Imagine this: you’ve created a great email with a clever subject line, compelling email copy, and a relevant offer. You’ve hit send, but the click-throughs aren’t adding up. Where did you go wrong?

Well, you didn’t optimise your call to action (CTA). The CTA is easy to overlook but is key to improving your click-through rate. Users already know that you want them to click, so you have to work on highlighting what’s in it for them.

So, with that in mind, here are 5 best practices for writing call to actions that convert.

5 Call-To-Action Best Practices

1. Start with a strong action word

We know that the end goal is to have your prospects act, so you have to use words that reflect the action you want them to take.

Start by using action words like “shop”, “order”, “buy” or “get”. Then, you can create urgency (see point 2) and encourage instant action by adding “now” on the end of your CTA. Action words will elicit a stronger emotional response from your audience.

According to Campaign Monitor, some common action words include:

  • Create
  • Enter
  • Explore
  • Find
  • Free
  • Get
  • Join
  • New
  • More
  • Now
  • Save
  • Off
  • Show
  • Start
  • Stop
  • Try
  • Upgrade
  • % or $ signs

There is nothing special about these words, so it all comes down to how you use them. As with all of your email copy, your CTA has to be relevant to the message and needs to express the desired result you want.

2. Create urgency

Ever had a case of the fear of missing out (FOMO)? Maybe it was a sale or maybe it was an event, but either way you were worried about missing out on a good deal or a good time.

The same principle can be applied to your call to action. No one likes to miss out, so using words that evoke that sense of urgency will help get you a higher click-through rate.

Some words and phrases that work well, include:

  • Now
  • Today
  • Limited

While you’re creating this urgency, make sure you’re telling your audience exactly what’s in it for them. Be clear and give an incentive that motivates them, one that they won’t want to miss.

3. Keep it short

You’ll notice that most call-to-actions are only around 2 to 5 words long, and for good reason. The longer your CTA the more your customers have to consider before taking action.

How long is too long? Anything more than 10 or 15 words is probably too long. Try sticking around 2 to 5 words for effective conversion.

Common, short CTAs that convert:

  • View now
  • See how
  • Learn more
  • Read more
  • Register now
  • Start your free trial

4. Speak directly to your customers

If you’re reaching out via email, SMS or other direct marketing, it’s a personal form of contact. So, it’s best to use personal language. Think of it like you’re talking to a friend or colleague, rather than like you’re doing a hard sell to a customer.

According to a study by Unbounce, using the first person pronoun “my”, as opposed to “you” in your call to action resulted in a 90% increase in clicks. That’s a lot of clicks that you can take advantage of with just a few wording choices.

The example that Unbounce used in their study was: “Start my free 30 day trial” as opposed to “Start your free 30 day trial”.

5. Test your CTAs

As with any marketing content, it’s important to try different variations to see how your audience reacts. Test out a few options and see how your click-through varies from campaign to campaign.

It’s also important to keep your CTAs fresh, so that your customers don’t get used to the same few words that they eventually skim over without taking action.

So, there you have it; 5 best practices to writing CTAs that convert. Think you’ve got call to actions down? See how to create killer subject lines here.

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