Marketing Made Easy – What is a CTA?


We consistently hear about how we need to have a CTA on our pages. It is on all the lingo, price sheets, and we hear about it while we are making our site plans. Somewhere in the back of your mind might be the thought, “Umm. I have no idea what a CTA is, and at this point, I am afraid to ask.” So! What is a CTA? CTA stands for Call to Action, and it is a button where the customer is invited to take an action, such as downloading a white paper, infographic, or obtain something that they will find valuable in exchange for their contact information. You will find CTA examples in newsletters, emails, and directly on a website. The purpose of call to action marketing is to provoke an immediate response, so the CTA must be clear, concise, and prominent.

A Call to Action is Clear

This is a call to ACTION, are you using an action word? Potential customers have to know that clicking the button WILL lead to ACTION. Call to action words include:

  • Shop Now
  • Learn More
  • Get Your Free Trial
  • Watch A Lesson

Use simple, effective words for your CTA. Nobody gets excited about “Next”, or “For more information about this topic, click on the link provided below.” Passive language requires your audience to think about what path you are trying to lead them through. Excessive wordiness and vague commentary lead to indifference. Bold actions make leads!

A Call To Action Stands Out

The Call to Action button must be visible. Rather than using the same colors as the rest of your page, make it contrast. According to a Hubspot comparison, they found that red buttons convert more leads than green. So what if your site contains a lot of red? Try orange. Unbounce claims that orange buttons are the way to go. In all the research, nobody has found that camouflaging your CTA has a positive effect.

A CTA could be placed as a simple hypertext, but how effective is this? Think about your email box. Somewhere in there, you are being inundated with mail from “Jumbo Ed’s Pet City”, “Lumpy Joe’s Gravy and More” or some other advertiser who received your email address from a list. Maybe you gave it to them when you purchased that 55-gallon vat of gravy for the Thanksgiving party three years ago. They have been sending you emails ever since, and you have not gotten around to unsubscribing. Why? Because you have to hunt through the email for the “Unsubscribe” text which may not even say unsubscribe. If you hide your CTA in text, who will look for it?

A Call to Action is Easy to Find

Where do you need to place your CTA? Place it where the customer can find it. Nobody reads an article then scrolls back up to the top to take an action. Lure the site visitor with useful information, then at the end BAM! Call to Action! That CTA cannot just be a wimpy little text block at the side of your article. Don’t hide it in small print. Don’t change the position of the CTA in every article. Let your readers know that at the end of every article they will find that lucrative, shiny orange button that will lead them to an offer they cannot refuse!

Where does the CTA Take You?

The CTA takes you to the call to action landing page, where you will be able to collect more information about your potential lead. This is done by enticing them with an offer such as a whitepaper, free trial, contest, or “exclusive members-only content” in exchange for contact information. The landing page will be where you capture the information that allows you to build your contact list. Keep the landing page as brief as possible. Asking a potential customer to fill out 27 fields is more likely to see a higher bounce rate than a “Login with Facebook” button. The KISS (Keep It Short & Simple) method is critical here, or as Sergeant Joe Friday would have said, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Get the information you need and let your new leads get to what they want.

Next time you are in that meeting room with the marketing folks, and they are spouting off about PPC’s and SEO, your eyelids are getting heavy, and your mind is wandering off to the Snickers bar in your desk, there is at least one acronym that you can say you understand. CTA’s are your tool to create leads from visitors. If that does not excite you, nothing will!

Parting Thoughts

Did you realize that the last line of every paragraph in this blog has been a CTA? Go ahead, click on them. We’ll wait!

If you make your CTA stand out, you cannot possibly lose.

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