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How to create the perfect call-to-action

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None of these common call-to-action calls will get you the result you want because your target audience is smarter than ever.

If you want to learn how to write the perfect call-to-action that captivates your audience, gives them new knowledge, and increases your conversions, this in-depth article is for you.

One of the main reasons most landing pages and sales pages fail to convert leads into customers is a weak call to action.

Not all calls to action are equal. Most B2B digital marketers didn't use effective calls-to-action to get the ideal customer - and, worse, some don't use them at all. According to Small Biz Trends, 70% of all small B2B businesses have no call-to-action.

Finally stop making up lazy excuses as to why you don't have an effective call-to-action. It's time to focus visitors' attention on simple and effective decisions that will increase your conversions and establish you as an authority, says Joanna Wiebe.

To be honest, writing a call to action that will convince your visitors to take a certain action is not an easy task. The following 8 tactics will help you with this.

Tactic # 1: Selling a trial period

Forget about freemium. Instead, use the free trial period. There are certain calls to action that all you have to do is click, the “Free Trial” Call-to-Action (CTA) tactic is one of them. This works particularly well for companies that use software as a service (SaaS = S.oftware as aS.ervice), for example Salesforce.

Don't be afraid to offer free trial periods. There are at least 8 ways to convert free members into paying customers through email marketing.

It is imperative to guide your visitors through the buying process. It helps you see what is effective and what to ignore. There is a way to weigh your customers' needs and concerns that will help you increase your conversion rate.

When we launched KISSmetrics and CrazyEgg, we used this tactic to expand our customer base. Shopify increased its income ten fold in 3 years and now has over 175,000 users, thanks in part to their 14-day trial period.


If you want your customers to take action, you need to help them by removing any potential hurdles. Remember that they have a lot of questions and they are looking for the solution from you.

If you ask them to buy something after their first encounter with your brand, 84% of them will drop out. But giving them a free trial period can increase your conversions by 328%.

Make sure, however, that if you use free trial periods in your call-to-action text, you don't lose your trial users at the end of the trial period.

A study by Marketing Professor Harald Van Heerde of Massey University and his co-researchers from the Universities of Tilburg and Maastricht examined household data from 16,512 customers. The study showed that a large percentage of users had signed up for a free trial period, but decided against a (paid) premium upgrade at the end of the trial period.

This data should alert you to the traps that can lurk for careless software service providers.

By doing A / B testing and tracking your metrics, you will be able to find the optimal time period for your free trial.

What works best for you: a 14-day or 30-day trial period? I don't know your company, and I don't know how receptive and adaptable your ideal customers are.

So instead of guessing, test it to know exactly which period works best and leads to higher conversions for your premium product.

For example, Moz offers a free 30-day trial period:

Shopify is offering a 14-day free trial, while Bigcommerce has chosen a 15-day free trial:

Many top brands, despite their already large customer base, offer a free trial period for new users. Check out Insightly.com, a popular CRM software service company:

Tactic # 2: Write a benefit-oriented call to action

Your call-to-action needs to provide some kind of benefit to your customers. Otherwise your click-through rate will suffer. Let me use Google to explain how important this is:

You know that the internet is mostly content powered. In the past, before Google used their algorithm updates, people weren't that terribly concerned about the quality of their articles, blog posts, videos, e-books, and other content. It's different nowadays.

Why is Google so passionate about the value of a piece of content you've created? Because of the Google users.

People are desperate to find the best possible answers when they use Google. If Google can't provide the correct answer, they switch to Bing, Yahoo or other search engines like Duck Duck Go, or Mamma. The advantage for users is access to the best information.

In the same way, your call-to-action must be of benefit to your users. If users aren't sure what added value your call-to-action will bring, they won't click on it. After testing different advertising copy for my call-to-action buttons, I decided to always offer benefits. On QuickSprout, I promise my reading will help you "double your traffic in just 30 days". I then offer you a free course on the call-to-action button:

I'm not the only marketer who offers added value and writes copywriting that revolves around the benefits that will be offered to users when they get on board. Noah Kagan, a successful digital marketer, does his best:

Annotation: The placement and color of your CTA buttons is just as important as the message itself. Some people found that placing the email box on the right side of the landing page works best for them, while other marketers get more conversions if the button is placed at the end of the page.

Do red CTA buttons work better than green ones? That is hard to say. These different results should tell you one thing above all else - You should test every element of your call-to-action.

Tactic # 3: Offer immediate rewards

Nobody likes to wait. I hate long queues at the airport or the bank. You probably too.

Therefore, if you want to expand your online business, you have to make sure that your customer service is working. Testing your customers' patience with long waiting times accounts for 35% of what customers mean by poor customer service.

Keeping your customers happy is why you're in business - and instant rewards is the opposite of delayed reward.

When ideal customers come to your landing page or store, they have questions like, "Can I be guaranteed maximum satisfaction when I purchase the product or subscribe to the email list?"

In almost every other situation in real life, delayed reward is the key to success. We valued things that we work hard for and must wait for.

But when it comes to getting people to take action online, especially if you're selling a digital product (e.g. an e-book or software), even a short wait will negatively affect your conversion rate.

You have to understand that the web is a virtual space. As a result, it's harder to trust someone. According to Traffic Maven, "today's customers are getting used to the instant reward more and more." They want their needs to be satisfied directly.

When I come to your online digital camera store and buy a camera, I don't expect the product to appear in my hands right away. It is a material product and you, the retailer, have to take care of the shipping and other logistics. But when I buy software, I expect to be able to download it right away.

Social media expert Jon Loomer knows how to use the power of instant reward to get people to sign up for your mailing list. His CTA wording is “Get the e-book”, it gives him good conversions.

Russ Henneberry, chief editor at Digital Marketer, strategically uses the power of instant reward to create his call-to-action. He uses two words: “Download Now” to appeal to users' feelings and get them to sign up.

Tactic # 4: arousing curiosity

If you use curiosity effectively, it will lead to more sales.

In 2014, Andrew Sobel listed 6 rules that help arouse curiosity. One of the rules is the people to tell what you do and to show your results, but not to reveal every detail.

Curiosity is the need to know something. If you design your call-to-action in a way that makes your prospects want to know what is on the other side of the call-to-action, they'll be more willing to click. The higher your click-through rate, the more sales you make.

A new study from the University of California-Davis suggests that when our curiosity is piqued, it leads to changes in the brain that not only help us learn about the subject at hand, but also casual information.

Increasing your customers' curiosity for your product is not just a matter of luck. Emotional triggers such as trust, joy, surprise, fun and most importantly, satisfaction, arouse the curiosity of your users.

When users trust you, they're more willing to do what you ask them to. It's the same when people are excited about your landing page copy or your PPC ads. They click because they see an advantage.

Curiosity leads you to take up an offer because you can envision your reward and how it will improve your own life. It is the emotional drive to learn more, to know more, to have more, and to be more.

The members of your target audience are people who make rational and / or emotional decisions depending on the information they have.

Copywriters know that customers make emotional purchasing decisions and then use logic to justify their purchase. If that's true, then you are responsible for using your customers' curiosity to evoke emotions that drive your customers to buy. Even in B2B buying, emotions are more important than logic.

Creating urgency also helps spark curiosity. The sense of urgency forces people to “have to have something before it's gone”, while curiosity forces a user to expect a reward or benefit. If both elements are given, you will see an ever higher click-through rate and conversion rate for your offers.

Crazy Egg, a heat map company that I co-founded, has seen significant growth over the years. We've used different forms of text on our CTA button, but the version we're using now apparently piques a lot of curiosity.

A lot of site owners would like to know why their visitors are leaving their site. This is exactly what the user expects when he enters his URL in the field and clicks on “Show me my heat map”.

Music Law Contracts also arouse curiosity with their CTA button. The landing page headline makes a promise, and the call-to-action delivers the reward.

Remember that you have to be honest when arousing curiosity. Don't lure them with power words and call-to-action buttons just to give them something other than promised.

If you've promised to deliver free videos to your users, go for it. Stick to your promise and your conversion rate will go up.

When writing your call-to-action, you should include these 5 compelling words:

  • You
  • Free
  • bonus
  • Because
  • Right away
  • New

On the KISSmetrics blog, we understand the power of persuasive words when it comes to persuading users to join our mailing list. Take a look at our pop-up box:

Tactic # 5: Make the problem worse, then offer the solution

A research study by 1st Financial Training Services showed that 96% of dissatisfied customers don't complain - yet 91% of them will disappear and never come back.

You have to understand your audience to write a call-to-action that will get customers to click on it. According to Lee Resource, "for every customer who complains, there are 26 other unhappy customers who say nothing".

Demian Farnworth has released a powerful copywriting formula that will help dominate social media platforms and grab people's attention:

  • Identify the problem
  • Bloat the problem
  • Offer a solution

How can you leverage each of these elements to create a call to action that will get your prospects to buy from you? Let's explore each of these elements and see how they can increase click-through rate and conversions for our call-to-action.

i) Identify the problem: Your ability to identify your audience's main problem makes all the difference. If you understand what problems your users are having, you will be better able to offer the right solutions.

Remember - most of the problems your target audience thinks they have are not actually the main problem. If you are a web traffic specialist and it is your responsibility to help your team drive targeted visitors to a website, what do you think your first step should be?

One solution is to first create a landing page that converts visitors into leads. Then you would create a useful lead magnet that would get visitors to sign up. If you plan to start a Google AdWords PPC or Facebook ad campaign, your landing page needs to be ready before you can write your copy.

In this case, your audience's main problem isn't web traffic per se, but landing page optimization. After all, even the best traffic won't help if your landing page isn't geared towards converting visitors into leads.

You can use Quora to identify your target audience's problems. If you look critically at the question, it should be obvious that the person who asked the question is not a novice when it comes to traffic generation. Take a look at it:

What the person wants is a way to get free traffic. It means that if you suggested using PPC advertising, you failed to properly identify the problem.

It's the same when your call to action doesn't recognize your customers' problems. Then you get few or no clicks at all.

One site that understands its users and their problems is HelpScout. The headline shows it: She realizes that many help desk solutions do not provide efficient customer service and reassures users that HelpScout knows they will not be satisfied with this type of solution.

Help Scout shows users in their calls to action “to recognize the difference” - the difference between other help desk solutions and HelpScout.

Find a way to identify what your ideal customers are struggling with and use it to guide them to your offer.

ii). Build up the problem: After you identify a major problem, you should blow it up. “Bulging” means to arouse interest or to make someone insecure.

If you don't dramatize or address it directly, customers will never know you are offering a solution. A new Forrester study reveals that 45% of U.S. Consumers abandon an online transaction if they notice their questions or problems are not being addressed promptly.

Your target audience may not know the symptoms they experience as a result of their problems. If so, it is your job to let them know.

This copywriting technique has long been used by Dan Kennedy, Ted Nicholas, and other respected copywriters.

Here are two examples of an exaggerated problem from Robert Stover:

Remember, you can exaggerate a problem with your landing page headline, caption, and bullet point. Each of these elements increases or decreases the conversions of your call-to-action

Vistraprint.com, a company that prints business cards and other marketing materials, knows how to attract prospects and customers.On its landing page, it wrote that most marketers and entrepreneurs have trouble getting customers.

If your target audience is made up of business owners who are tired of creating content in vain to drive their traffic and increase their sales, you can capitalize on it by addressing it on your landing page. Your header could look like this:

Stop creating new content all the time. Use this simple 3-step formula to turn your old content into a lead generation machine!

iii). Offer a solution: This is the final element and is critical to your call to action. You have to provide a solution to the problem your users are facing.

It is not enough to identify the problem and advertise it - your job is to provide a solution.

In his bookThe Customer Service Solution: Managing Emotions, Trust, and Control to Win Your Customer’s Business, Author Sriram Dasu explains how consumers perceive service and shows you how to improve your customer service by solving problems.

An example of a brand that knows how to offer the right solutions is Webnode. Webnode allows its users to create websites very easily, especially if they do not want to deal with source code. Your call to action says it all:

Awesome Web, a site that helps you find and hire web designers and developers, uses a different approach in their call-to-action. Instead of a call-to-action button, it uses text links that lead to various services. But first of all, she asks users to describe their problem:

On Quicksprout.com, I used a similar strategy to create my landing page messages and challenges. I start by asking a question, "Do you want more traffic?"

Of course, no sane digital marketer would say "no". That's why I created the Quicksprout Tool to help you see why you're getting traffic, what steps you're forgetting, and what's missing to get more.

Tactic # 6: Harness the need to want to belong

Have you ever felt like you missed an opportunity that could have changed your life and your business? People have this desire to always belong in their DNA. Your ideal customer doesn't want to miss out on what others are learning.

The desire to belong is related to the concept of social validity. Techcrunch noted that social proven is the future of marketing because it's the easiest way to calm people down and remove their concerns.

The concept of social validity is about people acting based on what others are doing. It means “following the crowd” - doing what your predecessors did because you don't want to miss out on the reward.

Here is an excerpt from ConversionXL, which will help you better understand social reliability. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the father of conviction and influence:

Many brands use social proven in several ways to create their call-to-action - the number of people who have already joined their mailing list or have used their product and thus already have access to the benefits they offer.

MailChimp, an email marketing company, says over 8 million people are using MailChimp. This will likely motivate first-time visitors to want to become one of them too.

Help Scout’s Marketing Expert, Gregory Ciotti, uses social proven to grow the company's mailing list. One of the ways he uses to get first-time visitors to sign up is to provide the current number of email subscribers:

If you look critically at the examples of social provenance, you will notice that most of them are not written directly on the CTA buttons - and that's a good thing because the call-to-action itself should only contain a carefully selected text, the potential customer makes you press the button.

Pat Flynn, founder of SmartPassiveIncome.com, uses this concept to show off his email subscribers and get new visitors to sign up as well.

Social Proof can also work on other parts of your website - not just the main blog or landing page. Some clever bloggers show their subscriber count in the sidebar to get new users to sign up. Darren Rowse, founder of Problogger.net, is a good example:

Tactic # 7: Strategic Cliffhangers Used:

You will never believe what happened next ..!.

Cliffhangers are primarily used by fiction and screenwriters. A cliffhanger is an open ending - whether in a book or a movie - that makes the audience want to know what happens next.

Cliffhangers can work for marketers too. You need users to click your CTA buttons or you don't generate any conversions. The call to action is the turning point between “jumping” and “converting” your visitors.

They're cliffhangers that get fans and movie buffs to tune in again at the next episode or part of a movie.

Hollywood is good at dividing films into series so that audiences want to see all of the films in the series to see what happens in the end. Dr Seuss sums it up best:

If you use the same strategy to create your call-to-action, your target audience will be forced to find out what is happening on the other side.

We need degrees. Open gaps created in Hollywood films, bestselling books, and marketing stories make us dissatisfied.

As a result, we are always looking for more and want to read until we reach the end. Here is a perfect example of a cliff hanger that Kevan Lee uses in this tweet to begin his call to action:

Turbotax, a tax software from Intuit, knows that the art of storytelling is a powerful marketing technique that no one can resist. As long as the target group consists of people who are driven by feelings, it will stay that way.

Turbotax.com uses the cliffhanger concept to get potential customers to watch your video:

Evernote uses Cliffhanger right on their homepage to get their users to switch to the premium option. The CTA button (Go Premium) is a cliff hanger because it entices users to find out what advantages the premium version offers:

Cliffhangers can be used in any area. If you're a freelance web developer, you could write three different CTA messages that would appeal to clients looking for WordPress web design, HTML web design, and Joomla web design.

Content Marketing Up is the perfect example of a blog with multiple cliffhangers. Potential customers can choose what they want:

FreshBooks uses this technique in their calls to action. As they provide accounting solutions for non-accountants in different fields and industries, they create four different call-to-action buttons.

The text of your call-to-action is the essential element of any landing page. You need to make sure it's relevant, useful, and easy to understand. A small change in the text can make a big difference.

Fitness World, gym chain in Scandinavia, changed their CTA button text from “Become a member” to “Find your gym & become a member”. This simple change led to an impressive result: the company's click-through rate increased by 213.16%.

Tactic # 8: Offer a bonus

We all long for a reward. That probably won't win you free lunch, but we humans can't resist the appeal of a giveaway.

An effective way to attract and retain more customers is to offer a bonus. You should also start by offering a bonus in your call to action.

If a company or service provider gives you the opportunity to save money when you place an order, that is some kind of reward because they bear the risk.

A good example of this is Sprint, a company that offers cell phones and cellular contracts. Sprint expanded its customer base using this strategy. Sprint is currently offering customers $ 200 in savings on the purchase of a new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge +.

Verizon is doing the same, giving customers the chance to save $ 300 when they trade in their old phone for a new one. In fact, most telecommunications service providers use “bonuses” such as additional savings, free shipping, and pay-one-get-second-free offers and discounts.


Your landing page, banner ads, sales copy, and PPC ad campaigns can generate high quality leads and customers when your call to action is clicked.

For the most part, a high click-through rate leads to a higher conversion rate if all other elements (like the “sales funnel” and your offer) are optimized for your target audience.

Remember, you don't have a blog traffic problem. The challenge in creating a profitable blog, sales funnel, or product is getting the right people to click “Order” or “Add to Cart”.

If you can convince a handful of people to do just that every day, you will see consistent sales.

No matter if you get your traffic from search engines or social media referrals; Finally, keep in mind that you need to test your calls-to-action and copywriting.

There is no hard and fast rule for creating a compelling call to action. Only by testing different variations can you determine what works best.

What is your strategy for creating calls-to-action that get people to click on them and then stick with them?