Because what is the point of going through all of the work to reach your target audience if it doesn't increase sales, right?
You want these website visitors to enjoy your content, sign up for more content, and then eventually convert to a paying customer.
So, how do you do that?
With a simple and effective call to action (CTA).
Whether you want your potential customers to complete an opt-in form or to share a blog post on their social media channels, it all comes down to how you encourage them to do it. And you can do that with a simple yet powerful call to action.
After all, how would the reader know what action you want if you don't clearly communicate it?
There are so many different ways to use an effective call-to-action on your site, so I'm going to go through some of the most powerful call to action phrases, strategies, and designs that you can begin using today.
How to Write Clickable Calls to Action (+ 20 CTA Examples)
By the end of this article, you'll have enough call-to-action examples and knowledge to increase conversions and boost sales in your ecommerce shop and keep your product top of mind.
What is a Call To Action (CTA)?
A call to action is a piece of content, such as text or a button, that encourages an audience to complete a certain task. It's an especially powerful tool in digital marketing to convert a user, reader, or general audience into a solid lead that will eventually convert to a sale. It's an important step at the beginning of the buyer's journey and can be used to encourage a variety of different actions, depending on what the immediate goal is.
Calls to action come in a variety of forms, but the most common ways to use them are in an opt-in form, a clickable button, or on social media.
And the most commonly used action phrases we see on the internet are
try it for free
There are many different types of CTAs, all of which encourage the user to perform a certain action.
But that's a whole other blog post.
In this blog post, I'll go over how to write a solid call to action and then show you some powerful examples currently being used.
How to write a Call To Action
A call to action can be used in many different ways, in a blog post, on the homepage, on social media, or in an email. So the text and tone may vary, depending on the end goal. No matter where you choose to include your compelling CTA, there are a few general guidelines to follow.
Use action phrases. Make it very clear about the action that you would like the reader to perform. While being cute and catchy may be tempting, it won't result in any conversion because the reader won't know what to do. If you're not sure how to include action phrases, check to see if there are any action verbs in your CTA.
Use first-person. The easiest way to encourage a user to do something is to make it more personable like you're speaking to a friend. The easiest way to do this is with the first person tense.
Create a sense of urgency. Without a sense of urgency, it is easy for your audience to put off the action altogether. That doesn't mean that you need to instill panic, though. Instead, bring attention to the time-sensitive nature of what you're offering, it could be a referral incentive like a major discount on a product or valuable content that can help potential customers right now, create a friendly sense of urgency to prompt them to act.
Eliminate roadblocks or friction. Make the action as easy as possible to perform. Any roadblocks to completing that action should be eliminated right away. So, for example, if you want to prompt the user to share your content on their social media channels to increase social proof of your brand or product, be sure to include a clear social share button right alongside your CTA.
Make them stand out and easy to find. Whether you use a colorful clickable button or a well-designed form, make sure that your call-to-action is easy to find. It should be the first thing your eye is drawn toward when you load the page with clear text that encourages a specific action.
If you follow these basic but effective guidelines, then you will increase the conversion rate of your call to action. Now let's take a look at some powerful call to action examples!
Call To Action Examples
One of the most important tasks in conversion rate optimization is to write a solid call to action. Look at any company's website and you'll see the elements of a CTA all throughout. From the button color to the design of the sign-up form, the call to action is the gatekeeper of effective lead generation.
Here are some effective CTAs already happening all over the web.
This online store is built off the collective conscience of environmentally minded people all over the world. So to increase conversions with their target audience, it makes sense that they'd play up the do-gooder character. The first part of their call to action says 'put your money where your mindfulness is', playfully poking at the trending mindfulness movement.
Then they follow this with a mention of off-setting carbon emissions to confirm that their audience is doing the right thing and then jump into the powerful button CTA, 'treat yourself to 10% off'.
They casually disguise their action verbs, 'put your money' and 'treat yourself', so that their website visitors forget that they're being pushed to act.
Instead, they feel as if they're doing good and that the discount is simply a reward for doing good. When online retailers can make their sales funnel look like a good deed, then you bet their conversion rate is going to be high.
Everything about this call to action is simple, from the button color to the UX design. So how is it so powerful?
This ecommerce site is less about turning a profit and more about saving the world, so it makes sense that their calls to action would focus on pushing their audience to join their efforts instead of purchasing a product.
Though that's exactly what they would be doing, anyway.
Just above their CTA button, they make a pretty bold statement: We make contaminated water safe to drink.
And right next to that is a cute little doodle of their product. This simple and fun product image juxtaposed with a powerful statement immediately catches your attention, leaving the reader wondering how it could possibly work.
And then they conveniently put their button CTA that answers that question with 'see how'. Though this conversion doesn't lead to a purchase, it does lead the user further into the website and along the conversion funnel, making it a sneaky yet powerful CTA.
This brand built its own social proof right into their call to action by deeming their product as 'everyone's favorite undies'. Then, just to drive the message home, they list a few social media influencers who use their products, making their brand seem even cooler.
Considering that social proof can increase conversions by up to 34 percent, this is a solid and powerful move from their marketing department.
Just below this, they have a button that says 'join the movement', luring users into this trend quickly and quietly.
This super simple CTA lays out exactly what the user can expect by clicking on the button: up to 30% name brand products.
...but it sure is fun to look at super discounted prices. Once again, this online retailer has found a way to move their audience along the sales funnel without pressuring any purchase or opt-in, making this CTA seem like an innocent little button.
By offering tremendous value with no fluff, REI has created a CTA that can't help but have a high click-through rate.
One of the most powerful customer acquisition channels you have begins with your happy customers. Existing customers that love your brand are likely to tell their friends and family about the products they bought from you, which is the very premise of word of mouth marketing. To help facilitate the referral process, many businesses create a referral marketing strategy that offers incentives to existing customers who refer their brand.
This not only increases customer retention but also brings in brand new customers who are more likely to make a purchase than people brought in through ads or search engines.
So yeah, turning your loyal customers into an all-natural lead generation tool is a smart business move. The first step is to get them to sign up for your customer referral program and you can do this with a call to action. Here are a few examples of referral program CTAs that you can use on your site right now.
In an industry filled with hidden costs and markups, Everlane is transparent about every aspect of their manufacturing process. By doing so, customers know exactly how much of their money actually goes into the making of the shirt and feel confident that their shirts were ethically-made.
Their referral program is displayed in plain sight on their navigation bar so their customers won’t miss it.
7. 1950 Collective
CTA Location: On the header navigation bar
CTA Button: Ambassadors
Why It Works:
Founded by two One Direction fans, Angela and Nishiki, the 1950 Collective sells trendy clothes revolving around One Direction and other pop culture elements.
Their referral program, disguised as an ambassador program, capitalizes on the trendiness of their brand by encouraging their customer base to share their products with others.
By keeping the ambassador program top of mind in the main menu bar up top, it allows customers to explore the program naturally.
Not only that, but they have also maximized their referral program CTA exposure by displaying it on both the header and footer navigation of all their webpages:
People who shop with this brand are likely already committed to the cause…
… after all, ‘cause’ is right within the brand’s name. The makeup brand not only uses sustainable practices and all natural ingredients but it also donates to domestic abuse survivors with every purchase.
So their customers are probably already loyal and eager to spread the word. Rather than writing a gimmicky CTA, the brand cuts straight to the chase with a simple and presumptuous ‘next’ on their CTA button.
This members-only club not only has a solid referral program but also has a ton of other benefits, like referral discounts, free shipping, and faster checkout.
Rather than asking their audience to refer a friend to their brand, they’re offering a whole package of benefits to their customers. It’s simple, easy, and provides tremendous value that is hard to pass up.
Koala sells sustainably made mattresses, which can be quite pricey. Rather than focusing on savings (and highlighting the high cost of their products), Koala pitches the referral program as a type of ‘sharing’. This works well with their overall company ethos and positions the program as an act of kindness for everyone involved.
With a revolutionary direct-to-consumer business model, Greats displays their referral program CTA clearly on their landing page and even on their ‘About Us’ page.
This is a powerful tactic because it keeps their referral program top-of-mind without being too pushy. It’s also concise and to the point, telling their audience exactly what they can gain out of it ($25) without making an awkward plea to join.
CTA Location: Widget on every page, referral page
CTA Button: Join Now
Why It Works:
Founded in 2013, VaporDNA is a one-stop shop for all your e-cigarette needs. They strategically included a rewards widget that is accessible from any page on their website. This makes it easy to remember to log their rewards for members and easy to notice for non-members.
On their referral page, they outline in great detail what their rewards program entails, making it seem like an enticing program to be a part of. Then they summarize it with a few cute doodles and place a bright blue button with the action phrase, ‘join now’.
There is nothing revolutionary about their referral marketing CTAs except that they applied virtually all of the best practices in one comprehensive sweep. It’s a job well done and likely has a high conversion rate.
Amuze is a members-only fashion portal that provides daily flash sales and discounts on popular high fashion products.
Their referral program CTAs include a simple CTA right at the top of their homepage and a large image on the homepage body. It works because it offers high value and makes it super easy to find. Everyone loves free money and for those customers who shop with Amuze regularly, it will be easy to cash in.
Vivo Barefoot believes in their mission and isn’t trying to build a sexy brand that earns cash fast. Instead, they are trying to truly make an impact on the world by cashing in on the capitalism scheme without doing any damage on the planet in the process.
It’s powerful stuff.
So when they offer $30 off for simply referring your friends, it’s like they’re doing it mostly because they just wanna help the buyer out. Not only that, but they also have a lottery for referrals to win their purchase back, making it a fun game of Everyone Wins.
When companies who are busy trying to save the world also take the time to serve their customers, it’s a very good thing that leads to customer retention and long-term sales.
Simple And Effective CTAs
Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time), simple is better. When we add flowery language or cheeky opt-ins, we might lose the ability to quickly and effectively communicate what we’re offering to the user. This is why simple language works.
The International Rescue Committee knows that anyone visiting their site is already interested in helping others. So they package up this altruistic desire into a simple and ready-to-go package.
They clearly state what can be accomplished by clicking the button (help provide refugee families with safety) and then a clear statement about what is expected of the user once the button is clicked (to give monthly). It’s simple yet powerful.
CTA Button: Free 30-day Trial, Buy Now - Save 30% off
Why It Works:
This CTA provides two options to users, one that is free and one that is paid.
The header and description just above the buttons quickly outline what users can get from the Quickbooks services and then offer two enticing yet simple options.
Since they know that people visiting their site are already interested in cleaning up their account management so they make the process simple: either try it out for free or get the paid version right now for a super discounted price.
Nike knows that their products are not cheap. While they’re not luxury items, their products are the kinds that you buy on a whim. Instead, users likely research and investigate for weeks before making a purchase.
And all they need is a tiny little push to make it happen…
...perhaps a little nudge from an offer or discount that is emailed directly to their inbox.
Nike knows this is true and so do the users, so Nike makes it an easy negotiation by offering discounts right from their homepage. Not without a referral email opt-in, of course.
Powerful Call To Action Phrases
Sometimes the simple CTA phrases can feel a little drab or redundant, so it’s fun to spice them up a little bit.
However, this can sometimes lead to unclear instructions or a confused user who is unsure of what they will receive by clicking the button.
If you want to spice up your CTAs without making it a confusing process, then try one of these powerfully creative phrases.
Power words are known to increase conversions and Treehouse used two in their CTA: claim and free. It’s effective because it puts the power back into the hands of the user, enticing them to “claim” their “free” goods. And that’s really all there is to this CTA. It’s a simple one that you can steal, no matter your industry.
Thinx offers “period panties”, which absorb menstrual flow directly into the fabric of the underwear. Unlike previous feminine hygiene products, these do not leak, are environmentally friendly, and are cheaper in the long run.
And if that sounds too good to be true, Thinx offers a free trial.
Rather than using traditional marketing calls-to-action, though, they use a phrase that perks every woman’s ears: period better.
This site is built by women, for women. And as women, we all know what it’s like to get our periods, month after month.
So a simple CTA like ‘period better’, though perhaps vague for men, is clear and to the point.
Most CTA buttons will have a simple “sign up” or “join” phrase to accompany an email opt-in, which works just fine.
Birchbox, however, personalized this CTA by throwing “me” in the middle. This is a strategic move because it puts the power back into the users hands. It makes it so that the person isn’t just signing up, but they’re instructing Birchbox to do it for them. It’s a fun and sneaky little trick to boost the conversion rate on an otherwise mundane (yet effective) CTA.
Enticing Call To Action buttons
While traditional CTAs will certainly do the trick, people are so used to them that they can sometimes be less persuasive. Adding a little more intrigue to the CTA can help boost your persuasion factor (and increase conversions).
Asking the reader if the planet can be saved is a bold and ominous move. And then just below that, the Nature Conservancy uses two power words, “bold” and “urgently”, to suggest that perhaps the planet can indeed be saved.
It leaves the reader scratching her head, wondering if she can be a part of it.
And just when the reader is left wondering this, there is a big button to answer that thought.
When you pose such an appealing question like this, you gotta be able to provide an answer. If you can make that answer into an opt-in, then you are golden.
Toms shoes positions itself as a movement, a campaign to save the world. So when they offer you deep discounts and then suggest that you’re joining a movement when you are also saving money, it becomes a pretty irresistible offer.
People love quizzes, that’s really all there is to it. If you can work a quiz into your brand and homepage, then you will increase your conversion rates tenfold. Typeform, JotForm Quiz Maker and Surveymonkey are some of the best brands for creating custom quizzes that you can embed right on your website.
With all of the paid streaming services and hassles of downloading corrupt files, Spotify cuts to the chase and promises millions of songs for free. And rather than asking people to sign up or join, they position as something that the user will “get”. For free.
Just like quizzes are undeniably fun and enticing, so is the promise of getting a free score (no matter what you’re scoring). Rather than positioning this as a ‘free consultation’ or a way to ‘learn how’ to improve your company, Impact turns the quiz-like opt-in into a valuable and personal score that the user can use with or without purchase.
The beauty of this CTA is how conversational this cart recovery text message is. Keeping a conversation going has a compounding effect on customer trust. They're more likely to buy from you if they trust you. The real-estate within an SMS is limited to 160-characters, so link positioning of the CTA link is crucial here. Customers are more likely to click a link preview than a hyperlinked text.
So it's always a great practice to add the CTA link at the very end of a message so that the preview appears on the recipient's end to take the next desired action. See how ShineOn is initiating real-time conversations with their shoppers after they abandon their carts.
Marquis Matson is an SEO analyst, content marketer, and writer. She specializes in search engine optimization for ecommerce sites in the yoga and wellness niche. She lives as a digital nomad, spending time in Ecuador, California, Thailand, India, Australia, and more. You can find her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or at marquismatson.com.
A referral program is a deliberate, systematic way of getting people to make referrals to your business. Referral programs are often called word-of-mouth marketing, because they reward existing customers for sharing and incentivize new customers to try out your brand.