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Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011 at 7:30 am

12 Days Of Conversions: Day 11-Call To Action

By Mariel Bacci
December 7th, 2011

Help your customers find their wallet this season by fine tuning the art of the call to action this holiday. Every properly placed and worded call to action brings your prospect one step closer to converting.  All of your visitors have come to you voluntarily – each made the choice to land on your Web site.  Now, it is your job to show them around and be sure they know their role when they arrive.  If you are persuasive with your CTA’s, your site will convert better this holiday and through the next year.

1.  Primary Calls To Action

The most obvious Calls to Action are ones that say:

*Add to Shopping Cart

*Buy Now


A straight-forward “do this.”  Pair these Calls to Action with Point of Action assurances (“We Value Your Privacy,” “You can always remove the item later”) to gently persuade your visitor to move forward.

Your primary Call To Action should be on every page of your site and it should be the most obvious element on the page. Seriously, squint your eyes.  If your CTA doesn’t stand out through your corrupted vision, you need to change something. Your visitor should follow a path of CTA’s  from page to page leading them through your conversion process. When they detour to gather more information, make sure your CTA’s can get them back into the primary loop.

2. Secondary Calls To Action

Secondary CTA’s are lovely because they give your prospects a choice of how to move forward, rather than the choice of whether or not to continue down the buying path. If there is only one call to action, the choice turns into one of either continueing to purchase, or leaving your site.  This is the finesse we were refering to earlier; your visitor is still master over their decision making, but you are gently pushing them toward making a decision in your favor. has a nice example of a secondary CTA.  It is obvious that subscribing to their service is what they really want you to do, but if you aren’t ready yet, they are offering resources to help you make your decision.

As you can see, the Primary should always be the most visually prominent element, and the Secondary CTA’s should be near by, yet less prominent. Some good example of Primary and secondary CTA’s follow:

Primary              Secondary

Add To Cart          View Product Details

Contact Us            View Product Demo

Sign Up                 Try Our Free Trial!

3. Copy

If you want to make people feel cozy and warm on your site this season, please, do not boss them around. A common mistake you will find with CTA’s is their propensity to be pushy. Avoid using unnecessary and sometimes rude language like ‘click here.’ When people read that phrase a red flag goes up, ‘are they trying to steal my money?’ ‘Am I going to be taken someplace I do not want to go?’ ‘If I click what will happen, will they install a virus on my computer that erases all the music in my Itunes?’

A more persuasive call to action will use helpful language that triggers visitor’s to move forward by speaking to their motivations.  IE.  View 2012′s Fabulous New Runway Styles vs. Click Here To See Styles, or  See Our Mountain Bike Sizing Chart vs. Click Here for a Sizing Chart.  Show off your eloquence and finesse.

4. Embedded Calls To Action

Embedded links are less obvious Calls to Action, but are sometimes seen as more trustworthy. They do not stand out on the page and do not appear to be the step the site which is trying to sell something wants you to take.  For this reason, they appear to be more helpful and visitor centric.  You can use embedded CTA’s to target the needs of all the different personality types who come to your site. Suppose I read ‘The services we provide to clients like you …’ the ‘clients like you’ part is a hyperlink. If you link to a page with client testimonials you could persuade a humanistic prospect through their buying process.

How do you get people to click your hyperlink? Make the benefit of clicking explicit.

Call To Action links should be constructed with an implied benefit of what visitors can expect when they click, and a clear sense of the information on the landing page. Can you tell which link is most helpful to your visitor?

*Find out which mountain bike is best for a beginner this Christmas.

*Find out which mountain bike is best for a beginner this Christmas.

*Find out which mountain bike is best for a beginner this Christmas.

The first link implies the landing page lists bikes. The second tells you the landing page probably lists mountain bikes. The third tells you the landing page contains content that will help you decide which mountain bike is best for a beginner.  The last link is likely most helpful to your guest, since research has shown that the best links are between 7 and 12 words.

We know the power of well written Calls To Action here at FutureNow and we want to help you learn to wield that power as well. We can help you test which action items help persuade your visitors to purchase from you.  Have you ever tested your CTA’s before?  What were the results?  Do you find a certain kind of button are more convincing to your prospects?  Do you embed your CTA’s in text or do you use multiple kinds of CTA’s on each page?  Use this holiday to learn from each other!

Add Your Comments

Comments (32)

  1. call to action buttons really increase quality score of our add campaign or just improve ranking weight of landing page?

  2. All valuable content including CTA’s on your page can improve quality score. Make sure you are customer centric and using targeted keywords in your CTA’s.

  3. this is a really great article! thanks a lot for sharing, it enlighten me!

  4. Good calls. There is nothing worse than driving paid traffic to a landing page, and having a large percentage bounce due to poor CTA’s.

    Just like in eCommerce shopping carts, always use “continue to billing information” type CTA’s, instead of a generic “Next” actions.

  5. Do you have any stats on what the best call to action buttons are? I think it would be very helpful to know whether “subscribe now” or “Download” etc. which pulls better

  6. To figure out the most successful CTA for your particular site, you will need to test. In our experience, the best CTA’s don’t say thinks like ‘subscribe now,’ they say things like ‘get started with your subscription.’

  7. E-commerce Wins (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – December 9, 2011)…

    Want e-commerce to work for your business? Check out this list of great tips and tricks…….

  8. Love the ideas for embedded CTA, so far I use anchor text, but think your ideas are more persuasive. Thanks for sharing.

  9. If you test using embedded text, and you find it successful, let us know. Maybe we could feature your test as a case study on The Grok.

  10. I read this article. I was very impressed by its contents.))

  11. That is a great build on the assurances. You’re right…that often makes me feel better about submitting my info.

    I think my CTA is pretty good on my main site, but this area certainly needs to be improved on my second site.

  12. The Call to Action is a well know sales tool to get the customer moving in the desired direction. Thanks for pointing out how to use it well.

  13. Secondary buttons I think are best seen by the customer because, in any way give an option to a major action.

  14. Just back to this website and read this article.very impressive.thanks

  15. That is a large construct on the assurances. You’re right…that often makes me seem better about submitting my info

  16. We’ve found that our CTA buttons need to be very customer centric and suit the demographic. It sounds obvious, but many site ignore this idea. Research your customers language and use it wisely!

  17. We do call to actions on our site an various ways. Its important to identify your main Competitive advantage and using that in your call to action. again it depends on each industry but call to actions can really bring a site to life. Just keep an eye on your bounce rate as the trigger might be to aggressive.

  18. Wouldn’t cta’s be different depending on the market your in?
    For example if you have a site that sells fishing gear you could say “subscribe and get hooked on our newsletter” or “Buy one and reel in the second for half price”

  19. Hahahaha. Exactly.

  20. The Call To Action is the most important part! Mine is at the top of my homepage which says “Call Now!” You have to plant the idea into your prospective customers head otherwise they might move on.

  21. Great point about giving them a secondary option like learn more or go here if they are not ready to bite on the main offer.

  22. The section on “Embedded Calls To Action” provides an excellent insight into how to target pitches per personality type and where to implement it! I love that! Nice Job!

  23. How clearly important! It is amazing through testing how you can see that when you tell visitors exactly what to do – sign up below w/ your name and email and you will get ____ your conversion rate is much better than just having a lead collector.

    Great stuff – I also like the Dan Kennedy and his broader idea about creating or talking about the visitors problem and then providing them a solution. The solution is your call to action and some copy.

  24. I hadn’t heard the tip about links working best between 7 and 12 words. Will have to add that to my arsenal. Many thanks!

    It’s a fine line trying to walk between overdoing your call to action and making it prominent enough to spur a conversion.

  25. @Dan Artson – I wrote an article several years ago about a PS-FAB technique for writing.. FAB is a common term in sales for Feature Application (how the feature is applied) and the Benefit… I just added PS – Problem first then solution.. In this way, you can spin every feature into several articles about the benefits, and then how many features do you have? Each starts with the same PS, but you end up with a huge amount of content on your solution with this technique… Yes… As you said, it’s very effective!

  26. Great Post. Very informative, never really thought about the negative perceptions that ‘Click Here’ can actually have.

  27. It’s a interesting project, can i post this in my website?

  28. It is very interesting that in the first image above, the secondary call to action is to the left or “before” the primary call to action. Has anyone done any testing on the positions of these buttons?

  29. I hate CTAs which load over the page in the form of a pop up with things like registration boxes on them, and a tiny button in the corner with ‘Thanks, maybe later’ on it. Equally I’d always like to know how well the convert.

  30. as a small business in an extremely competitive market….I can use all the help I can get and this article was fantastic….I knew about primary calls to action already….but not about secondary ones. Thank You. I’ve bookmarked this article for reference lin future. X

  31. It amazes me how many people don’t use a strong call to action. Its the simplest way to triple your conversion rates.

  32. People probably feel uncomfortable with strong calls to action… just my 2 cents

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Mariel is a GA certified analyst at FutureNow, Inc.

More articles from Mariel Bacci

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