How to write an effective Call To Action

“Why don’t you click me?” is the sad short story of an online button. On the buttons, in fact, we find the texts calling for action (Call to Action): these are short written contents which, precisely because of their small size, we could call micro-texts. Despite their brevity, however, CTAs play a fundamental role in the success of a digital strategy.

When writing any type of content on the internet, in fact, the CTA is one of the most important aspects, to which maximum attention must be paid. Small pieces of text and short words can make a big difference in the conversion process.

Call To Action: meaning and importance

A Call To Action (also known simply as a CTA) is a written directive used on websites, apps, landing pages, creatives, and advertisements. It helps to encourage users to take action functional to advancement in the customer journey.

A CTA can come in the form of:

  • Text with hyperlink
  • Button
  • Text only, no links

“Buy Today” or “Download Now” are two very common examples, but the possibilities are truly endless and the Call To Actions can also be longer.

CTAs aren’t the only microtext we find online

Micro-texts, as the name suggests, are small portions of written content that appear on the web: from sites to apps, to ads. In addition to the CTAs, we can find micro-texts online:

  • In error messages
  • In the descriptions below the pictures
  • On the order confirmation pages
  • In tooltips (e.g. password hints)
  • In the pop-ups relating to cookies

These are textual components that may seem unimportant, but they play a crucial role: they are all useful elements.

In short, micro-texts can make the difference when it comes to completing an order or leaving the page: they can make a business gain or lose money. This is especially true when it comes to buttons and CTAs.

Call To Action: effective examples

What makes a CTA a good CTA, and conversely, what makes a CTA a bad CTA?

An ineffective Call To Action is not descriptive: it does not say what you get after clicking on the button or link. The reader has no incentive to click nor is it clear what page they would land on if they did. Buttons are supposed to help users navigate a website, but some are just confusing: although copywriters, editors and UX designers hope that visitors will read every single word they have, with effort and after a lot of research, written, this almost never happens. Users scroll directly to the parts of their interest, and when they already know what they are looking for, they want to quickly get to the button that will take them to the desired page. On the “Contacts” page, for example, the reader expects to find a button that really gives the possibility to… Contact. On the page of a product, however, the expectation is directed to a button that allows you to complete the purchase.

Let’s take the example of the “Contacts” page: a CTA with “Find out more” will not be clicked as much as one with “Write to us”.

A good Call To Action, for its part, is clear. It says, without beating about the bush, what result is obtained by clicking, without the user having doubts about the page on which he will land. A few examples? On a product page we can find “Add to cart”, or in a blog that talks about advertising, we can come across “Read the article on how to advertise on Spotify“.

We talked about “good CTA”, because generally there is only one Call To Action. There are, however, cases where it is useful to enter two – one primary and one secondary. It is essential that the most important one stands out, but nothing prevents it from being joined by another CTA on which you still want to focus.

Let’s take an example: in a corporate site that gives a lot of importance to information on products or services, but which also has many products and services that can be navigated, it makes sense to insert two CTAs on the homepage:

  • One, the main one, which refers to the “About us” page
  • A secondary that leads to products or services

They will be of different colors, so that the one on which you want to focus more attracts more attention.

Why users might ignore a CTA

Whether it’s a link or a button, when you create a Call To Action you want the visitor to click. The reasons behind the click hunger can be different: we want users to subscribe to the newsletter, buy a product or read an article, or we want to share more information with them. But, regardless of the reason, the nature of a CTA remains to lead to action. Call To Action, after all, means an invitation to action. And a poorly written CTA leads to no action, no clicks.

But why do users ignore our precious Calls To Action?

  • They are badly positioned. CTAs should not be hidden in the middle of the content: they should be at the top of the page (for those who don’t want to scroll) and also at the bottom (for those who have finished reading all the text).
  • They don’t stand out. Have you ever read a piece of content where only one word contains a link? And have you ever thought that that little link stuck in the middle of a sentence was important and deserved a click? You are not alone, no one has ever thought of it.
  • They are not descriptive. CTAs must make it clear what happens after the click: no one clicks on buttons that also force you to speculate.
  • They are not a different color. Call To Actions must stand out, and a link of the same color as the text surrounding it will get lost in the flow of words and go unnoticed.
  • They are not a bigger size. A discussion similar to that made on color can also be made on the size of the CTAs: they must attract attention, and size and bold are helpful.

Another tip, then, is to customize the CTAs, creating them ad hoc for each landing page. True: you could make a list of standard words that can be used to improve the conversion rate (from “Get started” to the aforementioned “Download”). However, the text of a Call To Action is surrounded by other portions of content, equally important, to which the microtext must be pertinently linked.

The important thing is to keep the words simple, so that the reader can perform an action with full knowledge of the facts.

How do you write an effective Call To Action?

Not all micro-texts are designed to convert: let’s think, for example, of cookie pop-ups. Having a specific goal in mind is crucial, however, for those micro-texts that need to convert, such as CTAs.

A mindset to adopt before writing a Call To Action could be, for example, that of a clean slate: we imagine that users do not have the slightest idea what our website is about – they have never seen it before and maybe they never even bought anything online. We must think that visitors could be sitting on the sofa after a long and tiring day of work, without any desire to think too much: this is why the keys, the micro-texts, the CTAs must be immediately understandable. Visitors will click.

Are your readers still not clicking? You need our help: contact us, we have a team of copywriters ready to come to your rescue by writing not only CTAs that convert, but also landing pages that sell. Our secret? Having found a balance between obligation and the perception of urgency: we absolutely do not want to force readers to take action … But we manage to convey the compelling desire to click immediately.


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