June 4, 2021

Read This Article: The Value of Calls-To-Action

Amy Huang

They’re everywhere—on billboards, on social media, and on every brand’s website. They’re meant to be seen (and sometimes heard). With people spending more time online, they’re exposed to a greater number of advertisements nudging them to sign up for a free trial, learn more about a product, or request a demo. From start to finish, the online experience is rife with these calls-to-action. 

What are calls-to-action (CTAs) and what role do they play in marketing? Why are some CTAs more effective than others? How can marketers better employ CTAs to reach potential customers? Let’s take a look at these questions. 

CTA best practices

What are Calls-To-Action?

A call-to-action is fittingly named—it is a directive phrase or statement, usually built around an action verb, that seeks to catalyze specific customer behavior. Most common CTAs are action buttons: “join now,” “sign up,” and “learn more,” but there are many variations that play with wording, length, and numbers. Customers encounter CTAs in the first few interactions with a brand and in the final moments leading up to a purchase, making CTAs an important part of sales and marketing strategies. 

Simply put, CTAs are crafted to get more visits and clicks to landing pages, blog posts, or any other destination intended by a given author.

And CTAs are everywhere: websites, Facebook ads, Google results, media platforms, print material... anywhere prospects interact with a conversion funnel (i.e. a brand interaction), you should be thinking about CTAs.

This means that some CTAs are more effective than others. Like with every other aspect of the consumer experience, success lies in personalization. The HubSpot team analyzed more than 330,000 CTAs, comparing basic ones that every customer sees to smart ones that are tailored to the individual. Their analysis revealed a few important points: 

  • Personalized CTA buttons convert 202% better than basic CTAs. 
  • Most CTAs have conversion rates between 1% and 7%, but a few smart CTAs have as high as a 25% to 45% conversion rate. 
  • Button-based CTAs convert twice as well compared to their image counterparts.  

Also, be mindful of action words. A CTA of "free consultation" might sound compelling, however that verbiage by itself doesn't actually call anyone to do anything. As obvious as it may sound, the field of conversion rate optimization proves time and time again that website visitors and offline customers alike respond to explicit action words embedded in CTAs.

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At their best, calls to action funnel customers through the door and introduce them to the rest of your brand.

A/B Testing - Engineering Success with CTAs

But how can one be confident that the above "best practices" are actually effective? The answer is A/B testing.  By serving up multiple versions of CTA copy, action phrases, font colors, etc., advertisers have become extremely effective at validating theories and creating patterns of optimizing CTAs for a given target audience.

For example, a CTA is often tasked with creating a sense of urgency. In the aforementioned Hubspot analysis, thousands of variations of personalized CTAs were compared to non-personalized CTAs. These were calls-to-action for things like downloads, newsletter signups, credit card additions; the greater the range of these factors, the greater the sample size the analysis was able to use.

This relentless optimization is leveraged to create headlines that pop, ad copy that resonates with site visitors, and yes, compelling calls to action across every industry, vertical, and sales channel out there.

Best of all, marketers don't have to start from scratch with their own A/B tests. Leveraging previous results for CTA inspiration, especially from larger sample size experiments, can save brands time and money on their own effective CTA optimization journey.

More Best Practices for CTAs

  • Concision: CTAs are more effective when they are direct and concise, especially considering character limits on ads. Pair strong action verbs with relevant information to communicate your product’s value. Headspace, for example, uses “Snuggle up to Headspace. Sleep made simple.” Their action verb evokes comfort, and the rest nudges customers to subscribe for better sleep.  
  • Visibility: While online calls-to-action are more easily noticed, marketers have to be more strategic with CTA placement on physical products. Advantageous locations can include the product insert, hang tag, packaging, and on the product itself.  
  • Communicate your value proposition: Whether they unveil a discount, exclusive deals, or relevant brand content, CTAs are a quick and creative opportunity to pique consumer interest. At their best, CTAs funnel customers through the door and introduce them to the rest of your brand. 

Here are a few examples of CTAs that Brij customers are leveraging:

  • “Scan for rewards”
  • “Scan for exclusive deals”
  • “Scan to learn more”

These CTAs are concise and placed with the most visibility, using at most four words to highlight value to consumers. 

Opportunities Ahead

Brij will help your team make the most out of CTAs that enlist the best practices mentioned above. Brij offers a quick and accessible way to turn these calls into action: with a scan of a unique QR code, customers can access not only rewards and exclusive deals, but also product information, warranty activation, and much more. When customers register their product, they give brands valuable first-party consumer data that informs more personalized CTAs and a better overall shopping experience.

Want to learn more about Brij?