10 Tips for Designing Calls To Action that Convert

Have you ever struggled to get visitors on your site to take action? Whether you’re trying to get people to purchase your product, sign up for your mailing list or simply contact you, you won’t get them to take action without a good call-to-action.

First off, what is a call-to-action? A call-to-action, or CTA, is any message designed to encourage action from your visitors. Simply put: it’s a call for your visitors to take action.

A CTA can be an excellent sales tool and an invaluable asset to your website. A good CTA can make a sale while a bad one can send a lead straight into the open arms of your competitors.

Thankfully even small adjustments can help to dramatically affect the success of your CTAs. Here are 10 helpful tips to create call to actions that convert.

1. Build Value

The first step to building a CTA that gets results is to consider the value to your visitors of taking action. How will taking action solve their problems or improve their situation? Identify how taking action will benefit your visitors and make that the backbone of your CTA.


Asana builds value right off the bat by leading with their benefit: make more time for the work that matters most.

2. Use Action-Oriented Words

Using action-oriented words helps to reinforce the benefit of the action and makes it more appealing to take. Using words and phrases like “click here”, “submit” or “download” sound like work and don’t tell visitors anything about what they’ll get by taking the action. Instead focus on words and phrases like “stay connected”, “get in touch” or “give today.”


Slack uses action-oriented wording in their button to reinforce the benefit that clicking will get you started with their product.

3. Be Clear And Concise

It can be tempting to go into detail when writing your CTA, but less is more when trying to improve your click through rate. Being clear and concise makes it easier for your visitors to scan your content and take action without unnecessary work. Outlining benefits and features can be a great way to convince visitors to take action, but that content is best presented on landing pages or throughout your site.  


Sketch’s landing page does a great job outlining key features and benefits so when you scroll to the end of the page their CTA can get straight to the point.

4. Address Your Audience

Addressing your audience makes your visitors feel like they’re being spoken to directly. Using words like “you” or “your” helps them visualize the action you want them to take and helps nudge them in the desired direction. Instead of saying “download” or “start” consider saying “download your copy today” or “start your free trial.”

Hulu addresses their audience from the start with with their header and reinforces their messaging in their CTA with “Start YOUR Free Trial.”

5. Create a Sense of Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency gets visitors to take action immediately rather than holding off. If you’ve ever put something back while shopping you know that “maybe later” more often than not becomes never. Some key phrases you may want to consider are “while supplies last,” “for a limited time only” or simply “download now.”


Web Summit creates a sense of urgency by showing a live countdown until their ticket prices increase as their event grows nearer.

6. Address Concerns

Address concerns head-on to dispel any hang-ups that may keep your visitors from taking action. “We promise not to spam you” can go a long way to building trust for visitors you’d like to sign up to your mailing list. The phrase “no credit card required” can be equally powerful dispelling concerns over pricing commitments.

Freshbooks uses a common approach of including bonus text near their button to dispel any concerns about commitments or hidden fees.

7. Limit Choices

Asking your visitors to take multiple actions can make it unclear which path they should follow. Most visitors want to be guided, so consider limiting their choices to  ensure that you don’t lose them along the way. If you find you do need to include multiple choices, emphasize one choice more prominently to help funnel visitors towards the most important option.

Spotify emphasizes their Premium paid subscription by giving weight to their “Get Premium” button while de-emphasizing their free option with a more subtle button style.

8. Consider Placement

Placement is key in getting your CTA in front of as many people as possible. Many sites display their CTA prominently at the top of their landing page to ensure maximum exposure. Others place their CTA towards the bottom of the page to engage with users who have already read over their features and benefits. Some sites even use a combination of both to ensure all their bases are covered.

Mailchimp begins their page with a simple CTA and follow up again with a second CTA after they’ve had a chance to tell you how awesome their product is.

9. Optimize Design

Even the most well crafted CTA can be ruined by poor design choices. Imagine spending hours crafting the perfect CTA just to find your text is difficult to read or your button is hard to click. Good design is functional, intuitive, unobtrusive and most importantly user-oriented. Numerous a/b tests and case studies have proven that even the smallest change to color or whitespace can drastically improve conversion.

Try to keep these elements in mind when designing your CTA:

  • When choosing colors for your CTA button consider colors that stand out from the rest of the page and catch your visitors attention.
  • Contrasting colors will help to make both your buttons and text stand out from your background.
  • Make both your headlines and buttons large enough to grab your visitors’ attention.
  • Too little white space is the most common mistake people make when designing CTAs so give everything a little room to breathe and it’ll work wonders for your conversions.
Apple is the preeminent brand when it comes to design and their CTAs showcase excellent use of color, contrast, size and whitespace all with their signature minimalism.

10. Track Results

The only way to know if your CTA works is to track results. While it may be tempting to let your CTA into the wild and forget about it, there are always ways to optimize conversions to get the most visitors taking actions. Google Analytics can be an excellent free tool to track results, while paid services like heatmaps or a/b testing can give you invaluable insight into performance.

Hotjar features an ever evolving CTA optimized to perfection using data they gather from heatmaps and other tools they provide.

Conclusion

Having a well crafted call-to-action can be an invaluable tool to assist you in getting your website visitors to take action. Use these ten tips when creating your next CTA and you’ll see better results than ever before.