What Makes a Good Call-to-Action?

November 10, 2020

We’ve all clicked on a call-to-action before. Whether it was a button, link, or notification that compelled us enough to want to know more. But what makes a good call-to-action, and how do you know what to include in yours? Sadly, it’s usually a case-by-case basis to properly answer those questions but we put together some tips to keep in mind whenever you’re constructing your next call-to-action.

There are a few key ingredients that when mixed together correctly create a good call-to-action for sales:

  • A good call-to-action catches the attention of your user using compelling text, imagery, and the right action words.
  • The call-to-action and the text accompanying it provides context about what the user is getting themselves into when they click- make sure it’s clear.
  • The call-to-action helps guide the user on what their next step should be.

The path to creating a great call-to-action includes having these elements covered. Even knowing these factors, many people struggle to find the right words to say what they want to say in their brief call-to-action.

How many words should a good call-to-action have?

Some people find that simple is successful when it comes to their call-to-actions. Words like “Buy”, “Shop”, or “Download” can make a great call-to-action in the right context. When these simple action words are paired with the right imagery and accompanying descriptor text, they are sometimes more than enough to encourage the right user to click to learn more.

There are some cases, however, where these simple call-to-action action words won’t be enough to persuade your audience to follow through. Whether simple call-to-action words aren’t enough to convey the action that you need to in your call-to-action, or you simply want to spice it up a little, call-to-action phrases that exceed one word can also be extremely powerful.

In some cases, multi-word phrases are a much better fit for the intent of your call-to-action. Just like simple call-to-action words, these action phrases need to be matched with persuasive descriptions about the action the user is taking, along with eye-catching imagery.  Phrases like “Get the app” or “Sign up for discounts” paired with a brightly colored background and a relevant image can be highly effective at convincing visitors to click on your link.

See the examples below for what a visually distinct call-to-action can look like. It should stand out from the page AND signal the action you want visitors to take.

So I know what you’re thinking- which is it? Do I use simple action words or longer phrases for my call-to-actions? Well, you should probably try both. Unless you are certain of the type of action word or phrases your audience will respond to, you should experiment with different options. The most effective combination might surprise you.

A/B test your calls-to-action to find the most effective combinations

To find out which styles are most effective, run A/B tests to compare  call-to-action options against each other. This way you can find out which ones have a higher click-through-rate and weed out the losers. Finally, test the winners against each other to further narrow things down, tournament-style.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some call-to-actions will be more compelling to certain audiences and less persuasive for others. So if you have the ability to target your call-to-action campaigns to reach specific audiences, run A/B tests and figure out which call-to-actions are the most effective for each target audience.

The most important thing to remember about a call-to-action is that it’s not one-size-fits-all. Some call-to-actions will work better for your needs than others. The key is to test different CTAs with different audiences and find out which do work instead of fumbling around blindly, guessing which call-to-action might be the best. Don’t guess at what makes a good call-to-action, and go out there and find the best combination of factors for your needs!

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