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5 call-to-action writing tips with examples

Call to action writing: employee using a laptop

Key takeaways

  • The best CTAs use action words and power words to capture consumer attention and trigger an emotional response
  • Create a sense of urgency to get customers to follow your call to action quickly instead of stalling on their decision
  • Add CTA copy to the end of any marketing campaign to make your message more actionable

A great marketing campaign can spark the interest of your target market, and a good call to action (CTA) can persuade them to take the next step in their buyer’s journey. Great calls to action—which are short prompts that tell consumers what step you’d like them to take next—keep the momentum of your content marketing going by initiating a meaningful action instead of letting potential leads or customers slip away.

Whether you want your target audience to make a purchase, join your email list, or click through to the next page of your campaign, your call to action should be more engaging than “sign up now” or “learn more.” Here are five call-to-action writing tips and CTA examples you can use to improve your copy.

How to write a call to action

The best call-to-action phrases are often less than a sentence long. That means you don’t have much room to shine. However, choosing your words wisely can transform a run-of-the-mill CTA into a highly persuasive prompt that encourages potential customers to deepen their relationship with your brand. Use these tips to perfect call-to-action writing.

1. Leverage strong action verbs

Good CTAs always begin with a bang. Since calls to action are brief—and limited in word count on many digital marketing platforms—the best copywriters aim to make them as powerful and punchy as possible right from the start, and you should too. 

Strong action verbs give potential customers a clear sense of direction by telling them exactly what you want them to do. A few tried-and-true action words you can use in call-to-action writing include:

  • Buy
  • Subscribe
  • Claim
  • Try
  • Join
  • Download
  • Swipe
  • Call

2. Be clear

Call to action writing: employee using a laptop at an office

Specificity can go a long way. When a CTA is too ambiguous, readers may not fully understand their next step—or they’ll ignore it altogether. For example, a CTA button that says “learn more” can leave a lot of room for interpretation about what information will be available at your link. Plus, the phrase is so widely used that viewers can easily skim over it.

Make your desired action obvious by adding clarification. Instead of writing “buy now” on your ecommerce site, you can tweak it to “buy our bestselling t-shirt.”

3. Evoke emotion with power words

It’s no secret: Customers tend to buy products and services from brands that make them feel a positive emotional connection. The right power words (those that trigger an emotional response) can encourage potential customers to listen and follow through with a requested action.

Examples of power words for effective call-to-action writing include:

  • “Free” and “discount” because everyone loves a great deal
  • “Secret” and “spoiler” which activate interest and curiosity
  • “Dazzling” and “beautiful” to speak to aesthetic appreciation 

4. Create a sense of urgency

Effective calls to action often use words that create a sense of urgency—such as “limited time” and “one day only”—to appeal to customers’ fear of missing out (FOMO). 

Using words that promote immediate action spurs your potential customers to act faster than they otherwise would. Remember, if consumers have too much time to think, they may sit on a decision for long enough that they forget about your brand and a different company captures their sale.

5. Reduce perceived risk

If you want your target audience to take action fast, it’s important to ease any uncertainties they have about your brand, product, or not having more time to comparison shop. Effective CTAs should show readers that taking the next step is a risk-free move—and that it’s definitely worth their time. 

For example, instead of saying “sign up for a seven-day trial,” a SaaS company can write “sign up for a free seven-day trial,” or “sign up for a seven-day trial—no strings attached” to reduce perceived financial risk.

Power words like “easy” and “simple” can appeal to your potential customers’ desire for convenience, while “accredited” and “best-selling” can show that your product or service is proven to work.

When to use calls to action

Entrepreneur using a laptop at home

Calls to action can make marketing campaigns more powerful and persuasive. CTAs often appear as clickable call-to-action buttons at the top, in the middle, or at the end of written online content, such as:

  • Email marketing
  • Website homepages
  • Website pop-ups
  • Social media ads
  • Landing pages, which are standalone web pages designed for lead generation

Oftentimes, CTA copy is placed at the end of your marketing copy (like in an email campaign or blog article) so it’s the last thing potential customers see before they scroll away. If it’s an especially lengthy piece of content, consider placing a few CTAs dispersed throughout. 

Call-to-action writing can also enhance audio and video content. CTAs can be stated verbally at the end of a commercial or social media video (for example “subscribe to our YouTube channel if you liked this video”).

2 types of CTAs with examples

There are endless types of CTAs that can help achieve different business goals. Here are two call-to-action examples to effectively convince website visitors to do more than browse.

1. “Explore” more

For certain businesses, shoppers are unlikely to make a purchase straight away. A strong CTA that encourages users to continue reading about your company, product, or service can keep them moving toward a purchase.

Peloton’s homepage offers a few examples of how you can write a “learn more” CTA that evokes more excitement, including “Explore Row” and “Explore Classes.” These CTAs specifically call out what website visitors can expect to read about by clicking the call-to-action button. Plus, the term “explore” is more vivid than “learn.”

2. A better “buy now

Whether you want someone to buy a product, sign up for a subscription, or book a service, CTAs that encourage a purchase should hone in on risk reduction to alleviate potential customers’ worries about buying.

Netflix offers a great example of a call to action that can effectively lead to a purchase:

“Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime.

Ready to watch? Enter your email to create or restart your membership.”

In this CTA example, Netflix reassures potential customers that they won’t be obligated to sign any long-term contracts. Then, it makes the purchase process appear simple and fast by only requesting an email. The language is clear and action-oriented, directing customers to enter their email and create an account instead of a vague “find out more.”

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Level up your call to action writing

Calls to action are essential elements of any content marketing campaign—and they can be placed in video ads, graphics, and other visual content. Writing an effective call to action can help boost conversion rates of visitors to your website and views of your ads.

Call-to-action writing should include strong action verbs, power words, and phrases that create a sense of urgency to convince shoppers that now is the right time to take your desired action. You can make your marketing content even more convincing by learning how to write a great value proposition to draw in your ideal customers. 

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.