Call to Action: Definition and 4 Steps To Creating One

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 28, 2022

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

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A call to action can be an important business concept to continue the momentum of a sales process when working with customers and employees. Sales leaders can guide their targets to complete the desired action. Learning how to craft effective calls to action can help you convert more leads into customers and become more productive.

In this article, we discuss a call to action and the steps you can take to create an effective one to achieve your sales and marketing goals.

What is a call to action?

A call to action (CTA) is a marketing tactic in which you encourage your audience to take a specific action. Businesses design their calls to action to receive an immediate response from the reader or listener. Calls to action typically come at the end of a sales pitch and to let the target know what you would like them to do next. For example, at the end of a TV commercial, you may hear something like, "Call us today for a free consultation!" This lets the audience know what you want them to do and when you want them to do it.

Related: How To Give an Elevator Pitch (With Examples)

Call to action applications

Here are some of the common applications for calls to action:

  • Flyers: Flyers often include calls for people to follow up or gather more information on a given topic. At the bottom, there might be a note to get more information on a company website or email address.

  • Websites: Websites use tools like button designs and banner ads to invite consumers to pursue additional information or purchase products. These often include direct links to e-commerce pages or other sites.

  • Email campaigns: Email campaigns can be informative but often invite the reader to explore more information or content. You can implement these with links or buttons that lead to actions you want consumers to take.

How to create a call to action

Here are four steps you can follow to create a call to action:

1. Choose a location

First, you can decide where your call to action will go. Most often, it appears at the end of your sales pitch, but you can also include it throughout. If the CTA appears in text, such as on a website or in an email, you also want to consider the page's placement. For example, you may want the CTA at the bottom of the text or in a sidebar next to it. Picking out the location first can help you craft your exact word choice and let you know how much space you have to work with.

2. Decide on the desired action

Think about the action you want consumers to take. Some possibilities include:

  • Making a phone call

  • Sending an email

  • Signing up for a newsletter

  • Purchasing a product

  • Leaving a comment

Your business can use many calls to action throughout its marketing strategy based on where you place it. For example, you may have a CTA on the homepage of your website asking people to sign up for your email newsletter. Then, in the newsletter, you may have a CTA that invites readers to schedule an appointment with you by responding to the email.

3. Study CTA examples

Studying others is a good way to develop your own call to action. Consider reviewing some of your competitors or other businesses within your niche and see how they construct their different calls to action. You can also examine any newsletters you have signed up for, commercials you see on TV or ads you come across in the newspaper. Once you examine enough calls to action across different mediums, you can decide on the appropriate language for your own.

4. Try out different phrases

Consider trying out a few other ideas for each one you want to create. See how they sound and how they fit into your desired location. It's also a good idea to get feedback from others and see what they think. For example, you might try phrases like "Contact us" or more specific actions like "Call" or "Email" to see which is most effective. After brainstorming a few ideas, you can pick one and place them into the sales pitch.

Related: How To Develop Creative-Thinking Skills in 5 Steps

Tips for making a good CTA

Here are a few tips you can follow to create an effective CTA:

Use action words

Your CTA can contain at least one action word so your reader knows what to do. Some great action word examples are:

  • Call

  • Buy

  • Subscribe

  • Download

  • Click here

  • Donate

  • Order

Related: 195 Action Verbs To Make Your Resume Stand Out

Make it urgent

You can also express to your audience that this is an immediate need. You've just gotten done making a great sales pitch to the target, making this the best time to convert them into a customer. Use phrases like "today only" or "act now." If the target audience feels that this offer is a limited-time deal, they may be more likely to act right away.

Emphasize value

If you can, demonstrate what value you provide within your call to action. For example, rather than saying, "Download our free marketing tool," you could say, "Download the #1 free marketing tool on the internet." Your call to action is likely the last thing a person might read, so give them one final reason to complete your desired action.

Make your CTA noticeable

A great call to action needs to get the reader's or listener's attention. For example, if you're making your sales pitch through a web page, you could place the call to action in a larger and bolder font than the text around it. This would ensure its uniqueness so readers can't miss it as they reach the bottom of the page. Wherever you place your CTA, make sure your target audience notices it.

Split test different CTAs

A split test is when you run two nearly identical versions of something and track the results against one another based on their differences. For example, you could run a split test on your sales pitch page, the only difference being the call to action. You would then randomly display one of the two versions to each visitor to the page. After enough views, you could see if one CTA produced better results than the other.

You could run another split test, with the better-performing CTA up against a new one. It's also important to note you can split test more than just the text of the CTA. You can also try out different placements on your web page, spots within the copy or even a different color scheme. Split testing is a great way to optimize elements of your marketing messages, particularly as it relates to CTAs, as it can let you know which CTA your audience responds to best.

Call to action examples

Here are just a few examples of great calls to action:

  • Sign up for free.

  • Join for a free month.

  • Get started today.

  • Give us a try!

  • Claim your free sample.

  • Schedule a call today!

  • Email us here.

  • Download now.

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