Call-to-action or CTA buttons are graphical pointers you use in your website’s landing pages for directing users towards the website’s goal conversion. In other words, it prompts the user to perform the action you want them to perform.
As an entrepreneur, you need to remember that CTA buttons have a very specific goal, prompting a website visitor to click and complete a conversion.
Depending on your goal for conversion and the style of your website, the layout and size of CTA buttons can vary. The button font needs to be large, legible, bold, fitted according to the size and color of the button. At the same time, contrasting the color of the font with the button’s design is just as important.
Language has a major impact on how effective a particular CTA button is. A well-designed button helps your prospect to spot your CTA, but the language used in the button will determine whether the customer will click it or not. The copy in the button is the last thing that makes or breaks a conversion.
Although many people see CTA buttons as extensions of the website’s graphical layout, they serve a prudent role in churning leads into customers. For instance, the virtual real estate company Empire Flippers witnessed a 33% growth in their conversions only by changing their generic CTA button to a more targeted one.
With that said, writing attractive and engaging CTAs is difficult if you’re not familiar with the basics. In this article, I will guide you on how to write a good copy of the CTA button.
Keep It Short, Yet Engaging
Since you’re writing for a CTA button, you must remember that you have little space to work with. At most, a CTA button has space for a short sentence or five words in total. By the time leads see your CTA, they are already familiar with the key features, cost, value, and benefits of your product or service.
At this point, visitors are ready to act and they need your assuring words to motivate them to continue with the purchase. Making them pause with long CTAs can discourage them from moving on.
The digital marketing guru, Neil Patel instructs marketers to limit CTA button copies to one second of reading time. Increasing the reading time to more than one second can mean that your prospect must pause before making the purchase. These pauses ultimately hurt your business’ chances of making a conversion. Although limiting the word count of these copies is essential, it doesn’t mean that you must sit there with a stopwatch to write button copies. Instead, you should make sure that every word you use in the CTA packs a punch.
If you’re not sure about which words are engaging enough to make a difference, you can always use the list of 189 “Words that Convert” compiled by Buffer. However, with time, you should develop your list of “power words” to create authentic and engaging CTA copies.
The words you use should stir emotions and prompt your readers to act. Therefore, as you write more, it would be better to use words that have worked for you in the past rather than trusting a generic list.
Likewise, keeping it short doesn’t mean that the CTA copy has to be vague. You should focus on phrases that are meaningful instead of using CTAs like “Download Now” or “Start Today.” The reader must understand what he or she is downloading or starting before acting on the CTA. For instance, you can change the CTA to a more meaningful phrase, like “Download my guide for free”, or “Start Free Trial Now”.
Utilize Action Words
Although it’s obvious, many people don’t realize that they must use action words in their Call-to-Action button. Unless you prompt visitors to take action, you can’t hope to land conversions. The first word of the copy needs to be an action word that entices visitors to click on it.
You can start with verbs like “Order,” “Download,” “Sign Up x,” “Sign Up,” “Buy” or “Register”, but these words are overused and are not that compelling. Besides that, words like “Order,” or “Buy,” remind the visitors that they have to give money, whereas, terms like “Submit,” give users an unfavorable impression.
It’s best to use words that convey a positive message such as “See,” “Try,” “Own,” “Watch,” “Get,” “Go,” “Enhance” “Start,” and “Open” to reassure the prospect. Since these words convey momentum, and they’re more likely to push prospects into action. In fact, a Danish company saw its conversions increase by 38% only by changing their CTA from “Order” to “Get.”
Highlight the Value Proposition
Keeping your CTA short and simple is important, but at the same time offering value to prospects is also important for getting conversions. Highlighting the benefits allows you to emphasize the importance of going through with their action and the benefits they will receive after doing so.
For this, you must consider what the client wants and how your product and service help them achieve it. The visitor must understand how they can become, smarter, stronger, happier, wealthier, slimmer, etc by using your product or service.
You may have already mentioned the benefits of your service, but sometimes it’s important to reinforce these benefits to convince your lead. Appealing to the prospect’s needs can help you convert them.
Try phrases like “Find the best product for me” instead of using long-tailed phrases like “Show me how I can find a product that suits me.” Likewise, writing phrases like, “Get my free e-book” in place of “Download e-book” will perform better for you. Just remember that as long as your offer gives something useful for free, it has to be a part of your CTA button. The prospect's desire to commit is the highest while hovering over the CTA; therefore, highlighting the benefits goes a long way to convert prospects.
Add a Sense of Urgency
Every time a lead pauses and reflects, it diminishes their chance of committing to the product. This is why your CTA copy needs to convey a sense of urgency. Introducing a sense of urgency keeps prospects from pausing, but that doesn’t mean that you must rush your client forcibly. Instead, your approach has to be subtle to guide the prospect towards action.
One way of writing an urgent CTA copy is to use timing words like “today,” “immediately,” “right away,” and “now.” However, using these phrases effectively to create a sense of urgency is not as easy as it seems. You can introduce urgency by conveying “limited availability” or “limited time” for an offer. Doing so helps the user act upon the CTA immediately instead of delaying their action for another time.
Nord VPN does this brilliantly. By offering customers an unbelievable discount and limiting that offer to a time-frame, Nord prompts visitors to act on the CTA. Although the 70% discount seems a little too generous, in reality, it prompts customers to commit to the service for three years. Nord receives an upfront fee for their service, and they can gain clients for three years.
Likewise, creating scarcity also helps you introduce urgency in your CTA. It’s as simple as the rule of supply and demand; people place a higher value on scarce things. One example of this is WiderFunnel, a company that witnessed a 106% increase in conversions on CTAs after they added the line “Limited Availability—Book Now!”
Nevertheless, you must be specific when you’re using the scarcity strategy. Instead of using terms like “Only a Few Tickets Left for Early Bird Discount,” you should use “Only 20 Tickets left for 15% Early Bird Discount”.
That said, overusing these strategies can make them lose their effectiveness. Therefore, it’s best to save these strategies only for your most important and profitable CTAs.
Address Visitors in the First Person
Addressing visitors in the first person is an effective way of making your copy more engaging. If visitors see that a particular action directly relates to them or benefits them, they have a much higher chance of following through with an action.
In fact, experts at ContentVerve witnessed a 90% increase in click-through rate after they started using first-person phrasing. They only changed “Start your free 30-day trial” to “Start my free 30-day trial” and it transformed their click-through rate completely.
For someone with a copywriting background, relying on the first-person reference feels strange at first. Nevertheless, using first-person references in CTA copies gives you several practical benefits.
After reading first-person CTAs, readers feel more in-charge of their decision. The reinvigorating feeling of having control over the decision motivates people to pursue the action. At the same time, adding a first-person reference helps prospects visualize the value they are personally receiving after continuing with the service.
Finally, personal pronouns subconsciously give visitors the feeling that they are personally invested in your business. The psychological effects of using first-person references can have a positive effect on your conversion rates.
Leverage Click Triggers
It’s always a good idea to place white space surrounding CTA buttons to make them stand out. However, in some cases, keeping the copy close to your CTA results in better conversion. The proximity of the copy and the CTA gives additional encouragement to leads that are close to clicking.
This type of CTA is known as “click triggers” and I often use them in places like testimonials, ratings, key benefits, security icons, money-back guarantees, and reviews. You can also these click triggers in spaces that reassure the prospects with anxiety-reducing information such as. “no credit card information required.”
“100% of your donation to our COVID-19 Relief Fund helps our local partners deliver lifesaving resources to vulnerable communities.”
Charity Water uses these triggers in a different way to reassure their visitors. Anyone who wants to donate to a generous cause can be reinforced by the fact that 100% of their money will be spent in delivering life-saving resources to vulnerable communities. The text above the original CTA prompts users to donate generously to the cause.
Although you may feel that your page is strong enough and you don’t need click triggers, sometimes, adding reassuring information can improve conversion rates significantly. Adding these triggers gives you a chance to address any remaining uncertainties or doubts a prospect has and prompts them to continue.
However, like any other thing, this doesn’t apply to every situation. Repeating something over and over again can harm your conversion so you must be careful where you use them. The best way to see if click triggers work is by using A/B testing to evaluate your results.
Copying What Others Do Doesn’t Work All the Time
Although following the best practices of the industry works fine in many cases, it doesn’t guarantee success for your website. Whenever a friend asks me whether a certain best practice will guarantee greater conversions for his business, I encourage them to implement but also remind them that they should regularly check if it's having a positive effect or not.
In most cases, something that boosts conversion rates for one business doesn’t work the same for other businesses. Each business has a different dynamic, target audience, and scope of a business, and depending on these factors, a CTA copy can have a positive or negative effect on conversion rates.
This is why utilizing A/B testing frequently is a prudent way of ensuring that your CTA is optimized to the fullest degree. For instance, if a CTA like “Subscribe Now to Get a Free Newsletter” isn’t generating a positive result, you can always modify it.
Maybe changing the verb, including click triggers or using the first-person reference, will help you. The only way of knowing for sure is to test the results of these differences and evaluating which changes yield the best conversion rates.
I have given you many examples of improving CTA copies for your business. However, it is up to you to create the perfect CTA for your business using A/B testing. To understand how A/B testing works, you can give What is A/B Testing? (And How To Win at It) a read. Aside from that, you can follow my blog to understand how you can use A/B testing in different scenarios to yield greater conversion rates.