How to design better calls to action

Gobeyond Design Better Calls to Action

What is a CTA anyway?

A call to action (usually abbreviated as CTA) is an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It is, quite literally, a “call”to take an “action.”

The action you want people to take could be anything: download an ebook, sign up for a webinar, get a coupon, attend an event, etc. A CTA can be placed anywhere in your marketing —on your website, in an ebook, in an email, or even at the end of a blog post.

In this post, we’ll look at the key components to improve and create better Calls to Action.

Components of a Call to Action

CTAs are one of the key elements of lead generation, and they should be used in each and every one of your marketing tactics: emails, social media updates, press releases, trade shows and so on.

Here’s a quick checklist for the essential elements of a quality CTA:

  • Copy that makes people want to act
  • Eye-catching design
  • A clear value proposition
  • A specific page (ideally a landing page) aligned with one stage in the sales cycle

Craft Actionable Copy

Good writing matters in marketing; being able to articulate ideas clearly is key to capturing the attention of prospects. This rule is crucial when it comes to calls to action. If the copy you craft doesn’t draw visitors in, that can hurt your clickthrough rate, lead conversions, and ultimately, sales.

Use these rules when creating your copy:

  • Start with subject & verbs
  • Include numbers
  • Add a personal touch
  • Keep it simple
  • Don’t use technical terms

Design for Higher Conversions

Make it big
The goal of your call to action is to attract the attention of website visitors, and one way to convey its importance is by enlarging it. “You want your button to be large enough to stand out without overwhelming the design,” writes graphic designer Cameron Chapman.

Special effect
Separating the CTA from the rest of the content on a web page will mean it’s a separate item. If there is a tight connection between the call to action and some other web page element, then maybe there should be less white space between the two.

The most effective placement could also depend on the context of the rest of the page, so make sure you do some testing! However, a good rule of thumb in many cases is to keep your CTA above the fold so viewers don’t have to scroll down in order to spot it.

The fastest way to grab someone’s attention is by making your CTA stand out from the rest of the page and making it dominant. To achieve that, pick a color for your button that contrasts with the background. At the same time, make sure the color fits in with your general website color scheme.

Interactive effects
Surely, you’ve seen calls to action that change when you hover over them with your mouse. Such a hover effect creates a perception that the CTA is instantly clickable and the visitor is one step closer to taking the action.

Create a sense of direction
Some of the most successful calls to action out there have arrows pointing at them. It creates a sense of direction and guides the visitor to the important element on the page. This is a way of prioritizing information and creating a flow.

Focus on text, not graphics
Website visitors read more text content than graphical content. Make sure your wording is clear, specific, and action-oriented.

Make the button look clickable
Most things you can click online look like they can be clicked. Usually, they have some sort of shading or contouring that makes them look like a button you could press in real life. So if you want your CTAs to be clicked, it makes sense to make it look like something people are already familiar with clicking … right? Add shadows and borders to not only give your CTA an extra design finish —but also make it look functional.


Calls to action are one of the fundamental elements of lead generation, linking website visitors to the next step that will engage them further with your company. You have the power to strengthen that connection by optimizing your CTAs … and now you know how!

And remember, always ask yourself and your team, “What is the call to action here?”Let this question guide your marketing efforts!

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