Online Marketing & Digital Marketing

What Is a CTA in Marketing?

By Shanon Roberts, on 28 May 2021

Your call to action or CTA can have a direct effect on your conversion rates and revenues. Great ad copy and content are essential in marketing but a CTA encourages and directs users to actively participate. How many times have you clicked because of a strong CTA like ‘Limited seats reserve now’? CTAs use a multitude of strategies to engage users. We’ll explore a number of them in this post, discuss why they’re important, and finally give you some examples of great CTAs.

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What Is a CTA in Marketing

 

What Is a Call to Action?

A call to action or CTA is any part of a web page or content that encourages visitors to take action. A CTA could be a button, a link, a sign up form, etc. CTAs can be very direct like “Buy Now” or softer, such as “Yes, please send me more information”. A call to action helps users make a decision and take the next step in the conversion process. For marketers, a CTA is used to generate leads or make conversions/sales, and therefore can be highly effective if it is well done. 

 

Why You Need a CTA

A well placed, well crafted CTA can mean the difference between making a sale or not. CTAs are used in many steps along the buyer’s journey. A user could click to learn more about a social post, subscribe to a newsletter, or start a free trial. By excluding CTAs from your content you’re basically leaving the user wondering what to do next as they don't have a clear next step laid out for them. No matter how good your copy is, if you don’t have compelling CTAs presented at the right times you’re losing potential customers.

CTAs are also great opportunities for marketers to do A/B or split testing. A button could read “Buy Now” for some content or audiences and “I’m In” for others. Tracking the data would then tell you which resulted in more conversions and you can decide which button to include in your strategy. 

 

What Are Different Kinds of CTAs?

CTAs can take many forms and can actually be any type of actionable content that engages users. Here are a few of the most common.

Subscribe

A very common CTA that encourages users to join a newsletter, club, subscription, or other group. This CTA can be elaborated to “Join Us Now and Never Miss an Update”. Variations are virtually endless but the point is for people to consent to receive content from you.

Sign Up

This is similar to subscribe, but sign up is used more commonly for webinars, courses, and other events. Marketers can use a sense of urgency such as “Sign Up Now and Reserve Your Seat”. 

Learn More or Request More Information

These CTAs are often used for products or services that have higher price tags. They can also be used for comprehensive courses or more complicated service businesses. People need more time and more detailed information so these CTAs give them space to process the decision. A next step could even be a salesperson contacting them to perform a demo or close a sale.

Start Free Trial

free trials are very common, especially with software companies, and allow users to try products before making a final decision. Free trials are an excellent way for brands to convert because users that start a free trial are basically saying they want the product, but aren’t 100% ready. 

Buy Now or Add to Cart

Some purchases are simple, quick decisions. For example, a product under $100 that’s easily explainable. A book might be a good example. A user hears about the book, reads some reviews and is ready to buy. These types of CTAs are typical for ecommerce sites. They can also be elaborated to be even more enticing, such as: “Buy Now and Start Your Transformation Today”.

These are just a few examples but CTAs can include anything that encourages users to engage. Marketers are getting more and more creative with their tactics as you will see below.

 

Examples of Great CTAs

CTAs come in many forms and styles. They can be direct and short, more conversational or even multi-stage. Here are some of our favorite CTAs to inspire your site content or next marketing campaign.

 

Netflix - Free Trial

Netflix does a great job of making you feel like their free trial is risk free. You can try their service for one month free and cancel anytime which is included in their CTA. Notice how they spell out “what’s next” and use strong statements like “watch anywhere” and “cancel anytime”. The family also looks relaxed and happy. The big red button is just dying to be clicked!

What Is a CTA in Marketing

 

Uber - Sign Up

Uber makes it super simple for people to either sign up to be a driver or to request a ride. They get straight to the point with “Get in the driver’s seat and get paid” followed by a “Sign Up and Drive” button. Next, users are taken to another page that states “Drive with Uber, make money on your schedule” and a form to fill out. Uber’s CTAs are direct and use earning money as a strong motivator.

What Is a CTA in Marketing

 

Spotify - Upgrade to Premium

Spotify uses placement and color to attract users to start a premium account. While you can use their product for free (with ads), Spotify is masterful at making their paid option a no-brainer by placing it first. You’re drawn in by the free 3 month trial, you can cancel anytime and the blue “Get 3 Months Free” button stands out. 

What Is a CTA in Marketing

CTAs are one of the most important tools marketers have in their arsenal. That’s because CTAs work to create an emotional response within the user. This can be done using exclusivity (a fear of missing out) or a sense of urgency. Exclusive deals that are time sensitive are especially effective as CTAs. Try some different and creative CTAs in your next campaign and test what works best for more conversions and hopefully more revenue.

 

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Shanon Roberts

International Digital Marketing Strategist