Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 15 September 2014

How to Make Your CTAs Make a Difference

Call to actions are one of the most powerful tools at an inbound marketer's disposal - so deploy them wisely or risk hur

CTAs spur the visitor into action, capturing their attention and delivering fantastic conversion rates. Well, in the theory at least. Alas, some marketers are still getting their call to action marketing wrong – but why?



Gut Instinct vs. A/B Testing

We like to think we know our customers inside out; that we have a sixth sense for all aspects of their journey, even down to CTA content and placement. Ignore your pride in this case and use A/B testing to ensure your CTA is pulling its weight. Proper testing can fuel huge boosts in conversion rates, though you perhaps don’t need to go to the lengths Google does. In 2011, it ran over 40 tests to uncover which shade of blue attracted the most clicks.

Above vs. Below

Most marketers want any call to action marketing above the fold to ensure readers see it immediately – and generally, they’re right. But there are exceptions to the rule; if you have a complex product or service that needs to be explained, it can pay to lead the reader through what your product or service is to convince them of its value before presenting them with a CTA. Another advantage is that such an approach can lead to stronger, more qualified leads.

Simple vs. Dense

Don’t be afraid of white space; allow your content and CTA room to breath on the page. Many e-commerce operations stuff their pages with content, believing a busy page is more appealing to customers. The opposite is true – don’t overwhelm your visitors and keep the layout clean and simple. Respect the space.



Positive vs. Negative

Ensure your CTA features actionable, positive words such as ‘Discover’, ‘Learn’ and ‘Get.’  It encourages visitors to actually do something. Avoid words that are generic or have negative connotations such as ‘Order’, ‘Submit’ or ‘Buy’ – such words are off-putting and suggest that the prospect will have to ‘work’ or open their wallet as soon as they click on your CTA.

Less vs. More

Many of us tend to ‘over-describe’ when trying to get our visions or thoughts across – we’re human after all. While CTAs need to appeal to us humans, they need to be sharp and to the point, designed to hit their message home as quickly as possible. A classic example of this ‘less-is-more’ approach is Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 – his savvy marketers used a picture of the president and his family with the simple CTA ‘Learn More’. Sign-ups up rocketed by 40.6% – and generated an estimated $60 million in campaign donations.

Bounce vs. Conversion

The key to great conversion rates is the value and relevance of your calls to action to the prospect – don’t make them focus on what they have to do to unlock a call to action but what the CTA will do for them; what it will give them. Also ensure that the CTA is relevant to their specific needs. The rule of thumb? With every CTA, ask what is going to motivate the prospect to click on your button and what are they going to get once they do.



  • Everything on your page is there to support the CTA.
  • Embrace white space, strip out clutter and keep your CTA direct and simple.
  • Check for consistency of messaging wherever your CTA is being deployed.
  • Make your CTAs value-driven and relevant to your prospects.

For more insights on how to make your conversion rates bloom, download our free eGuide: ‘How to use conversion rate optimisation to boost your bottom line.’

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