Call to Action: CTA Writing That Gets Clicks

Online marketers are very familiar with call to action (CTA) writing, but how effective are CTAs? Research suggests CTAs can make a significant difference and there are ways to make CTAs more effective to give click-through rate a big boost.

CTA Stats You Need to Know

How important is a call to action in terms of conversions? Statistics suggest CTAs are a critical part of converting customers. They also prove some CTA strategies work better than others. Here are just three stats that tell marketers why CTA optimization is so important.

Personalized CTAs Perform 202% Better

Users are increasingly becoming more accustomed to a personalized experience online. From Amazon serving up products that are similar to what’s already been purchased to Netflix providing entertainment suggestions based on what’s been watched, users appreciate personalization. The same is true for CTAs. 

Hubspot analyzed 330,000+ calls to action to determine that personalized CTAs perform 202% better than non-personalized CTAs. They are also referred to as smart CTAs because they are dynamic and change based on factors like physical location and whether a user has visited the site before.

The Average Click-Through Rate of CTAs is 4.23%

Leighton Interactive went to great lengths to figure out the average click-thought rate (CTR) for CTAs. They have a number of clients so there was a fair amount of data to analyze, and the methodology was very sound. The average CTR for all CTAs across every industry turned out to be 4.23%. That’s better than the CTR for Google ads. 

When the data is analyzed further, it was clear button CTAs perform the best. The average CTR for button CTAs is 5.31%. The highest button CTA click-through rate was almost 70%. 

Including One Clear CTA in Emails Boosts Clicks by 371%, Sales by 1617%

That’s right. Emails with a single, clear call to action are huge for CTR and conversions. Marketing at Toast discovered this and shared the impressive email CTA stat at Unbounce’s Conversion Road Trip. Marketing at Toast’s VP Ellie Mirman stressed that emails without a lot of clutter and a strong call to action can flood your sales funnel.

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How to Make a Good Call to Action Even Better

Even a generic call to action is better than no call to action, but putting effort into creating high-performance CTAs can really pay off. The Mixpanel Call to Action Beginner’s Guide provides information on best practices and is a great basis for CTA writing. Once you’ve got the basics down, the following tips below can help you write CTAs that are even more effective.

Use “My” Instead of “Your”

Every word in the CTA matters. Something as small as using “my” instead of “your” may seem insignificant, but it can have a huge effect on clicks and conversions. The first-person term “my” puts the CTA in the user’s perspective, which can make a stronger connection. It’s also more direct and accurate in some cases. For example, if a service provider is offering to analyze a website’s technical SEO errors the CTA “show me my technical SEO errors” would probably perform better than the CTA “see your technical SEO errors”. 

Use Smart CTAs Strategically

Smart CTAs tend to perform better, but there is strategy involved. First, user analytics is needed to decide how to personalize CTAs. The goal is to learn about your audience and identify user cohorts that can be used as a framework for personalized CTAs. Without that information, you’re shooting in the dark and the CTAs may not be appropriate for the intended audience.

Once you’ve determined the different audiences you’re targeting you can then create unique CTA copy for each group. Keep in mind where each user cohort is in the buyer journey to write highly relevant copy. Geolocation tags can also be used to craft personalized CTAs that are based on the user’s location. 

Finally, make sure the CTA is placed on a relevant page. You can have a CTA that uses all the best practices, but if it doesn’t make sense on the page it won’t get clicked. 

Work the Welcome Gate

According to Grow & Convert, CTAs in the welcome gate have higher click-through rate (10-25%) than any other spot on a web page. If you don’t currently use a welcome gate splash page give it a try to see if the call to action performs better than the landing page CTA. Just make sure it’s a highly targeted offer that makes sense or it could increase the bounce rate rather than CTR. 

Think of the Next Step

Some marketers mistakenly make their CTA reflect the end goal, such as signing up for a paid service, when the next step is actually something different. To be effective, the CTA needs to be related to the next step in the sales funnel. Whatever can be done after the click is what needs to be stated in the CTA.

Leverage Persuasive Verbiage

CTAs have to persuade users to click. Color and size draw the user’s eye to the CTA button, but it’s the copy that convinces them to click through to the next page. In addition to being action-oriented, copy should be persuasive. You can easily make a CTA more persuasive by using the following words: free, easy, proven, guaranteed and save. All of these suggest a level of value, and value is compelling.

Add an Element of Urgency

It’s extremely important to get users to act while you have their attention. Very few users will return once they’ve moved on to another website, task, etc. To get more people to click-through it’s best to create a sense of urgency. Here again, the copy that is used can prompt a user to take immediate action. Phrases to try include: limited time only, X days left, while supplies last and this week/today/24 hours only. These phrases work because they tap into a user’s fear of missing out.

Keep It Short

CTAs are meant to convince quickly. It’s best to keep them under 10 words and certainly no more than 15 words. While writing CTAs remember that users are making a snap judgment that only takes a second.

Testing CTAs in Action

Improving the CTR of CTAs never hurts, especially if it falls below the average of 4.23%. But how can CTAs be tested and optimized? There are a few ways to gauge CTA performance and discover what’s working versus what’s missing the mark. 

A/B Testing

Testing the text of the CTA and color of the button is highly recommended, but you may also want to test elements around the CTA. A/B testing will reveal if the page itself is supporting the CTA. A/B testing could reveal that removing elements that surround the CTA draws attention to it and increases the number of clicks. Or you may discover the overall design or layout of the page is distracting from the CTA and hurting CTR. 

Determining which page is best is simple – whatever version of the page gets the most CTA clicks is the winner.

Multivariate Testing

A/B testing is ideal for seeing how a CTA fits into the overall page design and which combination of elements works best together. Multivariate testing can be used to hone in on the CTA specifically to see what copy works best or whether button placement makes a difference. While A/B testing generally looks at just two variations of a page at one time, multivariate testing can include three or more versions at once. The one caveat is there needs to be enough traffic to each page version to get accurate testing results. 

Final Takeaway

Your call to action is a key element of the page, but it works in tandem with everything else to convert users. To be the most effective, the CTA needs to speak to the user and direct them to take the next step in the sales funnel. Data analysis gives you the means to test CTA performance and find ways to boost click-through rate for better results.

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