Call to Action CTA Digital Marketing Inbound Marketing

Calls to Action: Best Practices for Effective CTAs

Calls to action also known as CTAs are common practice when attempting to convert a website visitor into a lead. This call to action directs the user to take the next step and can collect valuable information about your prospective customers. Let’s take a deeper look into the definition of call to action, call to action phrases, how to write a call to action and ultimately design a CTA that will convert visitors into leads!

Call to Action Definition

A call to action (CTA), in terms of marketing, is a command to take a certain course of action through action verbs such as “download now” or sign up now”.  Many business owners and marketers are familiar with this call to action definition, but do you know how to create an effective CTA?

Choosing the Right Type of CTA

When creating an effective CTA, you will first want to select the correct type. Consider your goal and the action your website visitor will be taking. Think about the negative space that this CTA will be placed on and then review the types of CTAs below to choose the correct one for you.

Add to cart Buttons

This type of CTA applies to ecommerce sites and usually is found on individual product pages. This button is used to entice customer to purchase the product. Color, design and language should be chosen carefully.

Download Buttons

A download button can be applied to many different purposes on one’s website. This is commonly used to get a visitor to download an eBook or coupon. Make sure that it is clear what the visitor is downloading as some people can be weary of downloading unknown files on their computer.

Start Trial Buttons

Starting a trial is a great way to introduce your potential customer to your product at no risk. This button is typically used on a CTA that explains the benefits of the product and trial.

Learn more Buttons

Learn more buttons are usually placed at the bottom of a teaser. Generally, these buttons are simple but large to lure the user to learn more about the product or service.

Sign up Buttons

Sign up are normally used at a bottom of a form or used to sign up for a service and directs to a form.

Designing a CTA: Size and Color

The ultimate goal of your CTA is to grab attention and direct a user to an action. Design is one of the most important considerations when creating an effective call to action and will need to be planned with careful consideration.

First, you will need to choose the size of your button. You want a button that is balanced with content but still stands out. Make sure that your button is not loo large and overpowering, but also not too small and gets lost in the content. A rule of thumb is to look at your current buttons on the page and increase the size of your CTA by about a third. This will create a proportional button that is not overwhelming.

Next, choose a color that is eye-catching and also cohesive with your brand. Common CTA button colors are green and red and these colors tend to convert better than other colors. Hubspot found in a study, that 21% more people clicked on the red button than the green button. Choose your button color’s carefully as it can significantly affect your conversion rate.

How to Write a Call to Action

Language is extremely powerful and the right call to action phrase can have a huge impact on your conversion rate. Consider “For more information, read our next blog post” or “Click here to learn more.”

Using passive language won’t get you anywhere, so punch up your language to tell the visitor what you want. Your CTA must clearly portray the exact action desired. It is extremely important to use action verbs, bold the statement and keep the phrase short.

Creating urgency is also important when creating your CTA. Make the impression that they must act now and encourage one to make the decision on the spot. Ideally, you want to make the user click immediately without much forethought. Offering an incentive like money saving coupons that expire soon can create this urgency.

Here’s some call to action examples, that you can use:

Download Now!

Sign Up Now!

Buy Now!

When Implementing Your CTA Use Negative Space

Negative space is your friend when placing a call to action button on a page that stands out from the rest of your content. Try to incorporate blank space around the CTA if it is within your content or in a side bar. While you want to take advantage of this negative space make sure that everything is proportionate in order to make sure everything looks cohesive.


Stream’s Kick-Start Step:

  • Use red to increase your conversion rate
  • Use action verbs that clearly explain the action desired and create urgency
  • Place CTA above the fold and take advantage of negative space


Once you have tackled your CTAs, the next step is to create a killer landing page. Build compelling landing pages that engage prospects and drive leads! Download the FREE eBook: Creating Killer Landing Pages below to learn how.


The best way to optimize your conversion is taking the extra time to plan and consider the above CTA best practices. Your CTAs can be a great way to convert your website visitors into leads and with the tips above you are well on your way to creating effective call to actions.

Happy marketing,


— Christina Davidson is an SEO Content Strategist at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia-area advertising agency.