Call to Actions – Best Practices and How Your Copy Affects Click Through Rate

A call-to-action button is an interactive design element that converts traffic by asking them to take a specific action. Using the psychology of design and copy, you can improve your CTA buttons with this list of calls to action ideas that actually get clicked.

What is a call to action?

A call to action (or CTA) is a copy you use on your page to guide people to complete a specific goal. A call to action is ALWAYS accompanied by a button (if yours aren’t, your funnel is broken and you’re missing out on leads and closing sales). Did you know that the copy you use on a button directly affects the click-through rate (the percentage of site visitors who click that button)? Needless to say, your call to action is really important.

How button copy affects your click-through rate

In one of my corporate eCommerce jobs, I analyzed all of the buttons on our homepage and category pages over the span of at least 6 months. I quickly determined that a vague button copy was hurting our click-through rates by a lot. We had images of shoes accompanied by catchy copy and cute call to action all over the website. It was branded, yes, but it was confusing. Visitors weren’t sure what type of product they would see by clicking on the buttons because they were so vague.

So we started running AB tests to see how our current button copy was affecting our click-through rates. And guess what? The more specific button copy won every single time. Buttons that said “MENSWEAR INSPIRED” were clicked way less than buttons that said “PLAID SNEAKERS” OR “LEATHER SNEAKERS”. Buttons that said “SPARKLE AND SHINE” were clicked less than buttons that said “SHOP SPARKLE SHOES”. So we changed things and from the looks of it, they’ve continued using those more direct calls to action because they work.

Call to action copy best practices

Be Direct

Make sure that your visitors know exactly where the button leads. If the button will bring them to an email opt-in form make sure they know that. If the button will bring them to a product page, they need to know. When visitors are unsure where a button is going to take them, they’ll either find another button to click that makes sense, click on a navigation link, or leave your website. Today’s society is too busy to play the guessing game. We’re too busy to search for a specific page on your website after clicking a button to realize it didn’t lead where we expected it to. So be direct. The more direct, the better.

Be Creative But Not Too Creative

Being direct doesn’t mean your button copy has to be boring. Instead of “SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION” use “SECURE MY START DATE” or “LET’S CHAT”. If your brand is fun and spunky and you want your button copy to be also, you can do that and still be direct.

Keep It Short

You want to be direct and creative but you don’t want the button to go on forever. If you think you need a lot of copy for your visitors to understand where the button leads, chances are you need to include a more descriptive copy above the button and then simplify the actual button copy. Try to use at least 2 words in your button copy but no more than 4. The longest button I have on my website is 5 words (I’m pushing it with this one!): “THIS IS ME, LET’S CHAT”.

Test! Test! And Test Again!

What works for me won’t necessarily work for you. And what works for you won’t necessarily work for me. The best thing you can do is run AB tests to see what button copy your visitors relate with and understand the best. And remember, society is always changing so just because a certain button copy is working today doesn’t mean it will work a year from now. So never stop running those tests!

Button copy/call to action examples

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What are some of your favorite call to action?



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