What Makes a Good Call-to-Action?

We’ve all clicked on a call-to-action before, a button, 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 your call-to-action? Sadly, it’s usually a case-by-case basis to properly answer those questions but there are some tips to keep in mind that could come in handy whenever you’re constructing your next call-to-action. 

There are a few key ingredients that when mixed together create a great call-to-action:

  • The call-to-action catches the attention of your user using compelling text, imagery, and/or the right action words.
  • The call-to-action and/or the text accompanying it provides context about what the user is getting themselves into when they click.
  • 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. But to satisfy these various components of a call-to-action, many people struggle to find the right words to say what they want to say in their call-to-action.

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 more than enough to encourage the right user to click to learn more.

But there are some cases where these simple call-to-action action words won’t be enough to persuade your audience to follow through. Or maybe simple call-to-action words aren’t enough to convey the action that you need to in your call-to-action. Call-to-action phrases that exceed one word can also be extremely powerful. In some cases, they are a much better fit for the intent of your call-to-action. Call-to-action phrases like “Get the app” or “Sign up for discounts” can be very compelling call-to-action messages. And just like simple call-to-action action words, these action phrases need to be matched with persuasive descriptions about the action the user is taking and eye-catching imagery.

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

To do an effective test, you should run one or multiple A/B tests to test certain 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 tournament style. Then test the winners against each other to further narrow things down.

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, you run your A/B tests and figure out with call-to-actions are the most effective for a particular target audience. 

The most important thing to remember about a call-to-action is that it’s not one-size-fits-all, it’s not even a few sizes fit all like shoes. Some call-to-actions will work better for your needs and others won’t. The key is to test and find out what does work instead of fumbling around blindly, guessing which call-to-action might be the best. Don’t forget the key ingredients for a great call-to-action and go out there and find the best call-to-action for your needs!

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