How to Create a CTA (call to action) button that works

Calls to action are the final stage in your sales letter, ad, blog post or landing page.
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call to action CTA

CTA (Call-to-action):

You could write a great headline, excellent copy, and design amazing graphics, but without the right call to action (CTA), your readers will always just remain so: readers.

Calls to action are the final stage in your email newsletter, ad, blog post or landing page. Call to actions are the button, contact form, phone number that lead readers to take action and do what you’d like them to do. CTA’s drive that final task of clicking on that “buy now” button.

 Take a look at these stats:

  • Emails that contain a powerful, single call to action get 371% more clicks than those without.
  • A CTA within a video gets 380% more clicks than their normal sidebar CTAs.
  • 90% increase in click-through rate by using first-person phrasing: “Download my free ebook guide” vs. “Download your free ebook guide.”


There’s a huge difference in conversion between using the default actions like “Submit”, “Buy”, “Purchase” and actually optimizing your CTAs to inspire any user to follow through on your action goals.

Optimized CTAs need to:

  • Grip the reader
  • Offer a clear benefit for the user 
  • Continue the conversion momentum
  • Actually cause action – i.e. increase your conversion rate

Here’s how to create a CTA that will make your readers bloodthirsty for your offer.


The Customer Journey Leads to Great Call to Actions

Great sales copy tells a reader how a product can solve the problem its target audience requires. Today, marketers have become pretty adept at solution-focused copy. They’ve designed headlines that communicate a product’s solution with focused on content that persuades with benefits and images.

However, these individual elements don’t cause huge lifts in conversions. Your product doesn’t sell because it’s the least expensive or because the colours are pretty – it sells because it solves a problem, and asking yourself what your customers want will get you closer to answering this. See Market Segmentation

Up to 88% of consumers do research before a purchasing and often view many different websites to find the best information and deal. For these customers, a single headline or “Buy Now” button isn’t going to win them over. Brands that provide information at many different points can create a better customer journey and improve their conversions in the long run. 

A thought-out customer journey is crucial for a cohesive marketing campaign. A great customer journey improves the customer experience (CX) which can have a huge impact on your brand:

  • 67% of consumers and 74% of business buyers say they’ll pay more for a great experience

Creating an outstanding customer experience is all about being helpful to your customer at each stage, leading them from one step to the next without being overly pushy or, worse, too vague. Every stage needs to build on the last one to create a greater level of desire and need for your product.

I’ve visited so many site where their was a great headline, graphics and compelling body copy to draw me in, only to fail miserably with a blah CTA that destroys all the hard work they’ve done to this point by offering a boring or ineffective CTA.

The word “Submit” is boring. 

The word “Buy” is boring.  

The words “Order Now” are boring. 

It’s like getting microwave mac and cheese at a fancy restaurant. It’s not compelling. Also, these words make people think of their bank account (which may remind them not to buy anything). 


So how do you make a great CTA? 

The CTA should focus on the benefit of the offer! Use words that remind the customer that they’re getting something rather than telling them that it’s going to cost them $$$. 

CTA a/b testing

  • Using the word “Get” instead of “Order” helps readers feel more ownership. This could increase your clicks by 15%
  • Using “My” instead of “Your” on the CTA (first person instead of second) could increase your click through rates (CTR) by 90% in just under a month of trials.
  • Simply adding “& Get Started” can increased conversions by 31% 

These are all examples of the CTA reminding readers of the benefit they will get. 


5 tips to improve your CTAs

Online shoppers are unpredictable. If they have the smallest reason to leave your page or doubt your product, they will. Here are five steps you can take to strengthen your CTAs:


1. Choose the right colours

You may have come across advice that says orange is the best colour for CTA buttons. It may work well in some situations, but not all. If your website colours are already warm with yellows, oranges, and reds, an orange button would just blend into your page. 


Think of these 3 steps to ensure a successful CTA:

You can’t just go to your fav site and copy their “button” and expect the same results. You need to find what works best for your audience.  Back in 2009, all the rage as using the big orange button, which was deemed “the future of marketing.”

People went crazy over it and copied the button only to find that it didn’t bring the results they wanted. Why? Because they ignored the basic three steps in which you must focus on your own audience.

For example, below is a test of different colours for an affiliate banner to see which one performed better (the graphic banner was a button with text). Here are the results:

pasted image 0 2


This test took 7880 visitors and split them evenly between showing them the five banner colours. The results show red was the highest performer and orange came in second to last! Another test proved the “add to cart” button performed best when it was blue, not orange or red. 

We could talk about more tests that show other colours coming out on top, but that’s not the point. There isn’t one magic colour that works for a CTA. The main thing is that it stands out from your page. Let’s take a look at a few examples of CTAs that are not orange but are still very effective. 


This first example is from Spotify. You’ll see that their CTA is in their signature green colour. Does it work? No doubt. 

Screenshot 2019 05 03 at 13.30.25This next example is from Evernote. Here, the CTA is actually white but you still know where to click. 

Screenshot 2019 05 03 at 13.30.55

 For this example, Uber chose to use blue for its CTA—one of the most relaxing colours. The page is designed very well and the CTA is still very effective. 

Uber CTA

Remember, the CTA needs to draw a reader’s eye towards it. It has to stand out from the rest of the page. Even though there’s a lot of blue in the example from Uber, the button is contrasted by large areas of white.  

2. Put the CTA in the right place

You might have heard that it’s best to put a CTA above the fold (in the visible part of a page), but this isn’t always the case. 

Generally speaking, complex offers should have CTAs further down the page, while simple or cheap items should have CTAs above the fold. 


You can substitute “price” for “complexity” in this graph and the results will be the same. Think about it. A lot less effort goes into buying a banana than a computer. 

If your product is more complex, it might be useful to test a CTA at the bottom of the page. That’s what Michael Lykke Aagaard of ContentVerve did. In the example below, he found that a CTA at the bottom of the page outperformed a CTA at the top by 304%

contentverve CTA



On the other hand, offers that are easy to understand can perform well with a CTA above the fold. Check out this example of Hootsuite’s free trial offer:


Hootsuite helps marketers manage multiple social media campaigns across platforms, and because most people who land on this page are there for a specific reason, it makes sense to have a CTA above the fold offering a free trial. The visitor can jump right in and start using the software.

Other sites like Unbounce, who need to explain the complexity of their product first chose to place the CTA at the bottom of the page.

Screenshot 2019 05 03 at 15.01.38

If you have a complex product that requires a bit of explanation or “teaching” before people are ready to sign up, you could actually reduce your conversions by presenting a CTA too early.

When positioning your CTA button, examine the complexity of your product and the price of it. Put your CTA at a place where both desire and the logical decision to pay are greatest.


3.  Using the powers of FOMO (scarcity and urgency)

Scarcity and urgency are well-known to increase conversions. If a reader thinks he/she might miss out on something of value, there’s a better chance the reader will take action. Another term for this is FOMO: fear of missing out. You can use this technique in CTAs like this:

  • Download my free report right now!
  • Claim 50% off today only!
  • Only 3 left in stock!

Just be aware that you don’t use urgency too much. Overusing urgency content on a page or using it in all of your sales pages can make readers wonder if the deal really is urgent. 

The goal is to make the action that the user is about to take, feel more important than all the other potential actions they could take.

Try to save this strategy for your best CTAs. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to incorporate urgency into a campaign and how much of an effect it can have. 


4. Remember – One Page, One CTA

The golden rule of landing pages that should never be broken is: One page, one purpose.

If you want people to sign up for a email newsletter, that’s the only CTA that the should be on that page. If you want the user to purchase a product, that should be the only CTA on that product page.

If visitors have too many options, the page can feel cluttered and they will leave. Take a look at this old example of what not to do:

pasted image 0 1

 Are you supposed to buy gear? Learn about tracking? Download Firefox? Mozilla probably wants you to download Firefox, but the four other options would have hurt the conversion rate. 

Let’s look at their CTA for Firefox as it is today:

Firefox Mozilla These two pages are worlds apart. This second example has a singular clear CTA in a contrasting colour. There’s only one thing for visitors to do, and the design supports the CTA. 

 Marketers use this technique of the 1:1 attention ratio. The first number stands for the number of things a visitor can do on a page (ideally 1), while the second number stands for the number of CTA goals on a page (also ideally 1). As you add different actions or CTA goals, your conversion rate for your main CTA will no doubt reduce. 

As we mentioned above, you can have multiple CTA buttons for the same CTA goal. Long pages make use of this by placing a CTA button at points where a reader might be triggered to buy rather than scroll the remaining text on the page or some of the examples above may show same CTA button within the top navigation menu.


5. Don’t forget about mobile users

Pages are built on desktop computers, of course, but today at least 51% of clicks online happen via mobile devices. Having an outdated site that isn’t mobile responsive is a quick way to kill your own sales.


Key Takeaways 

CTA’s might seem insignificant, but they are hugely powerful. It’s almost impossible to overstate their importance. Keep these guidelines in mind to fully optimize your CTAs: 

  • Focus on the benefits
  • Test out many color options
  • Put your CTA in the right spot (or spots)
  • Use some urgency to drive action
  • Try to have a 1:1 attention ratio on your page
  • Use mobile responsive designs

No rules are set in stone. The main thing is to test different elements to find what works for you and your audience.