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  • Writer's pictureHayley Cherrett

7 ways to boost your call to action

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

You’ve finished writing your web page, your email, your petition to save the Great Crested Newt. It’s persuasive. It’s informative. It matches your tone of voice perfectly. But is it clear what you want your readers to do next? Are you confident they’ll take action, not just hop over to your competitor’s site, delete the email or ignore your plea?

Donating, booking, buying – there are endless actions you might want your reader to take. But too many ‘asks’ can be confusing. Vague directions or halfhearted instructions will lose your reader. So, before you do anything, make sure you know exactly what the one thing you want them to do is.

Once you’ve cleared that up, it’s time to take a closer look at your call to action. You’ve only got a few words to make an impact, so you need to make them count. “Find out more” isn’t always going to be enough to encourage readers to take the next step.

Here are our tops tips for writing a persuasive call to action:

1. Use a fresh command

Want your reader to take action? Tell them what you want them to do after reading. Using one word like “register” or “book” probably isn’t going to cut the mustard. You’ll need to create a sense of urgency and use a command that captures attention.

Workfront make it clear that readers need to “take a product tour” to discover the benefits of their service. The call to action triggers curiosity and suggests something more interactive, rather than being bombarded with more information.

2. Make it personal

Switching your calls to action to first person is a great way to make it all about your reader. After all, your reader is selfish. They want to know what’s in it for them.

And you might see some surprising results. found that changing “get your free 30-day trial” to “get my free 30-day trial” increased click-through rate by 90%.

Here’s a great example from Crazyegg:

3. Back up your button with a benefit

There’s more to your call to action than the button. Can you guarantee your readers have read your email or web copy? Probably not. They most likely skim read it in a rush while they were meant to be doing something else. By supporting your call to action with a benefit, you have one last chance to persuade your readers.

In this example, Revolut tell the reader that they can “open an account in minutes”. By putting a specific time frame, they show it’s quick. Remember, that’s a big bonus for your readers who are busy people.

4. Evoke an emotional response

“Donate” by itself might do the job. If the person knows the charity. If the person already has decided to donate. But this isn’t always the case. Charities are known for their heart-wrenching stories, so why not inject emotion into calls to action too?

Make a Wish homepage shows exactly how to do it. You’re not just donating money, you’re making wishes come true.

This technique isn’t limited to charities, but doesn't have quite the same impact if you’re selling B2B software…

5. Be unexpected

“Find out”, “Read more”, “Register now”. Calls to action for emails and web are often repetitive and don’t offer the reader much information. If you want to make yours initiate action, try something different to capture attention.

Not only do Instapage use first person for their button, they also recognise that one statistic (although it sounds pretty impressive) won’t be enough. Readers need more information to make an informed decision.

6. Think about objections

“Get your free trial”. That’ll be enough to entice them you think to yourself. But will it? You can probably name a time when you’ve signed up for a free trial only to be charged when you forget about it.

People are skeptical. It’s your job to reassure them and address their objections. So ask yourself: what’s stopping them from taking action?

Dropbox clearly state, “no credit card needed”. Immediately that’s dispelled some of the audience’s concern around having to enter loads of personal and payment details.

7. Give your readers another choice

But what if your reader is still unsure? You certainly don’t want them to leave your site or immediately delete all future emails. Surely you want another chance to persuade them? A great way to avoid losing your potential customer is to give them an alternative.

Square’s main call to action is “get started”, but they also give the option to “chat with sales”.

This isn’t unique – we’ve seen it on quite a few sites, but we think it’s a great idea. It gives the reader opportunities to get answers without wasting their precious time sieving through information.

And don’t forget to test, test, test

So, is your call to action working? Is it converting readers to customers and clients? There’s only one way to find out – testing.

The great thing about testing is you can see how different calls to action stack up against each other and what language works for your audience.

If you’re not seeing results, it doesn’t mean your audience isn’t interested. It means you need to work harder to convince them and try something new to initiate action.


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