The Secret to Effective Call-To-Action Buttons

The CTA (call to action) is the last step of your blog post, web page, newsletter or landing page. It may not seem as important as the body of the article or even the headline, but it is your final chance to get your readers to take the action that you want them to.
Consider these facts: emails that include a well-crafted CTA button get 371% more clicks and 1,617% more sales than those without.
Whether you already have an online business site or you’re just starting the journey by watching WordPress setup tutorials, you need to understand how to create effective calls to action in order to successfully convert casual readers into buying consumers.
When implemented correctly, your target audience is highly motivated to take the next step, whether that be to fill out a form for more information, register for your newsletter or make a purchase. Sounds great, right? Read on to find out the secret to effective CTA buttons.

Guide Your Readers to the CTA

Content that guides readers towards making a decision, i.e. clicking a CTA button, is essential for your business’ success. Before we talk about the fine details like which buttons are most effective and how to choose the right button for the right audience, here’s a snapshot of what your content must do, in order to motivate readers to click the button:

  • State offerings clearly
  • Resonate with the audience and their needs
  • Appeal to their desires without being overly salesy or pushy
  • Provide contact information in a casual non-threatening manner
  • Establish a reason to take the next step—like get more info or make a purchase
  • Ask for the click—clearly explain what the reader gets immediately after hitting the button

The Call-to-Action Button Is Not One-size-fits-all

“Shop Now,” “Sign Up,” and “Download” buttons all fit the bill when it comes to the last point in the list above. There’s no question what the click-through will accomplish—open up the shopping page, allow the reader to sign up for a newsletter, or download a free e-book.
In 2014, Adroll released some stats about the effectiveness of various CTA buttons on Facebook. They found that adding buttons to any advertisement boosted click-through rates by an average of 2.5 times compared to messages without buttons.
However, the call-to-action button is not one-size-fits-all; different buttons perform better for different audiences. “Book Now” is most popular among the travel set (no surprise there—right?), whereas “Learn More” appeals to education, finance, and healthcare consumers. Can you see why point two in the list above is so important? If you want to attract shoppers, you must appeal to their needs. And the “Download” button isn’t as effective with shoppers as it with marketing experts interested in getting an e-book on the latest paid advertising tips.

Craft a Concise CTA That Inspires Action

In order to be compelling, your CTA must answer the “what” and “why” questions for people engaged with your content. A powerful CTA phrase falls in line with point five in the first section (“establish a reason to take the next step”) because when you dangle a concrete benefit in front of readers, it gives them a pressing reason to continue.
Here are some great case studies from ContentVerve:

  • Consumers don’t want to “Buy” (they’re giving you something: their money), they want to “Get” (they’re receiving something they’ll enjoy).
  • One case study saw a 31% increase in conversions when the client changed their “Create My Account” button to “Create Account & Get Started.” Subtle difference there, but powerful. The change answered the question: “What do I get for my effort?”
  • Another example showed a 90% increase in click-throughs by altering “Start Your Free Trial” to “Start My Free Trial,” demonstrating that consumers like the more personal touch.
  • Further proving the previous point is when Create My Account” was changed to “Create Your Account,” conversions actually decreased by almost 25%.
  • Creating a sense of urgency is another great way to increase click-through rates. It’s human nature to not want to be left out, so by changing “Get RV Rental Pricing & Availability” to “Get RV Rental Pricing & Availability Now!” WiderFunnel was able to enjoy a 106% increase in their conversions.

Color Coordinating the Perfect CTA Button

Wording is only one component of designing a button that resonates with your audience. Contrary to popular opinion a few years ago, there isn’t one magic color that sucks in customers like a cyclone. You need to research your specific audience to discover their personal preferences.
Keep in mind, however, that it’s not the color of the button that performs well, it’s the contrast of the the button color with the surrounding text. The button must stand out from the rest of the page to really affect CTRs, like in these examples:

  • Spotify has a great CTA color strategy that clearly works without shouting at the reader. They made the “Get Spotify Free” jump right off the page, while the “Get Spotify Premium” (paid) service button is subtle, almost blending into the background color.
  • Take a look at Crazy Egg’s page to see how you can use reverse coloring—their white on green “Don’t Miss Out!” CTA—to complement other page elements and draw the eye toward the call-to-action button.
  • When ContentVerve altered the color of the CTA button from blue to green on their client’s product page, sales increased by 35%.

Page Location Is Another Key Consideration

If you visited the Crazy Egg page, did you notice all three CTAs? Positioning matters, but you don’t have to be above the fold, on the right or left, or squarely in the middle. You just have to make the button obvious to readers as soon as you finish telling your story.
Typically you should stick with just one CTA button per page so that you don’t overwhelm the readers and wind up driving them away. However, using more than one button on a page is fine if your sales pitch is longer; in this case, you’ll want to position a few CTAs where the consumer is motivated to make the purchase.
But if you do use multiple CTAs throughout a long landing page, don’t have three buttons with three different goals. One page, one message. Unbounce changed their multi-message CTA tactics and garnered a 31% conversion rate increase after they embraced the “One Page, One CTA” model.

Wrapping It All Up

The secret to creating an effective CTA button is to remember that the button doesn’t exist in isolation, but rather is an integral part of your marketing message. Here’s a recap and a few extra tips to help you create the perfect button for your audience:

  • Color choices matter, but there’s not one magic bullet
  • Get to know your audience intimately
  • Remember, it’s all about the journey for consumers, so create engaging content that has one message that guides readers toward the CTA
  • Position on the page isn’t as important as visibility and clarity
  • Highlight the urgency of taking action immediately
  • Word your button to show you value your reader’s time, money or effort
  • And finally, don’t be afraid to test different colors, page positions, and wording

If you follow even some of these tips and rigorously test to perfect your call-to-action button design, you can expect to boost your conversion rates. And if you’re looking to build a new website or revamp an old one, check out what Bluehost has to offer: we’re one of the best web hosting company out there and host well over 2 million domains. While you’re on our website, take note of our CTA buttons!

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Devin Sears
Devin Sears | Field Marketing Manager

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