| |

Click Me! 5 Ways to Get More Action From Your CTAs

January 24, 2017 | Natasha Ness | No Comments |

There are buttons, literally everywhere.

Orange buttons, icon buttons, rounded-corner buttons, just a bunch of buttons. But they’re not really just buttons, right? These “buttons” are actually the gateway to what you want your prospects or customers to achieve next.

A button in this sense is more properly referred to as a Call-To-Action (CTA). You typically add CTAs to assets like landing pages, emails, and websites, and they all have one primary goal in mind: get prospects to convert.

Some of the more common CTAs roaming about revolve around lead conversions and shopping cart experiences—buttons that say things like:

  • Download now
  • Add to cart
  • Register today

Those sound pretty familiar, right? Those are staple CTAs that basically exist everywhere. There are also some pretty bad CTAs, that ultimately receive bad click throughs, bad conversions and just plain bad results.

Here are 5 ways for you to avoid “the bad” in your CTAs.

1. Remember, it’s not just a button.


That little click means a lot more than, well, a click. Before you add a button to just anything, you need to really think about the entire strategy that backs that click. A solid CTA strategy starts with asking yourself a few questions:

  • What is the action we’re looking for the user to perform?
  • Will that action require some sort of gate or lead form?
  • What data are you looking to capture from this user?
  • What will happen once a user clicks on said CTA?
  • (And how will you continue to provide value after the click?)

The answers to these defining questions are a key element to the success of your conversions.

2. Lights, Camera, Action [Verbs]

Once you’ve identified the answer to the question, “What is the action we’re looking for the user to perform?”, make that action highly visible to your users in the CTA. The actual words you use in a CTA button are tremendously important to your conversion potential. When writing them, make sure to:

Example: You’ve written a superb report on the results of research into the likelihood of marmots and chipmunks creating a new species dubbed the marmunk. Using the word “Submit” on your form button lacks the gravitas of the amazingness of this report, and doesn’t fully communicate what the user is getting out of the data exchange. Instead, you might try one that says “Download My Copy Now” to make it clear that the user is just one click away from having their mind blown.

Personalizing the button to the user by placing them in the action (e.g., saying “Download My Copy Now” versus Your Copy or The Copy) actually boosts conversions dramatically—by 90% according to this study.

Shown here are a few side-by-side CTA examples to get ideas swirling!

CTA buttons side-by-side

3. Make It Pop

Fun fact: You should NEVER say “make it pop” to your designer. We don’t find that line of feedback particularly insightful or helpful. But seriously, a button could feature the most perfectly crafted CTA the interwebs have ever seen, but if users can’t find it amongst everything else on the page, you’ve got a problem.

Oh the colors

Research overwhelmingly shows that orange and green convert the best, but that might not work with your brand’s color palette or the design of the page. More important than using specific colors is using colors with great contrast to create greater visibility.

You do have to be a little careful in cases where you may have multiple buttons on a single page or even two buttons right next to each other. Only one button should be designated the primary CTA for one page, and that button should get the strong color treatment. Use a neutral color, like gray, or even an outlined shape for any secondary CTAs to avoid confusion for the user.

CTA button colors

4. Be Like a Kid and Play with Shapes

Here’s a test for you :

Which button shape do you think converts better, a perfect square or a more rounded shape?

CTA round vs square button

Answer: It depends. Unfortunately that answer isn’t as straightforward as what Alex Trebek typically dishes out, but it’s true! Most button shapes are either perfectly square, square with rounded corners or the love child between an oval and a square. The effectiveness of each actually varies greatly, so it’s back to the old standby—test, test, test.

In addition to the shape of the button, conversions could be improved with the addition of a small shape within the button itself, usually after the text. Something like a small arrow pointing right, or the greater-than symbol, can add a sense of forward motion to the button.

Here are a few examples of how you can implement icons into your CTAs to hammer the action in a bit closer to home.

CTA button variety

5. Create Visual Hierarchy

An email shouldn’t only be comprised of a big ‘ole button to click on—nice thought, but this doesn’t provide a ton of value to your users. We know there needs to be supporting copy and visuals to convince your users to take the next step. Here are just a few quick ideas to get your pages and emails organized, to position the CTA in the best place possible for conversion.

First things first, keep it above the scroll [a.k.a fold]

Keep all your relevant information above the scroll as much as possible. This includes your CTA. Don’t make your users fish for forms and click-throughs.

Supporting copy

A button that says “Unlock Your Ultimate Guide Today” is cool… but the users’ next thought will be “Ultimate guide to what?” You need to support your visual CTA with some on-screen content. Pair your CTAs with items like striking headlines and the offering’s takeaways or benefits.

K.I.S.S [Keep It Simple, Silly]

Make it short and sweet—don’t clutter your page or email with a bunch of nonsense that the user doesn’t need. Is the action to register for a webinar? Don’t tell them everything the webinar covers—they won’t attend! Keep it to the point and simple so the users know it’s easy and effortless to click to the next stages of the journey.

Thumbnails, man

If you’re looking for someone to download a guide, put a little picture of the guide in there! It’s a simple gesture that gives a more tangible feel to the overall offer.

For pages, don’t forget about the forms

CTAs are often forgotten and unsuccessful on forms. I mean A LOT of nasty stuff is out there. Make sure your buttons and forms look cohesive and as part of the same brand or campaign. They should visually ‘play nice in the sandbox’ with one another.

With so many options and so much variability, it shouldn’t be too surprising that buttons are so crazy these days. Every detail counts. Stick to the basic best practices and experiment within those bounds, and you’ll see conversions go up.

Leave a Comment

Want more? Here's some related content


#MAfails: New to Marketing Automation and Looking With Your Eyes Shut

My most memorable fail in the marketing automation world happened when I was still pretty...

Do You Have It? Thoughts on the "Optimism Effect"

I often wonder: is optimism an inherent, or learned skill? I hope it can be...

The Two Things Your Business Must Have to Grow

When I graduated from college way back when (can a little more than a decade...
email best practices ebook

Walking the Talk: Email Best Practices

 Here's how WE talk to OUR clients about email. (more…)
click to convert: landing page best practices

Click to Convert: All You Need to Know About Landing Pages

The only guide you need for consistently high converting landing pages. (more…)

Content Planning Checklist

Your first step in the right direction to creating high caliber content is a content...

Back to the Marketing Future: From Demand Gen to Account-Based Marketing

Great marketing doesn't require stolen uranium. And while we may not need roads where we're...
Email Subject lines ebook

Email Subject Lines: How to Write Enticing Copy that Readers Can't Resist

With the rise of digital marketing, businesses are using multiple platforms like social media and...