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What Goes into an Effective Call to Action?

The call to action (CTA) is probably the most important element on any website. It functions to inspire, motivate, and ultimately move the reader to act on any number of things, such as to donate, register, and learn more.

Writing a CTA can be tricky. It takes more than just adding a hyperlink or a flashy button to get someone to click. The content also shouldn’t be too long or cluttered, since a viewer won’t be compelled to act if they can’t be bothered to finish the text. What, then, is a good CTA?

1. Simple

Above all, a call to action should be simple. It should sound even easier than it is so that the viewer knows exactly what they’re supposed to do. Should they click or sign the petition or buy?

2. Motivational

The reader should want to act as soon as possible — not tomorrow, not even later in the day, but right that second.  You’re probably familiar with the story: “Oh, I will do that right after I respond to this e-mail.” You probably also know the reader never follows through. That means your CTA should include such words as “now,” “right away,” and “today.” Let the audience know that time is running out (even though it might not be). Phrases like “urgent,” “last chance,” or “one-time only” remind them that they might not get a chance like this again.

3. The “Why Not”

Make the readers ask themselves, “why not?” Everyone is afraid of commitment. No one wants to click on something thinking that they will get charges every month on their credit card or end up on some list that will constantly spam them with e-mails. Ensure the reader that they have nothing to lose by following the call. All they have to do is try, and it is risk-free. If it is free (forever or even for a brief period) remind them.

4. Entice

Make the call enticing. If the offering seems in-demand or exclusive or is something the reader can be proud of, or that will help them fit in, be sure to highlight it. People want to feel special and that they are doing the right thing.

If you follow these basics, your call is sure to be successful. And don’t be afraid to get creative.

Renee Hyde
About Renee Hyde
Renee has six years of full-time experience as a writer and digital marketing manager, plus a BA in Psychology from Princeton University.She works with companies of all sizes to create content that is fun and informative.
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