- Convey Value
Your CTA should answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” Think about the top two or three benefits of your offer, and try to list them in order of priority. Then, pick the most critical one, and shorten it to just a few words. In that way, you will highlight the key point of engagement and ensure there is alignment between your ad and the offer. Such an exercise could result in calls-to-actions along the lines of “Optimize Your CTAs in 10 Minutes/Day” or “Find Out the 13 Secrets to CTA Optimization.” As Copyblogger’s founder Brian Clark advises, “Never allow readers to question why they are bothering to pay attention.”
- Create Urgency
Creating urgency is another quality your calls-to-action need to adopt. In order to effectively create urgency, you need to answer your visitors’ question of “Why should I do this today?” You can create urgency in a few different ways. For instance, you can emphasize seasonality, special discounts, or even use adverbs like “now” and “today.” One example of such a call-to-action would be “Join Our Newsletter Today for Access to All Marketing Goodness.”
- Make it Personal
Personalization of calls-to-action is tricky…but not impossible. If you know where on your website the visitor currently is and what they are reading, you’re more or less familiar with their preferences and needs. For example, if they are on your About Us page, they are probably looking to discover more information about your company. So the CTA here could point visitors to your careers page with a nice personal touch like “Like our culture? Become a part of it!”
- Include Testimonials
Testimonials are really effective as calls-to-action, because they offer a third-party endorsement and motivate visitors to take the next step and click through to your landing page. A customer quotation can often capture all the information a prospective customer needs to know. That is why, currently on HubSpot’s homepage, we feature testimonials of the success our customers have experienced from using our software. While testimonials are most frequently used for products with longer sales cycles (like those of B2B companies), B2C companies and nonprofits can also experiment with this tactic.
- Include Numbers
Another best practice around writing calls-to-action is to include numbers. “When people are on the web, they are looking for specificity,” says Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella. In this context, data points help you cut through the clutter of vague content online and convey a strong message. If the goal of your call-to-action is to grow your email database, you can invite people to subscribe by informing them of the number of recipients you currently have. If you are promoting an ebook or a whitepaper, you might want to mention its length. You can take that concept and start including data around your customer base, industry reports, and more. Statistics convey credibility and present you as an industry expert.
- Turn it Into a Bonus
Oftentimes, the goal of your call-to-action is to keep visitors engaged on your website, jumping from one page to the next. You can accomplish this by introducing your CTAs as bonus offers or opportunities to get more out of another campaign. For example, if a visitor just downloaded your newsletter, you can send them an email with a call-to-action that is introduced as a special bonus based on your visitor’s activity. An example of this would be text along the lines of, “Thanks for downloading our ebook about optimizing calls-to-action. You now have access to our additional resources on website optimization.”
- Make it Newsworthy
If you are feeling especially creative with your calls-to-action, try to piggyback on newsworthy content. Is there something in the news that could pertain to your industry or offers? You could also put a fun or controversial spin on it. Start by setting up Google Alerts for some industry keywords related to your business. Each morning, visit Google News and search for news stories that are related to your expertise.
- Be Confident in Your Language
Be confident when you promise your visitors to help them with their challenges. As Clark advises, “Be bold and firm when you present your offer, and relieve the reader’s risk of acceptance by standing behind what you say.” An example of this would be a call-to-action along the lines of “Everything You Need to Know About Calls-to-Action” or “The Only Call-to-Action Guide You Need.”
- Ask Questions
Another tactic in crafting your calls-to-action is to use a compelling question, followed by a short response. This is a good copywriting tip across different marketing aspects — emails, blog posts, and landing pages. Questions serve to predict what visitors might be interested in and pique their interest even more.
- Be Subtle
Smart and subtle language can also help you generate a high click-through rate on your call-to-action. “People like to think that everything they do comes from some logical, un-manipulateable part of their own brain,” Dan Zarrella explains. The point here, Dan adds, is that “you should make them want to do it in such a way that it feels like the idea was their own.” So experiment with language that is less commanding and more thought-provoking.