August 6, 2013

How to Design an Effective Call-to-Action

In inbound marketing, calls-to-action (CTA) are huge resources for attracting and obtaining leads. For this reason, it’s important that your CTA’s are crafted in a concise and well-thought manner. Just like other inbound efforts, CTA’s should be planned out in advance and designed to be effective. A compelling CTA will include certain elements in order to be successful. Keep reading for some CTA inspiration!

CTA Goals

Call-To-Action_ButtonLike with most marketing objectives, it is essential that you first contemplate the goals you would like to achieve. What is it that you’d like to accomplish with your CTA? Who are the brand personas you want to target towards? At what section(s) of the funnel does your CTA relate with most? When you’ve nailed down your goals, it will help in determining other factors involved, (as shown below).


Begin to mold content so that it accomplishes the set goals you had in mind; use keywords that reflect the CTA's content; ensure that phrasing is relatable for the targeted personas. Not sure if you’re hitting the mark? Create two versions with varying content and perform A/B testing. By doing this, you will get a better handle on what resonates with your audience.


Action-oriented language works best in CTA’s. Depending on what you’re trying to get the viewer to do through the call-to-action, use verbiage that relates best.

Here are some terms that work well for us:

  • Download
  • Subscribe
  • Get (i.e. Get You Copy Now)
  • Learn
  • Uncover

And of course, you can’t forget about your adjectives either. Strong adjectives include:

  • Free
  • First
  • Latest
  • Successful

String it all together!

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Remember that color wheel that you learned about in elementary school art classes? Well we’re bringing it back and refreshing it for you! Color schemes are a powerful tool for emoting, and can help viewers feel a certain way. Check out what different colors can characterize:

  • Red – Stop, look, hesitate
  • Purple – Creativity
  • Blue – Openness, or trust if it’s dark blue
  • Green – Growth, go, wealth
  • Yellow – Illumination, knowledge
  • Black – Power, sophistication
  • White – Cleanliness, truth

For the most part, you will want to include contrasting colors, (opposite side of the color spectrum), to ensure that the CTA will stand out. However, you always need to keep in mind that you don’t want to be too color crazy. Stick within the palettes that are already utilized on your site and you should be golden — a color related with warmth and riches!

Visual Setup

Try to always include a photo or image that relates with your CTA. Images draw the eye, and give interest. Often, we will create an image that looks like the item itself. For example, if we’re providing an eBook, we will design an image of a book with the title of the CTA. Of course, stock photography is always a viable option and if you’re leading to a video, include a video still. Imagery will mainly depend on what you’re trying to convey, so take some time to consider what would work best with your CTA.

CTA Location

Now that you’ve constructed your CTA, you need to determine its location. This goes back to your initial goals. Were you trying to target towards top-of-the-funnel personas? Situate your CTA in a more generalized piece such as your homepage or a more widespread blog post.

On every page you should have at least two CTA’s that are above the fold, (not requiring the viewer to scroll down). But, other locations that work well are the bottom right corner, left sidebars and right sidebars. You may even consider including your CTA right into the text of your article by bolding it or making it a different font color.

When you consider these elements, you will be able to design and create an effective call-to-action. And as always, there continues to be room for improvement. Try out A/B testing to find what works best. Make sure you revisit CTA’s often to verify that they are fine-tuned and at their best using these elements!

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Samantha Winchell

Samantha Winchell is a former New Breeder.


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