Creating the Best Call to Action

by: | October 28, 2011

Does your website need calls to action? In short, yes. Calls to action (CTAs) are one of the most useful tools in leading your visitors to a next step or helping to build your list for email marketing.

As the name implies, a call to action is a button or a link that leads your visitors to take some sort of action, whether it’s to read an article, buy a product, download a free report, or sign up for your newsletter. Visitors like being led to a next step, and calls to action give them the chance to act without having to think about what their next action should be.

How to create the best calls to action

1. Using the Right Language

A good call to action does two things: It tells the visitor what they’re getting when they click on something, and it gives them a sense of urgency and excitement. Make sure to use strong words that elicit a sense of action. Which are you more likely to click on: “Learn more” or ”Get it Now!” Would you be more enticed by ”Click here” or “Download Now, Free!”

If you’re running a promotion, webinar, or event, you can also build in a sense of urgency with limited seats, a limited amount of units, a beta only invite for software, etc. Adding in this sense of urgency entices your readers to act quickly for fear of missing out.

2. Placement

What good is a perfectly crafted call to action if no one sees it to click on it? Put your call to action “above the fold,” and you’ll have more success. This means place your call to action on your website where visitors can see it without having to scroll. If your call to action is for a software download or demo, your call to action should be at the very top of your page, underneath your menu. If your call to action is to download a free report or to sign up for your newsletter, the top of your sidebar is a perfect place. If you place a call to action in the sidebar, make sure it’s either at the top or near the top to ensure it’s one of the first things your viewer sees.

Another note on placement, make sure to not bombard your visitor with calls to action. If you overwhelm visitors with calls to action, you risk confusing them and diluting your biggest reason for them to be there.

3. Size and Color

You want your visitors’ eyes to go right to your call to action. The size and color of your button is the best way to draw a viewer’s eye. Generally, the bigger the CTA, the better, within reason of course. A smaller button can get a lost, but make it a little bigger, and it becomes a dominant element on the page and avoids getting lost in the content.

You also want to choose a color that makes it stand out against your website’s background. For example, if you have a blue page, make it yellow or orange to stand out. Pay attention to the colors companies used in the examples below.


These are some strong examples of calls to action used by some of my favorite business tools.




Please share any tips you might have for effective calls to action in the comments below.Marketing Zeus

Posted in: B2B, B2C, Banner/Display, Branding, Campaign Development, Content, Direct Response, E-Commerce, Email, Lead Generation, Professional Services, Usability

About the Writer:

Born in England and raised in the U.S., Charles Forster is the marketing director and partner at Vine & Grain, a company that creates management technologies for bars and restaurants. Prior to that position, he ran a graphic design company, Call Me Chaz, in Philadelphia, PA and Orlando, FL. He focused on branding, websites, print, video and marketing for small business clients up and down the east coast. He's a self-prescribed car nut and foodie. He's also the curator for This Is Visceral, a site devoted to poster art.

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