedly shown that optimized CTAs are valuable for driving conversions and moving potential customers along the buying process.

Here are a few key takeaways from the currently available research:

  • This case study found emails containing a single CTA increased clicks by 371 percent and sales by 1617 percent.
  • Another case study found across all industries, CTA buttons received the highest average click-through rate (CTR) with 5.31 percent, designed-based CTAs averaged a 3.53 percent CTR, and text-based CTAs averaged 2.06 percent CTR.
  • This study concluded that CTA placement significantly affects conversion rates (CVR). Sidebar CTAs saw 0.5-1.5 percent CVR, generic end of post-CTAs 0.5-1.5 percent CVR, pop-ups 1-8 percent CVR, sliders/bars 1-5 percent CVR, welcome gates 10-25 percent CVR, and feature box 3-9 percent CVR.

The Most Common Types Of CTAs

Now that we've covered what makes a compelling CTA let's break down the different types of CTAs:

CTA

Description

Example Phrases

Lead-generation

A lead-generation CTA is designed to lead a potential customer to a form or landing page. For this reason, lead-generation CTAs are typically placed at the end of a blog post, embedded within a website banner, or placed on a landing page.

“Claim your free sample,” “Join our community,” and “Sign up for a webinar.”

Lead nurture

A lead nurture CTA promotes offers to engage with potential customers who have shown interest in a product or service but are not yet ready to purchase. These CTAs are often displayed on pages or posts frequently visited by leads, such as blog posts or thank-you pages.

“Download our e-book,” “See the case study,” and “Take the next step.”

Form submission

A form submission CTA prompts users to fill out and submit a form. Typically, this CTA type captures a user’s name, email address, or other contact information in exchange for access to a valuable resource, such as an e-book, webinar, or newsletter.

“Fill out our survey,” “Sign up for your free account,” and “Claim your free trial.”

Social sharing

A social sharing CTA encourages users to share content on their social media accounts, such as a blog post or a product page. This type of CTA increases the reach and visibility of a piece of content.

“Share this with your friends,” “Click to tweet this,” and “Pin this for later.”

Event registration

An event promotion CTA promotes an event and encourages people to attend. This type of CTA can be displayed in various places depending on the target audience, such as on a customer login page or dashboard, on a receipt page, or in a blog sidebar to raise awareness of the event and drive attendance.

“Reserve your spot,” “Register today,” and “Get your ticket.”

Read more

A “Read More” CTA is often displayed within a preview of, say, a blog snippet and is used to hook readers into reading the full post.

“Explore more,” “Continue reading,” and “Get the full story.”

Email subscription

An email subscription CTA encourages users to sign up for an email newsletter or other email marketing campaign. This type of CTA can be used to capture email leads and guide users into a drip campaign.

“Join our email list,” “Sign up for our newsletter,” and “Stay in touch.”

Free trial or demo

A free trial or demo call-to-action invites users to try out a product or service without requiring a financial commitment. These CTAs aim to convince users to try out a product or service and then upsell them on a paid version once they have had a chance to see its benefits.

“Start your free trial,”

“Get a free demo,” and “Try it out for free.”

Related content

A related content call-to-action directs users to additional, related content to keep them on the website and push them further down the sales funnel. These CTAs can be placed within the content of a page, such as between different sections of a blog post or in the sidebar.

“You might also like,” “Learn more,” and “Related articles.”

Contact us

A contact us call-to-action directs users to a page where they can contact the sales team to make a purchase. These CTAs are often used at the end of a lead generation or lead nurturing process. They should be designed to create a sense of urgency, highlight the benefits and impact of the product, and build fear of missing out to encourage users to make a purchase.

“Schedule a call,” “Get in touch,” and “Shoot us a message.”

How To Write A Call-To-Action

To create a powerful CTA that appeals to your target audience, you should consider these key factors: identifying language use, placement, and action orientation that best promote your brand's unique products or services.

Here are some tips to help you create calls-to-action that really pack a punch:

Provoke emotion or enthusiasm

Emotional appeals are powerful marketing tools that tap into our basic desires and motivational tendencies. For this reason, emotional appeals are more effective at influencing behavior than rational arguments.

For instance, a CTA that speaks to a potential customer's sense of curiosity, such as “Discover the secrets to [X],” “Unlock the full potential of [Y],” or “Tell the world,” is effective at capturing their enthusiasm and motivating them to take decisive action.

meundies cta (1)

Why exactly is this so important?

Well, our own research revealed that appealing to a user’s emotions, like the use of language similar to the examples in the above paragraph, increased call-to-action button clicks by 34 percent.

Further highlighting the power of provoking emotions, research from HubSpot revealed that personalized calls-to-action are 202 percent more effective at securing conversions than generic CTAs.

On the other hand, a CTA that is dull or uninspiring is likely to be ignored or overlooked.

A well-designed CTA can be the difference between a customer taking action or bouncing from your website. So don't be afraid to get creative and tap into your audience's emotions—that’s what converts the best.

Use strong action words

Incorporating strong and compelling action words in your CTAs will motivate your audience to take immediate action.

As will straightforward language.

Concise verbiage makes it easy for users to understand what you want them to do. This clarity will guide your audience toward the desired action.

For example, when crafting a CTA, avoid generic words such as “Submit” or “Order.” Instead, incorporate power words such as “Share,” “Shop,” and “Refer.”

casper cta (1)

Your choice of language should also align with your business' niche and appeal to your target audience for maximum effectiveness.

For example, if a CTA is aimed at budget-conscious customers, it might say “Save Now” or “Affordable Pricing.” If the target audience is tech-savvy, businesses can use words like “Upgrade” or “Latest” to appeal to the user's desire for new, cutting-edge technology.

In short, keep it simple and make sure it's appealing. It's all about finding the perfect balance.

Create a sense of urgency

Do you want visitors to take immediate action? Use language that implies a sense of immediacy, like “Now,” “Get,” and “Today” in your CTAs. These words will guide visitors in the direction you wish them to take while also giving an urgent boost to your message.

For example, a CTA that evokes a sense of urgency or enthusiasm through the use of phrases like “Limited time offer,” “Hurry, only a few left,” or, in the case of the example below, “Don’t miss your chance to get $100” will motivate users to take action.

Why?

They won’t want to miss out on what they perceive as a finite opportunity.

smile direct club cta

What's more, pairing action-enticing verbiage with attractive visuals will make sure your CTAs really pop.

Like in the SmileDirect example above. The strong copy paired with the visualization of a $100 Amazon gift card + a pair of aligners gets the reader's attention when the words can’t.

Visuals capture website visitors’ attention and provide context for what they should do next. This could be anything from images that reinforce your brand's message or visually appealing designs that draw attention to the copy associated with the CTA.

If done correctly, these two elements help increase conversions and create more value for your business.

Keep your CTA above the fold

When launching a campaign or promotion, keep your call-to-action (CTA) highly visible and easily accessible to your users.

This is particularly important in referral marketing, where impulse referrals—when a customer spontaneously recommends a product or service to their friends or family—are the aim of the game.

You can see one of our customers, Peach & Lily, does this by putting a CTA both in their website banner and front-and-center on their referral landing page.

peach & lily cta (1)

This is no coincidence; this is one of recommended best practices. It doesn’t just apply to referral marketing, though. The same principles apply to all calls-to-action.

To make your CTAs as influential as possible, they should be placed “above the fold” on your website or referral landing pages. This means a CTA should be visible on the screen without the user having to scroll down past the screen's bottom edge (AKA “the fold”).

Don't make the mistake of burying your referral program's CTA in your website's footer or making it difficult for users to find. The best call-to-actions are placed proudly and prominently, making it easy for users to take action.

Use a call-to-value instead of a call-to-action

Call-to-values (CTVs) are the newest form of influential and impactful CTAs. This type of CTA focuses on the value that customers can expect to receive when they take action and not on the action itself.

Think of it like this: CTVs are like a sales pitch highlighting the benefits and value a customer can expect when taking action rather than just focusing on the action itself.

In other words, a call-to-value includes a value proposition. This statement clearly and concisely communicates the benefits and value that a product or service offers to a potential customer.

For example, instead of simply saying, “An offer just for you,” a call-to-value might sound like:

  • “Relish in the peace of mind that comes with (X),”
  • “Take control of your future with (Y),”
  • “Unlock a world of abundance with the help of (Z).”

Getaway House paints a picture of tranquility and even asks the reader to remember the last time “you got out of the city”.

getaway house cta (1)

This value proposition is a strong one and so Getaway focuses on that. Do what you gotta do to accrue enough credits for your escape and don’t forget about how good it felt.

Then they get to the nitty-gritty of the referral program and use a clear and concise “Start Referring” to seal the deal.

Keep in mind call-to-values should be used where it’s contextually relevant. A statement like “Take control of your future” could be a CTAs headline, while the CTA button should remain concise with language like “sign up now.”

Use “surprise and delight” to get their attention

The “surprise and delight” tactic for a call to action is a popular marketing technique that aims to exceed the expectations of your audience in a positive way. The idea is to offer your audience something unexpected and delightful, which can create a memorable experience that encourages them to take action.

This tactic works because it creates a positive emotional connection with your audience. By providing something unexpected and delightful, you can create a sense of gratitude and reciprocity. 

It’s totally a thing. By offering something that makes their moment marginally better than it was moments before, they’ll feel more inclined to do you a favor.

In fact, in this study, entertainment was a leading driving factor in electronic Word-of-Mouth.

So was community driveness. 

We love Outdoor Voices *chef’s kiss* masterpiece of a CTA.

outdoor voices cta
It ticks all the boxes:
Community driven (data-driven conversion tactic!)
✅ Sparks emotions (puppies!)
✅ Focuses on the value proposition (friends!)

So, go ahead. Make them smile or giggle or reminisce about their favorite things for a moment.

Your audience may feel more inclined to engage with your brand, share your content, or take the desired action because they appreciate the positive experience you provided.

Here are some examples of how the “surprise and delight” tactic can be used in a call to action:

  1. Humorous or Clever Content: Create humorous or clever content that catches your audience off guard and elicits a positive reaction. This could be a funny social media post or a clever advertising campaign that plays with people's expectations.
  2. Surprise and Delight Gifts: Offer a small, unexpected gift or discount code to customers who make a purchase or take a specific action, such as signing up for a newsletter or following your brand on social media.
  3. Personalized Experiences: Create personalized experiences for your customers by tailoring your content or services to their interests or preferences. For example, a music streaming service could create a personalized playlist for a user based on their listening history.
  4. Unexpected Rewards: Surprise your audience with unexpected rewards, such as a free upgrade or access to exclusive content. For example, an airline might upgrade a passenger to first class as a surprise reward for their loyalty.

Overall, the key to a successful “surprise and delight” call to action is to offer something unexpected and memorable that creates a positive emotional connection with your audience. By doing so, you can increase the likelihood that they will engage with your brand and take the desired action.

Call-To-Action Examples

Now we've tackled the elements that make a CTA effective, let's use the below call-to-action examples to see what this looks like in practice.

Effective CTA button examples

As we’ve discovered, the most effective CTAs, CTA buttons included, use action-oriented language and communicate the value of the action you want the reader to take.

Outdoor Voices makes another appearance in this post with their referral landing page.

OV landing page cta (1)Outdoor Voices’ referral landing page is an excellent example of this approach.

Their CTA button’s positioning and word choice, coupled with the CTA description and heading, communicate to website visitors that completing the sign-up process and sharing the Outdoor Voices referral link will earn them $20 store credit and grant their Friends the same benefit.

CTA Button/Phrase: “Start Sharing”
What we like about it: Focusing on the community feeling is a smart move. They really highlight the point with their CTA “Start Sharing”.
How to replicate this:

  • Create a clear and concise headline that makes sense of and communicates the value of the action.
  • Highlight incentives for the Advocate (referrer) and the Friend (referred).
  • Design a referral program page consistent with the brand's overall style.

Things to A/B test:

  • The button color. Test different colors to see which leads to the most conversions.
  • Language. Create different word choice variations, test, and determine which performs best.
  • The button size. Test larger buttons against smaller ones to see which one receives more clicks.
  • The button placement. Test different placements on your website or landing page to see which leads to the most conversions.

Website call to action examples

When it comes to web design, it's hard to ignore the importance of website CTAs, or calls-to-action. They're those little buttons that appear in various locations on a website and encourage users to take specific actions.

Whether it's clicking on a link, purchasing a product, or signing up for a newsletter, CTAs are responsible for driving conversions and generating more customers. 

Afterpay cleverly uses this opportunity to encourage app downloads to join their referral program.

afterpay landing page cta (1)

Then they break down the steps in cute illustrations with fun copy, cashing in on the “surprise and delight” tactic we talked about earlier.

afterpay surprise and delight (1)

Their refer-a-friend page uses several best practices, from simple, action-oriented phrasing to screen-wide, in-your-face design. The CTA heading and description are concise and unambiguous. While the page’s CTA button, located front and center, gives users a compelling reason to take action while reinforcing the value of doing so.

CTA Button/Phrase: “Scan the QR code to start inviting friends today.
What we like about it: Its bold, bright, striking design is impossible to miss, and the QR code that leads to an app download is another *chef's kiss*.
How to replicate this:

  • Create an eye-catching design that stands out from the other elements on the page.
  • Try a different type of CTA, like a QR code, to increase both visibility and engagement.
  • Provide limited navigational options to increase the likelihood of conversions.

Things to A/B test:

  • Imagery. Testing different imagery or graphics for the CTA will determine which visual elements are more effective at drawing attention and driving conversions.
  • Headline. The headline is often the first element a website visitor notices, so it's essential to make it clear, compelling, and action-oriented.
  • Font. Testing and determining a font that is easy to read, visually appealing, and appropriate for the CTA's desired tone and message can help increase its effectiveness.
  • The button shape. Testing the QR code could be a fun experiment with interesting results.

Call-to-action examples that use high-converting phrases

To maximize conversion rates, it's important to use compelling CTA phrases. MeUndies cuts to the chase with a strong value proposition in three simple words: “Get Free Undies.”

meundies footer cta on account page (1)

Just below the pitch are the details of the sweet offer in one sentence. Then the referral link is right there, ready to be copied. 

It's a quick and dirty CTA that brings in a decent amount of new customers every month.

CTA Button/Phrase: “Get Free Undies”
What we like about it: This CTA gets to the details fast
How to replicate this:

  • Provide a tangible reward that encourages visitors to take action.
  • Highlighting the value of the promotion for customers will increase conversions.
  • Keep the language clear and concise while communicating the value of the action you wish customers to take.

Things to A/B test:

  • Persuasive language. Social proof, scarcity, and urgency will motivate the audience to take action, so test different verbiage variations to determine which performs best.
  • Placement. Altering the placement of a CTA, such as above the fold or in a menu bar, will help to determine which location increases its effectiveness.
  • The button text. Test whether strong action words motivate your target audience against persuasive language.
  • Imagery. Determining relevant visuals that appeal to your audience is a powerful tool for boosting engagement and conversions.
  • Target audience. Showing different CTAs to new users versus returning users will effectively tailor the message and increase conversions.

Call-to-action examples on social media

Incorporating compelling call-to-action phrases in your social media marketing efforts is a powerful way to make use of your social media audience.

The Spice House takes advantage of their Instagram views by periodically sharing a CTA for their referral program, product launches, and other marketing campaigns.

instagram cta (1)

The specific language used in the CTA, “Get 15% for every friend you refer,” highlights the value that the user will receive if they swipe up.

The words “friend” and “you” personalize the message and make it more relatable, which can be a powerful way to increase conversions.

It's not a flashy CTA but it's clear and simple, making it perfect for popping into social media periodically.

CTA Button/Phrase: “Get 15% for every friend you refer”
What we like about it: It's clear what the offer is and what's expected of the viewer. The image makes it easy for the viewer to imagine him or herself benefitting from more spices for 15% off.
How to replicate this:

  • Offer a compelling reward to motivate action and increase conversions.
  • Incorporate personalization elements to make the message more relatable.
  • Stick to on-branding messaging and imagery—particularly important to IG, where visual communication is key to ensuring your CTA resonates with your target audience.

Things to A/B test:

  • Verbiage. By carefully selecting the right words and phrases, businesses can craft a CTA that effectively guides users toward the desired outcome.
  • Visuals. By carefully selecting relevant and visually appealing visuals, businesses can increase users' chances to notice and interact with the CTA.
  • Colors. Different colors evoke different emotions and associations, so it's essential to choose colors that align with the desired message and tone of the CTA.
  • Font. Choosing a font that is easy to read and visually appealing can help increase the CTA's effectiveness.

Call to action examples in digital marketing

Digital marketing is basically anything that connects your content to a user and CTAs are the sturdy bridge that connects the two and drives conversions. Take SPANX for example. 

spanx website cta (1)

The Spanx referral program website ribbon and promotion in its website header menu are excellent examples of standard, yet extremely effective, calls-to-action in digital marketing.

Both elements are highly visible and immediately capture the user's attention. Using an on-brand colored ribbon design and bold, action-oriented language, such as “Get $10,” effectively communicates the value and benefits of the referral program and motivates users to take action.

Complementing the website ribbon, a menu CTA is prominently in the header, a key location for capturing the user's attention and driving referrals.

CTA Button/Phrase: “Get $10 off: Find Out How”
What we like about it: SPANX's consistent design and message throughout the website reinforces its brand identity and helps to create a cohesive user experience.
How to replicate this:

  • Utilizing a prominent and visually appealing design, such as a ribbon, businesses can effectively draw attention to their referral program and motivate users to take action.
  • Incorporating clear, action-oriented language in your marketing efforts guides users toward the desired action and increases conversions.
  • Maintaining consistency in the design and messaging across all marketing channels reinforces brand identity and creates a cohesive user experience.

Things to A/B test:

  • Design. The ribbon and menu CTAs could be A/B tested to determine which elements, such as color, size, and layout, are most effective at capturing the user's attention and driving conversions.
  • Language. The action-oriented language used in the CTAs could be A/B tested to determine which phrases and words are most effective at motivating users to take action.
  • Placement. The placement of the ribbon and menu CTAs on the website could be tested to determine which location is most effective at capturing the user's attention and driving conversions.
  • Personalization. The use of personalization in the CTAs, such as the word “friend,” can be tested to determine its impact on conversions.

The Bottom Line

No matter what all of the “rules” say, you’ll still need to test and find what works for your audience. We love A/B testing so much that we built it right into our software! Give it a try and share with us what worked for you. Interested in boosting your brand’s revenue? Book a call with our team to learn more about referral and loyalty marketing.

See how Tonal drives up to 7% of online revenue with a Friendbuy-powered referral program

This originally appeared on Friendbuy and is made available here to cast a wider net of discovery.
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