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3 free tips on how to write a call to action

You can write the most compelling, engaging web copy in the world. But if your call to action is "click here", it’s a wasted effort.

Your call to action (CTA) is the most important part of your website. It’s where you motivate your visitor to perform a task – contact you, download something, sign up. It’s the golden link between traffic-stopping content and conversion.

CTAs are one of the most tricky things to get right. For a start, they have to be short. With a few words you’ve got to persuade your visitor to stop faffing around and make the decision to choose you.

So how do you get it right? Here are 3 tips:

Be direct

Avoid confusing your reader. Your wording needs to be clear, specific and action-orientated. The first word is the most important, and it needs to be positive - “receive”, “learn”, “improve”, "activate".

Put your CTA somewhere obvious. Don’t hide your light under a hyperlink bushel at the bottom of the page. Never forget that your visitor will be skimming your content, flitting around like an impatient magpie looking for something shiny. Use buttons, bright colours, big bold text.

Make it easy

Avoid a CTA that sounds complicated. Your potential customer will be multi-tasking while they’re reading your website. The easier the action, the more likely they are to take it.

To give you an example, let’s say you want your visitor to download a newsletter. Here are 2 possible CTAs:



 Which one are you most likely to download? It may be the same newsletter, but I’d choose the one that takes less than a minute.

Make things simple for your reader by sticking to one CTA per page, two at most - one primary and one secondary. CTAs are supposed to stand out. Put too many on one page and they’ll all disappear in a confusing mush. You’ll end up shouting at your reader and they'll leave with a headache.

Let them know why

Website readers are savvy. They’re constantly surrounded with CTAs urging them to take one action or another. Why should they do as they’re told? Why should they take the action that you’re asking of them?

Because they’ll benefit.

OK, I keep banging on about this “What’s in it for me?” thing. But it’s important. Your reader is more likely to take action if it’s worth their while. They need to know what they’ll gain. Your call to action needs to answer this question:

Why?

If you want someone to like you on Facebook, don’t just say “Like us on Facebook”. Give them a reason with “Like us on Facebook and win… ”. There’s no benefit to “Download now”. It’s much more tempting to “Get your FREE e-book”.

The most effective CTAs follow persuasive content that communicates information, benefits, value and trust. If you’d like to improve your website content but don't know where to start, here’s my call to action.

 

Helen Beckingham is an SEO copywriter at Keyword Copywriting. Expert scribbler on websites, blogs and e-books, rather good bassoonist, terrible singer. Contact helen@keywordcopywriting.co.uk here