Writing calls to action
Using colour blocks as CTAs
You can highlight call to actions using link text in a colour block.
The dictionary definition of a call to action is “an exhortation or stimulus to do something in order to achieve an aim or deal with a problem”.
When we talk about a call to action (CTA) online we are referring to a piece of content intended to prompt a user to perform a specific act, typically taking the form of an instruction or directive.
It is, quite literally, a "call" to take an "action."
The action you want people to take could be anything: download a document, sign up for a webinar, get a voucher, attend an event, etc.
A CTA can be placed in your marketing materials; on your website, in an email or in a blog post. They can also take different forms; as a button, as a link or in an advert.
Call to action do’s
- Do use verbs like; read, register, watch, download, join, donate, buy.
- Do keep CTA text short, concise, jargon-free and actionable . e.g. Read Imperial Magazine
- Do convey a sense of urgency – use language to convince users waiting to take action would result in missing an opportunity. e.g. CTA could read “REGISTER NOW” next to text “limited spaces available”.
- Do write CTAs in the first person i.e. “Start my free trial”.
- Do include extra information in or around the CTA to build trust – include numbers or information that show what the person will get e.g. CTA reads “Start my free trial” next to page text “ The best wireless headset is yours free for 60 days”
- Do ensure the CTA text tells the reader what happens next i.e. ‘Download Imperial Magazine, PDF’ actually links to and opens the magazine PDF.
- Do use bold, contrasting CTAs on your page that make an impact.
- Do place the CTA in a prominent position on the page or repeat it in long content, i.e at the top of the page or in the sidebar.
- Do create specific landing pages or surveys so that the CTA links through to defined content and not just a ‘contact us’ page.
- Do remember to track your CTAs and update ones that are not getting desired results.
Call to action don’ts
- Don’t use generic terms like ‘click here’ or 'read more' multiple times on a page - as these are not accessible.
- Don’t place the CTA at the bottom of the page
- Don’t go on too long, use concise text
- Don’t link to content unrelated to the CTA
- Don’t leave CTAs on your page that are out of date
You can see an example of a CTA button and colour block at the top of this page.
For more information on CTAs read 17 Best Practices for Crazy-Effective Call-To-Actions Buttons or 6 Proven Ways to Boost the Conversion Rates of Your Call-to-Action Buttons.