Call to Action: Is It Still Working and How to Really Have Your Message Heard

The World’s Most Aggressive Telemarketer - Key & Peele

Call to action is a widely used term in marketing. It refers to a phrase or sentence that lets a user know what action exactly one should take next.

CTA is a pretty easy concept to grasp, yet it is not to execute. Some people might even think that it is not very important if the product is good. The truth is, there are many good products in every industry – there is always a competition. And all marketing tools “buy now” or “subscribe to newsletter” buttons are just the simplest examples of this instrument.

CTA is a pretty easy concept to grasp, yet it is not this easy to execute. Some people might even think that call to action is not very important if the product is good enough. 

The truth is, there are many good products in every industry. Thus, there is always competition. And all marketing tools are designed to help businesses or brands achieve their goals.

Others might argue that CTA does not work the same way they’ve used to because people are much more aware of marketing techniques now. Luckily, this is not exactly the case. Call to action is as effective as it was before. The difference lies in how it is approached.

Why Is CTA Essential for Any Brand?

First of all, it is crucial for showing a user or a potential customer what to do next. Take the EssayPro website as an example. Even such simple phrases as “order now” and “hire an expert” are extremely effective. 

The main goal is to help a customer go through the buyer’s funnel the easiest way. When a person sees this button, it is immediately clear what to do and how to access those features. There is no need to search or scroll – everything is one click away.

Basically, any online presence without a CTA misses lots of conversions. Imagine the blog post that has useful information but no motivation for further actions. What will a reader do? Most likely, a reader will just close the page and forget about this blog for good. 

The reason is simple. The person will probably have not enough internal motivation for trying to find a subscription option all across the website. But if there is a CTA that encourages subscription or sharing, it is more likely that a person will do that.

The same principle applies to all types of content, from e-commerce to any other service provision. If you do not show an audience what to do next, you are likely to see high bounce rates.

Statistics is also compelling when it comes to the effectiveness of CTA. For example, emails with a single CTA increased clicks by 371%! This is an insane level of effectiveness that shows how important this simple technique is. 

Nevertheless, 70% of small B2B sites lack CTA, which is a terrible missed opportunity. Another essential factor is that the use of CTA gives actual measurable results that illustrate the campaign’s efficiency. Successful digital marketing is all about data-driven decisions and planning.

Types of Call to Action

The best thing about this instrument is that it works for any type of brand or industry. And it is extremely helpful in guiding a customer through the buyer’s funnel. Of course, various brands will use specific approaches, but the core remains the same.

The key to writing an effective call to action is in identifying a purpose for each particular one of them. The purposes can be:

There are several typical calls to actions that everyone encounters on a daily basis, such as:

CTAs can also differ based on the industry. Blogs are mostly interested in spreading their posts and attracting more readers. That’s why they ask to read more, subscribe, or share on social media.

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B2B enterprises have a slightly different goal – they are more focused on getting straight to sales. They use CATs like get started, sign up, or try for free. They usually have a contact line with sales of the support department. And an e-commerce business is even more straightforward with “add to cart,” “register,” or “buy now.”

Principles of Writing a Good CTA

Writing a well-performing call to action is not as simple as it may seem. Although straightforward messages do their job, they are not always as effective. It takes some practice and consideration to implement this instrument according to the best practices. Here are the main guiding principles to master a call to action.

Clear Message

This is an essential thing. Any CTA should have one core action message, depending on the particular purpose. It should be very easy to comprehend and readable.

Use Strong Verbs

To make a message more inspiring or motivating, it should use strong verbs. The most common ones are “subscribe”, “register”, “buy”, “donate”, “share”, “follow”, or “download”. But there is always a place for creativity. 

For example, a message “subscribe for more information” is good; it is clear and up-to-the-point. But, it would sound much more compelling if we change it to “discover more opportunities.” There is no need to stick to the basics, make the message appealing.

Make It Short

Of course, it doesn’t mean that CTA should be just a phrase or even two words. It all depends on the specifics of the industry and brand. But it should not be too long either. 

Internet users have a shorter attention span now, so there is no need to bore them even more. Sometimes a couple of sentences or a paragraph is enough. State the proposition and give motivation to action.

Give Value

This is another essential aspect of CTA. A person should have a clear understanding of why they need to do something. No message will work if there is no benefit or advantage to the user. 

Give them a reason to proceed. It can be anything, additional information, access to new content, free trial of the product, or limited sale. Value is what makes people click; they want to get the advantage you offer.

No Risks Involved

Another important feature is the provision of security. People need to know that they can trust a provider. How to make them sure that there is no risk attached to the offer? A good phrase to use is “cancel any time” if we talk about the subscription or free trial. A customer needs to feel secure.

Inspire and Motivate 

Any audience needs to feel enthusiastic about doing something. Use words that provoke an emotional response.

This way you’ll boss the chances of suggested action being taken.

Create a Sense of Urgency

This point is important because it is based on fear of missing out. It is also quite easy to execute. You can add a time limit to the offer, for instance, “offer available for 30 days only”. Another type of urgency is a limited number of offers, like “only for first 1000 subscribers”. 

E-commerce businesses can use the message with a limited amount of items “buy before supply runs out.” A sense of urgency gives a customer no time to think too long about. You offer them value, and it is limited. That’s why such messages attract more conversions. People do not want to miss on the rare opportunity.

Describe a Problem and Offer a Solution 

This is a great way to offer benefits. You can aggravate the problem and how it impacts a person’s life. Later on, it’s all about giving a solution. 

For example, a brand that offers toothpaste for sensitive teeth can go on how this issue affects everyday life. “Do you want to enjoy your favorite food without worrying about teeth sensitivity? Are you worried that ice-cream on a sunny day is not for you? Learn more about our product to get rid of this problem for good!”

Instant Gratification

The internet made the whole CTA thing much more compelling by offering instant gratification. Decades before that, a call to action might have been motivating, but a person couldn’t usually access the benefit right away. 

For example, one could subscribe to the printed magazine for free, but the benefit (receiving a magazine) would come with the next issue. Now you can give the gratification in a matter of a second. And it is exactly what makes CTA so efficient in digital marketing – no one has to wait for anything. 

It may not be a direct service or a product you sell, but something related to it. For example, offer to subscribe or to download an e-book or guide. An e-commerce brand can offer a guideline on choosing a particular product. 

A service provider can give access to expert publications. A software company can offer a free trial of their solution so that people can access the functionality immediately. Choose something related to your industry, has value to the audience, and can be granted instantly.

Another great idea is to implement a keyword to CTA is it boosts conversion rates. A brand that wants to get even more advanced with their campaign can use personalized calls to action. 

Statistically, they gather 202% more conversions. A personalized approach always works best in marketing as it serves the purpose of solving the problem a person has. Personalized customer experience can also boost sales massively when done right.

Use Emotional Appeal

This is a topic in itself, so it has to be addressed separately. Emotional appeal is key to the successful campaign of any entity. Simply because people are more often guided by emotions when making choices and buying products. 

It is also valuable for informational resources and bloggers. There is no shortage of all types of information or products on the market. Of course, quality is a good differentiating factor. Yet, sometimes it is not enough. Maybe your product or blog is not revolutionary, that’s fine. But it still can give emotional value to the customer.

Emotional appeal is also important for CTA. Here are the main emotions you can evoke with your message:


It might not sound like the best tactic, but when used wisely, it works great. It is not about scaring customers away, but rather underlying the fear one might already have. And it shouldn’t be over the top.

Keep it settle but emotion-evoking. For instance, if you can use something like “are you sure that you’re using the best SEO tool?” or “Is your diet actually working? Leave email to find out”.


People want to be included and feel like part of the team. It gives additional value to the products or services and builds the community around the brand. 

Use this emotional trigger in your CTA. Various social media platforms do their best in advertising. It can be something like “join the community of professionals” or “get connected with like-minded peers.”


Another important emotional trigger is being free of some issue or problem. Give the audience the feeling of relief they will achieve by following the CTA. 

For example, one can use phrases like “get rid of the uncomfortable mattress and experience immediate relief with our product” or “subscribe to get more tips on being free of stress.”


Everyone loves adventures, even small ones. Make an intriguing claim and trigger curiosity among readers. “You’ve probably heard a lot about sustainable travel. But aren’t you curious to find out new places to go?”

Emotional appeal is great in marketing strategy as it curates the feeling of shared value. People do not only buy products because they enjoy some items. 

They also want to support a brand that has the same ethics and values. They want a sense of community and belonging. And it also makes a call to action more exciting and powerful.

Pay Attention to Design

Now, when you have a text mastered, it is time to figure out the placement and appearance. Design affects the efficiency of marketing strategy hugely, especially when the digital world is concerned. 

Here are some design tips on making it more appealing:

One can also design specific icons for different links. It is also a good idea to keep the brand colors consistent.

Analyze the Performance

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To understand how well a CTA performs, you need to use proper marketing analysis tools. Today, it is easy to analyze efficiency. You need the number of people that saw the CTA and the number of conversions to understand what percent of users actually followed it. 

Be prepared that it is not going to be 100% or even 80% of customers. It is natural to have some bounce rate as simply not everyone is interested in the offer.

Another great way to see how the audience corresponds to your CTA is by using heat and scroll maps. They show how people interact with the content and how often do they scroll by the end of the page.

Such data helps to analyze the efficiency and detect possible problems. If the conversion rate is low, the CTA doesn’t perform well. Maybe it is not appealing enough, or maybe the message or benefit is not clear. In such a case, it is important to try something new.

That’s where A/B testing comes in handy. It allows publishing two variants of a call to action button. It also shows which performs better. It is essential to do A/B testing to know exactly how powerful the message is.

In Summary

Call to action is an impressive instrument that can bring instant results to a brand. It can help to achieve almost any marketing purpose and increase conversions dramatically. 

After all, it is a necessary part of guiding a user through the buyer’s funnel. A piece of content or a website without CTA misses huge opportunities. The secret is in doing it right. 

It takes some time on planning and formulating, as well as designing. But the results are worth it. And if something doesn’t go as planned – it can always be changed. Gather the data, analyze it, test new options, and find what works best for your company.


This article is about:

Jeremy Marshall

Jeremy Marshall is a copywriter and marketing specialist working at EssayPro. She is interested in education, modern technology, and the ways it shapes digital marketing techniques and strategies.

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