Calls to Action (CTAs) are essential for successful marketing projects. They are a way of directing an audience to do something, such as fill out a form, complete a survey, download software, register, donate, or buy a certain product. Providing this kind of direction often results in not only more, but more precise, actions taken by the target audience. You’ve probably seen countless calls to action, which are used on landing pages, contests, surveys, and other forms of advertising. For most of these ad spaces, the designer uses multiple calls to actions; each CTA takes a slightly different angle towards the same goal, so careful design is even more important. While each CTA will vary based on its target, language, color, and position are all helpful design elements to consider in crafting your call to action.
CTAs with a simple message and strong action verbs (like buy, donate, subscribe, register) are most often carried out. Pairing verbs with words that create a sense of urgency, like now, soon, or hurry, can increase the impact of your CTA. Compare the following CTAs: "Please take our survey. You'll be entered in our drawing!" vs. "Answer now--contest ending soon!" The language in the second call to action will convert a higher percentage of viewers into participants--bringing you more survey answers.
At the same time, you don't want to use your CTA for a hard sell. So, instead of using Buy It!, call for your audience to Try It! If you're using multiple calls to action, you can have a soft sell verb at the top of the page, with the strength of the verb and urgency of the modifiers increasing with each subsequent CTA.
By applying color theory fundamentals, you can strengthen your CTAs:
BLUE: Encourages viewer to reconsider taking your CTA; good for the second or third CTA.
YELLOW: Attention-grabbing. Best for the primary CTA.
GREEN: Easiest color for the eyes, ideal for a soft sell. Evokes money and go —try using for your buy button.
RED: Associated with urgency and danger, useful for enhancing your time-sensitive words.
ORANGE: Excellent color for a CTA because of its combination of red and yellow.
A call to action has to be positioned in the right place. When done correctly, a CTA draws the viewers attention—and thus elicits action—faster. The ideal location for a call to action is near the top of the page, where a reader’s eyes naturally gravitate. It should be big enough to be noticeable by the viewer, but not so big as to overwhelm the whole page. While you can use several versions of the same call to action on one page, you don't want to ask your viewer to complete two distinct actions on one page. For example, you could use "Answer now--contest ending soon" at the top of the page and "Hurry, answer to win!" at the middle or bottom.
A little something extra... Don't detract from your CTA by cluttering the surrounding space. Feel free to use white space around your calls to action. It makes the action stand out and catches far more attention.
What's one successful Call To Action you've seen or taken?