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What is a CTA? Call to action explained.

What is a CTA, and why do you need one for your website?

Published: September 22, 2022
What is a CTA? Call to action explained.

Rebekah Carter

You’re likely to be quite familiar with the term “CTA” or “Call to Action” as a marketing professional or business leader. After all, the CTA is one of the main tools companies use to generate a positive customer response. 

Customers in today’s fast-paced and chaotic landscape often need extra help when figuring out what they should do next after reading a blog or clicking on a landing page. 

Using the proper CTA can help to increase your conversion rates, strengthen your brand reputation, and reduce abandonment rates. 

However, not everyone fully understands the nature of the “Call to Action”. Here’s your guide to a CTA and why it’s essential to your brand. 

What is a CTA? Defining the Call to Action

A CTA, or “Call to Action,” is a prompt on a website, app, or piece of marketing material that asks users to perform a specific action. For instance, if you’ve seen a website button asking you to “subscribe” to their newsletter or “buy now, “you’ve experienced a CTA. 

CTAs come in many different forms. The most commonly-referenced example among many businesses is the Call to Action button, a specifically linked button on a website that redirects a customer to a specific location. However, CTAs can also appear as hyperlinked text. 

Calls to action are mainly used in sales and marketing campaigns to encourage the desired action from a customer. They can boost email subscription rates, sales, and even other micro conversions, like getting a customer to download an eBook. 

Why are CTAs important?

Strategic CTAs are an essential part of any sales or marketing effort because they help to guide the customer through the buying journey or sales funnel. A compelling CTA will grab customers’ attention before they hit the “back button” and exit your website. 

Most of today’s digital consumers are also accustomed to seeing CTAs on website pages. If they don’t spot one at the bottom of a blog post or on a product listing, they may assume there’s nothing left for them to do on the page. CTAs effectively:

  • Increase the odds of conversions: People are more likely to do something when you prompt them to action with a strategic CTA. The right solution will ensure your customer continues to move effectively through your sales funnel. 
  • Boost engagement: A strong CTA can encourage customers to engage more with your website and content. The longer your users interact with your brand, the more likely you will generate conversions and improve your SEO. 
  • Improve the user experience: By conveniently navigating your customer to the next stage in their customer journey, you streamline the purchasing funnel and improve your relationship with your client.

What are the Different Types of CTA?

As mentioned above, Calls to Action can come in various formats and serve various purposes. The exact nature of your CTA will depend on what you want your customers to do when they arrive on a specific page or interact with a marketing asset. 

The most common types of CTAs include:

  • Lead generation CTAs: This calls-to-action are designed to generate leads from websites, apps, emails, and messages. They ask customers to engage with your company by offering their contact details, often in exchange for a “lead magnet”, like an eBook or download. 
  • Form submission CTAs: CTAs encourage customers to give their details to a company to serve a specific purpose. These may be used on email subscription pages or on booking and appointment scheduling sites.
  • Discovery CTAs: A discovery CTA encourages customers to learn about a specific product or service. For instance, your button might ask clients to “check out the new features” of your recent SaaS application. 
  • Social sharing CTAs: These calls to action nudge customers to share content on behalf of a business by publishing quotes or specific content on a social channel. They require integration with the social medium in question to make posting easy. 
  • Conversion CTAs: These CTAs ask your customer to buy something. The most common option is the “Buy Now” or “Add to Basket” button. However, companies have begun experimenting more with different CTA styles to encourage conversions.

What are the Components of a Successful CTA?

Writing a successful CTA can be pretty challenging for beginners. As the number of options available to consumers in the digital world has increased, it’s becoming much harder to engage and convert clients. This is why most companies dedicate significant time and effort to A/B testing their call-to-action content. This simply involves testing the outcomes of one CTA against another. 

Testing your CTA content and buttons will give you a clear insight into what kind of statements and strategies are most likely to generate results. However, in the meantime, there are some best-practice tips business leaders can follow. The most successful CTAs are:

  • Value-based: CTAs need to immediately tell customers what they stand to gain from completing an action. Such as “Get your Free eBook” rather than just “Download Now”. 
  • Action-focused: A good CTA also needs to focus specifically on the action at hand with trigger words. A CTA should tell a customer to do something, such as “Join now”. 
  • Customer-focused: Many of the best CTAs use the second-person or first-person, such as “Get my free eBook” or “Get your discount”, to make them more engaging.
  • Urgent: Urgency is crucial for a CTA as it pushes customers to do something quickly. The word “now” appears quite common among the top CTAs. 
  • Eye-catching: Whether in text format or button-based, a CTA should stand out from the rest of the copy on the website so it’s easy for customers to click. 
  • Concise: CTAs need to be straightforward and straight to the point. A couple of words should be all it takes to convey the correct information to a specific audience.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for creating a compelling CTA, one of the most common options is problem + solution + action. 

For instance, in the CTA, “Learn how with your free eBook”, you’re telling customers they can discover something important by downloading a “free” asset. 

Making the Most of your CTAs

Calls to action are essential tools in any marketing or sales strategy. They help companies to navigate their audience towards the most valuable outcomes for the business and boost conversions. However, writing and using a compelling CTA takes some practice. 

Companies looking to get the most out of their CTA should be committed to regularly testing different strategies to see which works best.