Click Here! Some Basics on Crafting a Call to Action

Every web page on your site needs a call to action. That is, an invitation or a request for a reader to actually do something. That “something” generally involves taking an action that will lead a prospective buyer deeper into your company’s or consulting practice’s sales funnel.

Here are some things to keep in mind when urging someone to “click here,” “learn more,” or “contact us.”

#1. Offer Something of Value, and Lead with Results

Instead of just urging the reader to “Click Here,” this example from Copyblogger puts the results it’s promising front and center. Think about giving somebody something he or she actually might want in exchange for an email address, like an excerpt from your ebook, or a free consultation. You’re competing with the whole Internet and whatever else might have  your reader’s attention, so get to the point and make it something good.

Scribe CTA

#2. Create Urgency

You have your reader’s attention now, and you may not get it back, ever. When you create a sense of urgency, you’re attempting to remove the choice a reader might make to come back and click your link later (because they may not come back). This is why you see calls to action with key phrases like:

  •  For a limited time only
  •  Offer expires May 1st
  •  Space is limited
  •  Today only

Be warned, though. Create too much urgency and you’ll sound shrill and huckster-ish. Know your audience and get an idea of what might turn them off, and then, of course, don’t do that. Our audience includes people who are fairly savvy about sales pitches. When we create a sense of urgency, we couch it in terms of, “Well, you could wait, but why would you?” For us, we prefer phrases like:

  • Start collecting on your receivables
  • You can improve profitability, starting today
  • Call us now and cross “marketing” off your to-do list

#3. Leverage Testimonials

Testimonials are important, and surprisingly persuasive. (When was the last time you purchased something on Amazon without at least noticing how many stars the product received from other users?) Link them to a call to action.  Here’s an example used by the project management software we like, Basecamp.


basecamp testimonial example





Don’t be cagey with testimonials, though. In the Basecamp example above, the woman pictured is actually named, and they also name the company she works for (it’s just cut off  in this image). People are smart and can sniff out fake praise. Ask your clients for some kind words. If you’ve done the work, they’ll respond.


#4.  Ask a Question

The questions you ask should speak directly to your target audience’s key needs and/or pains. The more specific, the better. Here’s an example from Akismet, where they ask a question, and lead with results:  “We’ll protect you in minutes.”

Akismet CTA

A final note:

Use a mix of these options in your calls to action, and also use them to experiment. You’ll see what kind of calls to action your own audience responds to. And the more you know your audience, the better you’ll be at tailoring your message.

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