The Anatomy of a Perfect Call to Action & Why they are Critical for Site Conversions

Post written by Guest Contributor
On Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

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A red button with the words "Take action" on it

If you’re new to marketing, you may not be totally familiar with the term CTA, or call-to-action. In reality, CTAs are pretty self-explanatory: a CTA is content that motivates you to do something. Using CTAs are essential for a successful marketing campaign. After all, driving web revenue is ultimately your overarching goal.

A CTA can take several forms, such as a video, image, button or text. When users click the CTA, they will be directed to your landing page. The more successful your CTA is, the more traffic you’ll see on your landing page. While incorporating CTAs into your campaign isn’t too difficult, it can take a little while to get used to. Here are the elements of an awesome CTA:

See Also: Convert More Web Traffic with the New WordPress Calls to Action Plugin

For this article we’ll be using a simple, yet effective CTA for Accutrition nutritional, a popular eCommerce business in the health and nutrition industry.

The Reason

You need to have a compelling reason for your call-to-action. Otherwise, there’s not much point. When brainstorming ideas for a CTA, start by asking yourself why you want one. What do you want to accomplish with your campaign?

Obviously, you want to make money, but how will you do so? Think of the call-to-action as the means to your end. If you want to sell more products, how will you accomplish that goal? Perhaps the aim of your CTA will be to increase traffic to your website, or build awareness of a specific product.

When new visitors arrive on the homepage of Accutrition nutritional, the following CTA slides in to help funnel them to a more specific product category:


A reason is stated for both genders, making it the perfect CTA for any visitor.

An Attention-Grabbing Headline

A CTA can appear in an email, a blog post or in the copy of a webpage. Wherever you place your CTA, make sure the text beginning the page catches the readers’ attention. Otherwise, they may leave the page before they even get to the CTA.

A good strategy for creating a compelling headline is to think of your favorite product, and then write about it. When you’re done, replace the name of the product or service you love with the one you’re advertising. You may also have to tweak other descriptions or details about the product. Ultimately, this exercise will help you ensure your headlines are interesting and well-written. People tend to be much more creative and engaging when they’re talking about something they really like.

Accutrition visitors immediately:


The gender headlines are supported by sub-headings that dictate reasons and product offerings, giving us a better idea of what to expect if we click through.

An Action Verb

The most effective CTAs begin with an action verb because they show readers what you want them to do right away. For example, starting a CTA with “register,” “try out” or “download” is a good idea because these words tell the reader what to expect. Consumers are much more likely to use your products and services if they know exactly what they’re getting into from the beginning.

Starting your CTA with an action verb will also decrease the likelihood of bounce-backs. It’s not a good idea to make the CTA whatever you think will be most likely to generate a response. This may boost traffic at first but will only hurt you in the long run. Not only will tricking users make consumers less likely trust you in the future, but such tactics can also lower your page rank. SEO algorithms track how long a user stays on your page, and a high number of bounce-backs may indicate you’re using black hat tactics. Analysts will also lower your rank if they discover you’re using bait-and-switch CTAs.


The verb “shop” is one of the most common CTA verbs because it doesn’t put the weight of having to make a purchase on visitors – similar to “browse.” Also, these types of non-committing verbs make navigation seamless for users, because we don’t have to second-guess clicking; we feel safe clicking through because we’re just “checking out” the offerings.

A Stand-Out Color or Image

We’re much more likely to click on something if it catches our eye. That’s why it’s important to use a bold, attention-grabbing color or image for your CTA. The CTA should stand out from the colors on rest of the page — for example, it’s hard to miss a red image on a white background. With that in mind, though, make sure your CTA still has some aesthetic integrity. The CTA and the rest of the page should complement each other, not make readers feel like their eyes are burning. The text on the CTA should be clear end easy to read.

Placement on the page is also important, especially if you’d prefer to use hyperlinked text as your CTA. Don’t put the CTA at the very end of the page, as readers may gloss over it. Put it somewhere where it’s highly visible — if someone were to look at the page and not read the text, he or she should be able to pick it out.


This image was definitely a great choice for their target demographic. It appeals to both genders, reflects their majority consumer age, and blends well into the CTA.


Our first ideas aren’t always our best ideas. That’s why it’s important to try out a number of different options when you’re crafting your CTA. Experiment with different colors, styles of buttons, images and fonts. You should also draft a few different headlines, and experiment with the wording.

Execute testing in the popular A/B or multivariate forms. There are dozens of sites that offer split testing solutions, but if you’re operating on WordPress your best bet is to go with Inbound Now’s very own CTA plugin which allows us to create, implement, and tests professional-grade CTAs.

You can even ask your colleagues which ones they like best and if they have suggestions for improvement. Their feedback will help you create a stellar CTA.

What happens after we click through?

In most cases, you’ll want to direct users to a form that begins or influences a payment subscription, or download.

In the case of Accutrition or any other eComemrce CTA, the goal was to filter and funnel visitors. If we clicked on “Shop Mens” we are directed to their mens health page.

You’ll notice that CTAs become more of an eCommerce objective with surrounding influences. For example:


The “Earn 27 points” makes us wonder, as new visitors, what points equate to. This influences us to learn more about the point system and ultimately, make a purchase. 


Written by Jesse Aaron. Jesse is a professional blogger with a passion for homebrewing. He writes about social media marketing strategies with actionable tips on his blog.

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