Why Calls-To-Action Work

Click Here Now, Why Call(s)-To-Action Work And How To Use Them for Inbound Strategy


The call-to-action -- the all-mighty CTA -- is one of the most essential parts of any inbound marketing strategy. The unfortunate truth is that this vital tool has been beaten, battered and vastly overused to the point that it could be driving sales away from unwitting businesses.

If your business doesn’t need customers and is purely on the web to inform people then this article isn’t for you. Though, if you’re a business that doesn’t need customers your business plan might need more help then your inbound marketing strategy. However, if you are looking to engage with people on the internet, and gain new customers, and create a community around your brand, then there are a few things you should know

Check out some of these examples:


‘Try it Free’ is in a bright yellow box with black text. Great contrast, great copy. Your eye is instantly drawn to it. In fact, the word ‘Free’ is recognized as one of the five most persuasive words in the English language.


Adobe uses a bright blue box to draw your eye to ‘Learn about Creative Cloud’. Not as compelling as free, but the button is distinct and deliberately the brightest part of the page.


Square uses an effective combination of the plain text and a graphical elements. The call is the main text element on the page, you can’t miss ‘Start selling today’. We all want to do that, it’s why we’ve ended up on the page, and we don’t want to search for how to accomplish that. The location of the blue box quickly answers our query - “But how?”. Well done Square.

But Why Is The CTA Effective?

This is a little more complicated, and you could write a doctoral dissertation on the subject. In a nutshell, the CTA works because your brain wants it to. Jeremy Smith wrote a very detailed blog post on blog.kissmetrics.com on this very subject. The psychology behind the CTA is rooted in Perceptual Set Theory. Have you seen this image before?


Is it two faces or is it a vase? Your brain can perceive both based on what you expect to see. If this article had been about flowers you would probably see the vase first; relationships, two people staring at each other from an awkwardly close position.

So what does this have to do with the CTA? If you are searching for online courses about Photoshop and you end up on lynda.com your objective is most likely to learn something new. Your goal is to find and take that course, your brain is searching the page (subconsciously) for that place to take action. You can see in the lynda.com example above, the call to action is clear, well placed, and well defined. Hubspot goes into great detail on this subject with some incredibly effective examples of well done CTA’s.

Conversion is Everything

People know to expect a call-to-action button on a webpage. Every article about call(s)-to-action cover why you need one, how to do them, where they belong. What they don’t talk about is the conversion. The all-important goal of everything you do. Conversion is getting people to take action on your call and giving you something in return; an email, a purchase, even a like, pin or retweet.

That’s right, this works on social, too. Salesforce actually found that when "retweet" is spelled out in a tweet, the retweet rate is 23X higher than the average tweet. When using the shortened "RT", the retweet rate is 10X higher.

If you are reading this you probably came here because you have plenty of calls, but very few conversions. This is where so many people go “wrong” with their inbound marketing efforts. They put too many call(s)-to-action on a page or they make the call to ambiguous.


No offense Mr. Robbins, but what am I supposed to do here? Order the book, get tickets, sign up for a coaching session? I’m confused. This is how too many home pages look on the web, they create a confusing path for visitors, and so they probably don’t convert as often as some of the other examples above.


Not to keep picking on Tony Robbins, but this is a PPC landing page on his site.

The call to action is call 888-732-4340 OR fill in your information below. Which do you want me to do, call or fill out the form start a chat? If you view that site on a mobile device the pop-up for the "need help" blocks most of the form and would make it nearly impossible to fill out. Why you should be punished for putting a pop-up on your website is a topic for another article...

How Can You Do It Better Than Your Competition

Conversion is all about planning. I can’t stress this enough, plan, plan, plan, then execute. If you know what you want your users to do, getting them to do it will be much easier. If form submits are the goal, make the form easy to fill out on desktop and mobile devices. If you want phone calls, make sure that the phone number uses a touch element so that people can click from their mobile phone.

After you have planned and executed there is one more important step: Test. If you aren't familiar with A/B testing we can talk about it when you send us an email to connect@altosagency.com.

If you aren’t getting enough leads from your website and you think you should be doing better give us a holler, we are always happy to talk about inbound marketing and how to bring your business to new heights!