Five Simple Steps to Creating an Optimized Call to Action

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As a marketer, getting an optimized call to action may seem simple but without experience and proper testing, it’s not as easy as it seems.  However, the impact of a few simple words can dramatically improve the performance of your campaign.

In short, an optimized call to action (CTA) is what makes you money. It’s what drives your potential buyers into your funnel, and it’s what convinces them to become customers at the end of it. Your entire marketing campaign rides on its success. All it takes is 5 simple steps:

Make your CTA Action Oriented

An optimized call to action motivates your buyers. And one of the best ways to do that is by using “action verbs” near the start of your CTA.

So don’t simply tell your buyers…

  • “See more content here”
  • “Learn More Here”
  • “Submit”

Instead, guide them directly into your offer with strong action verbs. For example…

  • “Click Here to Download our Content Marketing eBook”
  • “Sign Up Today, It’s Free”
  • “Watch It Now”
  • “Request a 5 Minute Demo”

Tell your buyers exactly what do, and exactly what they’re going to get when they do it. An optimized call to action leaves no room for confusion.

Include keywords that are consistent with the offer and landing page

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when writing a CTA is being too “mysterious”. For instance, if you’re offering an eBook about email marketing at the end of a blog post, don’t just tell your readers,

“Download our guide!”

What exactly is the guide about? What information am I going to get from it? These are all important questions that your buyer will ask themselves before deciding to take your offer.

So instead of being so ethereal, say something like,

“Download Our Email Marketing eBook!”

Now your buyer knows exactly what’s in store for them, and they’re much more likely to take you up on what you’re offering.

Make it attention-grabbing

There’s a lot of debate in the conversion optimization world about what this means.

What does the perfect optimized call to action look like? Are you supposed to use specific colors? Make your buttons large? Flashy? Simple?

No one can tell you for sure.

In the end, it’s up to you to figure out what your buyers respond well to. They may like simplicity, or they may like flamboyance. A/B test different styles until you find one that works for your buyers.

There are some general tips, however, that you should take into consideration when crafting attention-grabbing CTAs:

  • Make them familiar. People are familiar with clicking boxed buttons and hyperlinks to navigate on the internet — not bubbles or triangles or pictures.
  • Use contrasting colors. If your webpage is blue, make your CTA yellow and see what happens!
  • Make it big enough to see on mobile devices. Don’t make your readers squint.

Use strong on-page placement.

Design isn’t the only thing that can grab your buyer’s attention — page placement is just as important. And to understand this concept, let’s first look at some terrible examples of page placement, shall we?

Stay away from placing CTAs…

  • Under the page fold. If your goal is to drive user signups immediately off a landing page, place your CTA just under your main header or subheader.
  • In the middle of a blog post. Be sure that your CTA isn’t interrupting the flow of your article. If you’re having trouble getting signups from placing your CTA elsewhere, look towards your writing, not your CTA placement.
  • At the top of a blog post. This tells your readers that you only care about selling them a product.

Instead, place your CTAs…

  • At the bottom of your blog posts. Lead your reader directly into the CTA with effective writing. Make them feel like it’s the only logical next step.
  • In the sidebar. Sidebars aren’t distracting to your readers, but they’re still effective at driving attention if you have a good offer.
  • On the menu bar. These are especially effective if you have “sticky menus” enabled on your web client.

Also, be sure that your CTAs fit logically onto your pages! It’s probably not the best idea to throw an email marketing eBook offer onto a blog post about Facebook Ads. Same goes for irrelevant offers on product pages, contact pages, and service pages.

Test changes and analyze their results.

There’s something you have to come to terms with if you’re ever going to optimize your conversion rates:  

It’s almost impossible to get your CTAs right on the first try.

Conversion optimization is an ongoing process. Your copy will get old, your styles will become outdated, your industry’s standards will shift, and your buyer’s tastes will change.

All you can do is start and improve over time.

A/B test different variations of the same CTA. Try the word “Download” instead of “Click”. Change the color of your button from green to purple. Create different sidebar designs. Try several writing styles.  Leave no stone unturned.

Just be sure to test only one change at a time. If you change two things and your click-through rate improves, you’re not going to know which change caused the increase. In other words, you won’t learn what your buyers like.

By now, you should have the knowledge you need to create an optimized call to action. Now you just need to figure out what to do with all your new customers.


The SmallBizRising Blog is designed to be an educational content hub pulling information, best practices and practical advice for the small business owner and features topics including accountingmarketingtechnology and more.  Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with new content as it is posted.  The blog was created by The Neat Company and receives contributed content from a group of contributing companies that provide technology, services and solutions to small businesses.

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