What is a CTA?

A CTA is a simple and often overlooked marketing strategy that many small businesses and nonprofit organizations often ignore. A CTA, or call-to-action, is anything that inspires people to take a specific action. CTAs are usually associated with clickable buttons or links, but it applies to all areas of marketing. 


CTAs are usually statements that inspire action from the reader. These action statements are an important marketing piece that funnels people through the sales process. CTAs can be a simple "Call Now," or "Buy Now" on website's homepage, or statements found in sales pitches and promotions. They tell people what they should do next. While it may seem obvious to a business what a customer should do next, it might not be obvious to customers.


New business owners oftentimes don't have calls-to-action because either 1) they believe the customer knows where to buy or how to learn more or 2) they fear being overly aggressive. Unfortunately, this means a loss of potential income and clientel.


Call-to-Action Words

Action verbs are a part of every CTA that use phrases like:

  • Sign-up

  • Buy Now

  • Call Now

  • Join Now

  • Learn More

  • Subscribe

  • Donate

  • Buy

  • Order

  • Share

  • Follow

  • Click here

  • Download

  • View more


Creating a Call-to-Action


  1. Ask yourself... "What do you want people to do?"  The obvious action is to buy your product or services. However, your marketing should have several goals such as signing up for your newsletter, following you on social media, visiting your website or referring your businesses. Write down your top marketing priorities and make sure everything you create includes a CTA.

  2. Take inventory. Start a marketing "walk-through" of your website, social media posts, print pieces and storefront. Are your calls-to-action obvious? Do you have a call-to-action on your website's homepage? Is there a button at the top that asks people to "Call Now" or "Buy More"? Does your online newsletter have a standard CTA for social media, your website or online store? Find ways to incorporate a CTA in all areas of your marketing.

  3. Be clear. The worst thing you can do is make assumptions that people know what to do when they read your advertisement. Be clear on what you would like people to do.

  4. Less is better. We live in a world that is so full of options we can easily become overwhelmed. Make it easy for your customers and just tell them what to do next. Don't give them an option to "Call or email us." Make it easy by choosing one.

  5. Be user-friendly. Once clients click "Subscribe Now," the next page that loads should be a sign-up form. Do not have them click through several screens before they get to your form. Readers will get frustrated and "bounce."

  6. Tiered CTAs. Some businesses need to guide consumers down a path before they purchase. This requires several small steps that lead to a larger goal. An tiered example would be (1) receiving a discount for signing up for your newsletter. (2) Emailing a sales letter with an action to "Buy Now." (3) Finally, purchasing a subscription with another call-to-action. In this example, the first step is to sign-up for the email with the end-goal of becoming a monthly subscriber.

  7. Your were born to shine! Make your call-to-action STAND OUT! Make your font bigger, more colorful, place a lot of white space around it. Don't let it get lost in your message.


Bonus Round: Strategy

The quickest way to inspire action is to make it urgent. Is your sale ending soon? Are your supplies limited? Does it solve an urgent need? Always state what your customer is getting in return (i.e. a discount, free consultation, etc.). Focus how you or your product can benefit your clients (i.e. save money now).


Managing Your Results

I'm not sure how many times I've heard this over the year's but it still rings true, "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it." How do you know if you're successful at anything? Measure it. Anytime you have strategy back it up with a way to measure it, otherwise you'll never know if your strategy is working.


"If you can't measure it, you can't manage it."

For instance, did you get more followers using a video or by posting a picture? Did you get more email subscribers with a basic "Subscribe Now" or by offering something FREE for signing up? Create goals that align with each of your strategies from step 1. (above). Your goals don't have to be complicated either. Keep it simple.


For more help with your marketing or brand, contact us today. We provide real business solutions from print to web and beyond.


#pushyourbrandforward #calltoaction #marketing

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