Calls To Action: Do They Matter (And How To Exploit Them)

by Terri Scott 5 Minutes

calls to action Google SearchDon’t you wish that your content reader intuitively knew the steps to take after they’ve read your marketing content?

Forget about it!

Most of the time, they’ll need a little guidance, a little hand-holding if you will.

The gold-standard method that all digital marketers need to use is the Call To Action (CTA) element. Below are common question you may ask about them, along with advice on how to exploit them to your advantage.

Why Does Everyone Keep Talking About Calls-To Action?

If you subscribe to any blog worth its salt (Like this one!), then you’ve probably read an article (or many) pertaining to this element.

But have you ever wondered just what is it about the deceiving humble element that makes blog authors attempt a stab at the topic?

The reason why you’re reading all of those articles is because nothing else compares to the conversion power of this one-three sentence element in driving conversions.

To be plain, you could have wrote the most epic post on a topic that blows all of the industry experts away. But without adding your CTA, you’re going to miss out on all of the conversion opportunities that it should have created for you.

Even if your goal in publishing an article is to brand yourself and create an aura of authority, you’ll still need a way of keeping up with all of your new contacts.

A CTA could and should be inserted in your article so that you can funnel your new readers on some sort of email list, or direct your readers to your authority product (such as a book for sale).

And here’s the thing about them:

You can use it anywhere you create content!

Do you need to ramp up a down-and-dirty social media guerilla campaign in order to get some more email addresses on your campaign lists? You can create a sentence or two works nicely even within the most unforgiving text platforms (Hi Twitter!).

You can tie a bow on your blog ( or static website) posts by including that action element. This will lead your readers to the next natural progression to your email list, or your sales page.

And conversely, you can insert an element (actually, you should) if you’d like to lead your email list readers from your email content to your blog posts, your sales pages, or anywhere you’d like to lead them.

The platforms and the content might change, but the need for the CTA remains the same!

Isn’t The CTA Section Just For Those Internet Marketing Folks?

In case you haven’t figure this out, here’s a dirty secret:

If you sell your services online, then you are an internet marketer.

Do you sell digital products of any sort? Do you sell creative services? Do you own or operate the marketing functions of an agency?

If so, then you’re performing internet marketing functions, and this means that you’ll need to craft your marketing copy just as well as the person who sells info products (or affiliate products) online.

In other words, if you don’t want your prospective clients trying to figure out on their own what to do when they’ve finished reading your marketing copy, then you’d better insert a CTA at the end of your message!

How Difficult Is It To Create A CTA?

Here’s another cool thing about the CTA element of your marketing copy:

It doesn’t have to be hard to produce at all!

Yes, there’s a plethora of articles out there instructing readers on how to create pitch-perfect CTAs. Some articles are truly helpful, but some articles can make you believe that you need some sort of marketing doctorate in order to nail them!

Don’t believe the hype! Remember that the purpose is the get your readers to take the next logical step in your marketing funnel.

Even a short and sweet call-to-action such as “Click here to learn more” will work in a pinch.

No, the example isn’t the most sophisticated, but until you learn how to master more sophisticated phrases, keep things simple and use what works in the meantime!

Don’t get hung up on creating the perfect phrase. Start out by using one in the first place, then keep testing it until you discover a nice variety of phrases that work.

How Many Times Should I Use A CTA?

Typically, they are used at least once, and they’re usually inserted in at the end of your content message.

Having said this, there are marketers who sprinkle them multiple times throughout their marketing content.

Affiliate marketers (especially those who produce review or authority sites) are adept at creating multiple action calls in their copy. They do this because they understand that site readers have short attention spans, and they might not want to read all of the copy.

And sometimes, the reader doesn’t need convincing, and they just want to buy their product.

Therefore, the marketer knows that it’s best to “stop talking” and allow the reader enough opportunities to become customers.

But if you’re selling high-ticket products, or if you’re selling creative services, then your content readers are going to need more convincing. Therefore, you’re going to have to earn the readers trust a bit more with lots of informative content, saving your ask until the end of your content pitch.

So to answer the original question, the amount of times that you incorporate your ask in the copy depends upon your readership and the product (or service) you’re offering.

Is There A Right Or Wrong Way To Use Them?

There’s definitely a right and a wrong way to use these conversion tools. Hubspot offers some authority on the best-practices on how to use them correctly:

CTAs should be:

  • Visually striking with copy that compels you to click the offer
  • Brief: A couple of words is best, no more than five is ideal
  • Action-oriented: Begin with a verb like “Download” or “Register”
  • Located in an easy-to-find spot that follows organically from the flow of the webpage
  • In a contrasting color from the color scheme of the webpage, while still fitting in with the overall design
  • Large enough to see from a distance, but not so large as to detract attention from the main content on the page
  • Easy to understand and clear: Be sure to state exactly what the visitor will get if they click on the CTA and go to the landing page

And don’t forget about those social sharing prompts! They also act as calls for readers to take action:

It may seem obvious, but social sharing buttons, like for Twitter and Facebook, are an effective, easy way for visitors to become involved with your company.

Place these CTAs on blog posts and landing pages, but be careful to not include them in spots where people are submitting their personal information.

On the other hand, here’s a poor example that you should avoid:

Use actionable language in the active voice. Make it clear what you’re asking your lead to do. Wishy-washy calls to action get wishy-washy results.

Here’s another example from Inbound Now:

CTAs should be cognizant of the client’s journey. A front page that screams “Buy now!” looks scammy but a front page with a CTA that guides clients to more information helps them feel more at ease and more trusting of your business, increasing sales.

This also means that you should avoid flashy buttons, arrows, or tacky language that makes your reader click away from your content, immediately!

Won’t I Be Perceived As Cheesy If I Use Them In My Content?

No. You’ll be perceived as a marketer who understands the online marketing process. You’ll also enjoy higher levels of conversions.

How Will I Know If It Worked Like I Hoped?

You’ll perform a series of tests. The most obvious test is the tried-and-true split test. You’ll literally split your email list in half and test one version of your call to action with one group, and test the other call to action with the other.

The one that converts the most is the one you’ll continue to use.

If you don’t feel like split testing, then just keep trying out various action elements. Then, watch and observe the ones that your readers are responding to the most.

Now that you’ve come to understand this critical content marketing element, it’s time for you to engage with one. Find out how Bidsketch can help you to propose your creative services to new clients.

*Lead photo source

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by Terri Scott
Terri is a content marketing storyteller and strategist. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship through stories for marketers of all stripes. Her specialty is creating narrative and she writes essays and memoir in her spare time. You can view her work at, and she'd love to hear from you: