How to write a call to action that packs a punch

13 October 2015




Can you count the number of times in your working day, and even in your day-to- day life where you need to ask someone to do something for you? How often do you need to appeal to another’s sensibilities in order to get them to act? It could be as simple as getting your youngest to take out the garbage, or as complex as getting your team to submit a piece of work on time. In all of these instances, you are communicating in such as way to get them to do what you want, to get them to act.

The art of persuasion is at work here and while some traditional methods such as the use of convincing language will always have value, things get trickier when you consider the sheer amount of competing content out there on the web.

It’s no surprise then that marketers have developed some tried and tested methods for writing an effective CTA or Call To Action. Today, a CTA represents a link between the content your audience is potentially interested in a separate landing page or form where the audience completes a ‘next step.’ From getting people to accept an invite to an event or webinar, clicking to register for information, download a document or buy your product or service; the success of the CTA means you have your customers, team members, suppliers, subscribers taking that next step.

Let’s have a look at how you can make CTAs in your marketing, social media and internal communications more powerful.

1. Font size & colour is important

When you look at the page you need to apply some UX (User Experience) thinking: when looking at a web page, where are your customers most likely to look. Then you need to consider the size, colour font and text of the CTA. Making it stand out is absolutely what you want. Bold works best and bright colours are also effective.
Take a look at one of our CTA’s with client CSG:

CSG how to write a call to action


2. Create a sense of urgency

This becomes increasingly important if your CTA is part of an online advertisement.  Using language such as ‘Sign up today’ or ‘Don’t miss out on this unique offer’, can greatly impact your audience to act.

3. Communicate Value

Perhaps the most important point, you want to indicate value to your audience. What will they receive when they proceed to the next step? What can they expect? This is the next line in the CTA, often following on from that sense of urgency, for example:

“Sign up today for you chance to receive exclusive offers and one off specials.”

This is key in answering the question “what’s in it for me”. Brand and the Unique Selling Proposition  (USP) of your product/service also come into play here. The overall content and messaging provided in the web page, newsletter, article or invite needs to remain consistent, informative and persuasive.


4. Simplicity, directional cues, numbers & facts

Your CTA needs to be short, precise and to the point. In short, apply the KISS principal – Keep It Simple Stupid. Assume your audience doesn’t have time to think, make it easy for them to act!
It also helps to utilize facts and figures where relevant and possible, this includes price and discount rates where applicable, as consumers tend to respond better to more factual, tangible information.

‘Call now and receive 10% off your next purchase”

“Spend over $60 and receive free shipping, worth $7.95”

Using appropriate symbols, such as the download symbol or a play button also provides the visual cues that make it easier for your audience to act.

5.     Get creative with language

Nothing has more impact then language that emotes and triggers the desire to take action, attain something, keep up-to-date, get with the latest and greatest. Together with generating that sense of urgency, language can be used creatively to promote action throughout all marketing communications, especially within the CTA.

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