Calls-To-Actions (like the above title) or CTAs are of the upmost importance in marketing. Suggesting or telling a viewer, reader, audience member what to do next can strongly influence their actions. However, it’s surprising how many websites or pieces of collateral don’t include one.

Limelight Platform

Limelight Platform wants you to watch their video. The video allows them to sell the benefits of their product in a clear way. I’d probably add a strong CTA at the end of the video inviting people to either sign-up or schedule a demo.

Freshbooks CTA

Obviously their CTA is to sign up for a free trial. Free trials are a great way to get new users hooked on your product or service. Especially if it’s as easy to use as Freshbooks!

Airbnb

Airbnb offers a few CTAs depending upon which target audience you are. The top box is to become a host. The main middle CTA is for those new to the concept of Airbnb. And for return users it offers a immediate search bar to start looking for a place.

CTAs should be used on all printed material too. Brochures, sell sheets, one-pagers – whatever you call them, there should be clear next steps for whoever is looking at it. Suggested CTAs:

  • Book a call / schedule a call
  • Schedule a demo
  • Sign up / register
  • Share with your network
  • Call to …
  • Come in and test drive…
  • Download
  • Request a sample
  • Mail the enclosed …
  • Click here to RSVP
  • Get the secret now

Sense of Urgency

Adding a sense of urgency could also be an option. For example, “Call today to book an appointment” uses the word “today” to encourage a timely reaction. This doesn’t always work and can sometimes sound a bit ‘plastic’ like the example I gave. When used in conjunction with an event it can make better sense like “Reserve your spot today”.

Order Now

CTA Placement

It’s important to place your CTA in a spot that is easy to see and follows a logical flow of sight. In a website it’s usually in a spot that can be seen without having to scroll down. Often it is the main message on the home page. And almost always it’s on a button that takes them to a form to submit. On printed collateral it varies and depends heavily on the purpose/type of collateral being created.

Action CTAs

Using strong verbs in your CTAs is a clearer direction. Words like call or click give instruction on how to proceed. In contrast, CTAs like ‘Learn More’ are passive and don’t inspire action (or conversions).  Sometimes the sue of ‘Learn more’ is the right way to go, but it’s important to consider other options. Think about what you want them to do and craft a CTA that inspires or directs them to do it.

Reserve my Seat

Longer CTAs can be just as effective as short ones, but I’ve always opted for shorter. In my opinion it’s better to get to the point. When writing copy they say that each edit should be cutting away more dead weight. Remove words that aren’t necessary (but keep it grammatically correct). Messaging a CTA is a really important part of the copy and you want to inspire those clicks, calls, form submissions or registrations! Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What action do I want them to take?
  • Does it have to fit on a button?
  • Should it be hyperlinked? If so, what part of it?
  • Do I give them the info they need to complete the action? (Are they mailing something back? Do they need a code?)

CTAs can also show your company personality. Are you using formal language? Slang? Make sure your CTAs are in brand and you should have a CTA on every page (web or print) that is created.

Carolyn Bergshoeff is the founder of WIndWater Marketing, a small business marketing firm based in Toronto, Canada. Carolyn regularly helps small business craft better messaging and CTAs for their websites, landing pages, collateral and more. Visit WindWatermarketing.ca or email hello@windwater.ca for more information.