Call To Action (CTA)

What is a call to action?

Call to action (CTA) is a phrasing used in marketing and refers to the words used to compel readers or listeners to take a desired action that leads to a conversion. Call to action or CTA for short is a popular marketing term used in advertising and sales. It is usually an instruction to the audience to do something, a phrasing meant to provoke a quick response from the reader or listener. When it comes to websites, a CTA can be a button, a banner or another piece of clickable content, that allows the visitor to make an action that pushed him or her down the conversion funnel.

What are some examples of CTA?

Some of the most popular online CTAs are:

  • Sign-Up
  • Register
  • Call
  • Subscribe
  • Donate
  • Buy
  • Order 
  • Share
  • Follow
  • Download

Other types of call to action are more elaborate and create a sense of opportunity or time constraint for the reader:

  • Start your free trial
  • Limited time offer
  • Buy 1 and get 1 free
  • 50% off before midnight

CTAs are not exclusive to the digital industry though, as they are also used in print and in live interactions (ex: “Cash or credit?”).

How to create a good call to action

CTAs need to be compelling in order to convince people to move forward with the request.
The main characteristics of an efficient Call to action are:

  • Short length (no more than 5 words)
  • Have a sense of urgency (so the reader does not postpone clicking)
  • Contain an imperative verb (to sound like a command or request)
  • Good placement and design (colors and size should be clearly noticeable)
  • Have a clearly stated benefit (to increase interest and compel users to take action)