Direct me – but don’t tell me what to do.
One of the great paradoxes of using calls-to-action is that people need to be guided and encouraged with clear, forceful language – but it better not come off like you’re telling them what to do.
This can put people on the defensive, make you seem desperate, or even come across like you’re attempting to trick them into something.
The best method is to be simple, straightforward, and (here’s that word again) encouraging by…
Using command verbs and short statements.
“Download Yours Here,” “Order Today,” “Buy Now,” “Compare Prices,” and simply “Sign Up” are all examples of simple and effective CTAs.
Catching their eye.
The best calls-to-action generally aren’t tiny text links sitting in the middle of big blocks of text. You want them to be big and bold (and maybe even italicized) so that people can’t miss them.
Some of the best CTAs utilize buttons, white space, colors that contrast with the rest of the page, and forms. All of these things can help draw people’s eyes right to the CTA.
Incentivizing the click.
Command verbs are wonderful and all, but sometimes people need a reason to get off their butts and take action. Incentivizing is part one of the “why” people should click on your link.
This method is about creating urgency, either by adding in discounts or promotions for the first few people who click through, or by designating it as an offer that’s limited by numbers or time.
Solving a problem.
Even your most ardent fans probably aren’t going to click on something if they don’t think it will help them or solve a need, so you need to explain why they should. Maybe your link purports to earn them money, save them time, or make them more attractive to the opposite sex.
Whatever it is, your CTA should incorporate or directly follow this reasoning.
Out of context, that might sound like a bad idea, but remember that you want to ensure your audience doesn’t miss the CTA.
Put it just once at the top of your content and they might have forgotten by the time they finish reading. It’s always smart to include the same CTA again to give them another chance.
Don’t tell your readers that maybe they can do this or maybe they can do that. Some people like to include multiple CTAs on the same page or email to give people options, but all too often this just comes across as confusing.
Do you want me to “Sign Up” or “Start Shopping”? Keep it to a single, cohesive message.