How to Write a Call to Action That Works

When it comes to marketing, persuasive writing techniques are essential. Whatever you call them — a hook, an opening line, or an attention-getter — learning how to write a strong call to action (CTA) can increase the likelihood that your content leads to increased conversions.

A call to action provides readers with a clear direction to take after they land on your site or consume your content. Let these six tips guide you in crafting effective CTAs.

1. Use authoritative wording

Typically, a powerful verb, such as “buy,” “follow,” or “book,” followed by a descriptive phrase works well. Your call to action should explain how your readers can get what they’re looking for from your website. If you run a business that sells watches, a button that says, “Order your watch here!” is quick, direct, and explains what happens when someone clicks the button. The phrase, “New watches available,” is less likely to be clicked as it contains no action. Power lies in the verb, which tells people exactly what to do.

2. Write with expressive, enthusiastic language

As humans, we are naturally drawn to immersive stories, which are typically filled with adjectives and colorful words. Get your fans excited about whatever it is you’re asking them to do by crafting your CTA with vibrant language. You can also add an exclamation point to the end of your CTA to increase its impact. If you’re selling real estate, a CTA such as “Search for your dream home!” will be more persuasive than “Click to see homes for sale.”

3. Provide an incentive

Next, convince your desired customers to take an action. Why should they choose you? How will they benefit from following, subscribing, or buying? Define what makes you unique over the competition; this may be one of the biggest factors that attracts your prospective customers. When promoting an online subscription, “Sign up for a FREE month!” combines an action and incentive into a single phrase.

4. Get creative

While these guidelines may feel like a set of rules, creating a successful CTA can actually be enjoyable. Make your CTA one-of-a-kind, and use available statistics to get to know your audience and discover what resonates with them and what doesn’t. Results from one campaign can yield extremely useful insights for future efforts. Trial and error may lead to the conclusion that your audience responds to playful CTAs, or it may reveal that a professional CTA results in more conversions. Pay attention, and cater to your audience as you explore how to write a call to action.

5. Instill a sense of urgency

As this New York Times article suggests, the perceived pain from losing can outweigh the perceived pleasure of winning. Appeal to this human characteristic in your marketing efforts: if you have a sale to promote, talk about the exclusivity of the offer and provide a deadline to encourage visitors to take an action before it’s too late.

6. Set your price upfront

Don’t make your visitors jump through hoops to see your prices or discounts. Including numbers in your call to action makes it easier for your prospective customers to understand exactly how much buying your products or services will impact their budgets, allowing them to make more informed decisions while providing them with better user experiences.

Inspiration is everywhere

You can find inspiration for good CTAs all around you. Look for companies that create value and loyalty and take a look at their advertising campaigns. What did those companies do to augment sales and return customers? You’ll begin to see that they understand the above techniques, keep the buying process simple, and make every purchase a win for their customers. Now, you can do the same.

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