7 Tips For a Successful Call to Action

A call to action (CTA) is a significant asset on your website + is one of the most valuable aspects of your onscreen presence in regards to communicating with potential clients.

A CTA is the product of good user experience design fabricated to psychologically encourage users to react to your content with the hopes of financial benefit. It is responsible for motivating your visitors to take actions such as;

• Submitting forms + supplying subsequent data
• Subscribing to your newsletter
• Following you on social media
• Improving your conversion rates, leads, + sales
• Increase click-through rates
• Encourage your sales funnel
• Increasing average engagement time

01. Psychology Behind CTA Phrases

In 1957, James Vicary, a market researcher, conducted a six-week test in a New Jersey movie theatre. A high-speed projector repeatedly + subliminally flashed the slogans ‘drink Coke’ and ‘eat popcorn’ over the film. According to Vicary, popcorn sales went up by 57.5% + Coke sales by 18.1%. Humans are more easily influenced than we would like to believe + we act on subliminal + liminal action all the time. If an order has been made many of us will follow it, so these ideas are fundamental to produce great call to actions. For instance, compare these two call-to-action phrases: Would you like to sign up for our newsletter? / Sign up now!
The second one not only catches your attention but the phrase also proves definitive + authoritative action. Skip boring words like ‘submit’, ‘enter’, + even ‘click here’ in favour of more compelling verbs like ‘get’, ‘read’, + ‘try’ - then couple those with text relating to your specific offer.

02. Large + Legible Text On Buttons.

Button text should be bigger than your body + links, it should be large enough to read easily + unmissable. With regards to legibility if you have a fancy serif font pairing this is not the place to use it unless it has minimal serifs. Sans-serif is advised if possible, as they are a practical design choice. The clean lines + white space works well with many design styles + approaches as they have slightly increased readability compared to Serifs.

03. Short + Sweet.

It is normal to see CTAs that are only a few words long, in general, it should be concise. The brevity + directness of a well-written call to action will put the focus on what’s important + remove any distractions. A good call to action should be a short phrase no longer than 10 words. Additional text may be necessary so I would advise considering using title hierarchy to differentiate between the key message + the garnish.

04. First Person.

In story writing the first-person point of view uses the pronouns ‘I,’ ‘me,’ ‘we,’ and ‘us,’ in order to tell a story from the narrator’s perspective. The storyteller in a first-person narrative is either the protagonist relaying their experiences or a peripheral character telling the protagonist’s story. While reading in our heads we talk to ourselves in first-person so this technique is subconsciously talking to the user inside their own head. Unbounce shared a study showing that changing button text from the second person (“Start your free trial”) to the first person (“Start my free trial”) resulted in a 90% increase in clicks. Those results are dependent on the product + personality, but numbers like those certainly warrant testing out.

05. Urgency

Consumers respond to urgency + scarcity because they don’t want to miss out. When they know a deal is going away or a limited run of products might sell out, they want to get in on the action. This means they don’t have time to ruminate.

06. Bright Contrasting Colours

In graffiti, a keyline is the line that runs around the outside of a piece. This colour is normally contrasting to the rest of the pallet + is what will make the piece pop. This idea comes from colour theory + the methodology of complementary colours sitting on the opposite side to each other on the colour wheel, so they create a strong contrast. Usually, when designing a call to actions section I will treat the button in the same way, so there is absolutely no way a user can miss it.

07. Negative Space

Be sure to include a healthy bit of white space around your CTAs. The extra space helps create a visual break + draws the reader’s attention right where you want it. It’s a clean, simple way to make that call-to-action button stand out. The extra white space works best for your mobile readers, too, as it allows a clear area for fingers to click.


Just like most forms of digital design, these standards originated in print concepts. Many of these are from magazines encouraging readers to start or renew a subscription. More specifically, they’re from the inserts that often fall out from within the pages while you’re reading. Similarly, a good call to action should land in the lap of your user, like a voucher for a tempting + irresistible pizza that persuades you to abandon your plans to cook the same old Tuesday night dinner + instead treat yourself to a mouth-watering slice of pepperoni pizza.

A call to action may not be the most exciting part of a website but its ingenuity should not be overlooked as it is fundamental to giving your website purpose + communicating your message to your clients.

The CTA is that person with green hair + a bright red thong in a sea of monochrome conformists, the Bowerbird that seduces its mate with a technicoloured array of ephemeral material.