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Call to actions (CTAs) are critical statements that prompt users to sign up, purchase, or engage with you. Whether you're writing emails, headlines, social media posts or SEO-driven content, writing effective CTAs is a critical marketing skill.
CTAs can make or break your campaigns. Using the wrong phrases at the wrong time can halt conversion momentum and tank your conversion rates. Here are five call to action copywriting tips you can use right now to increase conversions and sales.
1. Minimize their risk with social proof
One of the main reasons people do not buy or convert is trust. Users may lack trust in your brand, your website or even if the product or service will work for them.
The key to an effective CTA is surrounding it with social proof that shuts down objections in real-time. For example, when someone goes to click “buy now,” you can place reassuring social proof quotes from real customers explaining the benefits and end results of your product.
Don't have any quotes or social proof just yet?
You can also add statements like:
- No credit card required / free trial
- Unlimited access for XX days
- XX users signed up in the last 24hrs (fear of missing out)
These risk minimization statements will ensure users don't get cold feet at the final moments.
Related: How to Create a Compelling Call to Action
2. Intent-Based Call to Action
Over the last seven years, I've audited and re-written hundreds of landing pages for brands. And the single most important factor in ensuring conversion rates is the intent of your call to action aligning with the message, platform and traffic temperature.
In plain English: you have to match the user where they are, not where you want them to be. For instance, if I'm asking someone to “buy now” the second they subscribe to my email list for the first time, my conversion rate will be nearly 0%. However, if I change my call to action to “discover more” to warm up that email subscriber, I'll build long-term trust that results in conversion later.
Match your CTA to the intent of the medium and their stage of the funnel. If they are newer to your funnel or coming from a low-intent experience like browsing social media, soften your CTA from buying language to exploration, discovery, and value.
Once they are off the platform, you can focus more on conversion-based CTAs.
3. Imply scarcity
Typical scarcity marketing tactics can feel cheesy and outdated. People don't believe you when you say, “hurry up, only one left!” Old marketing tactics and psychological tricks aren't as effective as they once were.
Instead, try phrases that imply scarcity, like:
- Reserve your spot today (implies that spots are limited without being cheesy)
- 100 people signed up in the last 24 hours (implies demand)
- Order within XX hours to receive by XX date
These variations on the original “hurry up” are more realistic, personable and effective.
Related: Why We Click: The Simple Psychology Behind Calls to Action
4. Verb, Value, Urgency Formula
The Verb, Value, Urgency (VVU) formulas are a powerful technique to build momentum and drive conversions with your call to action.
As an example, a VVU call to action I recently used was:
- Verb: Get
- Value: SEO Audit
- Urgency: In 48 Hours
This simple formula capitalizes on three distinct factors that prospects consider when purchasing a product or opting in:
- What happens when they click on the button? Are they receiving something of value, or do they have to do a bunch of extra perceived work, like fill out a long form with all of their personal information?
- Be crystal clear on the actual value or item they will get when engaging with your call to action.
- And lastly, explain exactly when they will receive their product or service so there are no objections left to answer that might stop them from converting at the last minute.
The VVU formula is fantastic for advertising on social channels where you need a fast, snappy, valuable call to action that stands out in a sea of distractions and endless content.
5. Click to Result Flow CTA
The Click to Result Flow call to action describes to your visitor what will happen next rather than the action you want them to take. Most CTAs focus on the company that stands to gain, not the buyer. For instance, you'll see that the vast majority of CTAs are “buy now” or “learn more.”
The problem with these CTAs is that they don't explain the value or the next steps to the person clicking.
Here are some actionable ways to convert boring, traditional CTAs into more conversions:
- Get it now > Download Ebook Now
- Buy Now > Get [Product] Today
- Learn more > See Product Info
- Subscribe > Read Issue #1
Notice the difference? Instead of asking the user, you explain what result they will get upon clicking.
Instead of buying it now, they are getting their product today. Instead of learning more, they are directly taken to product info. Instead of subscribing, they read the first issue and get entrenched in the value you provide.
Writing a great call to action is all about limiting objections and providing enough value to your audience. If you can combine these two aspects with persuasive copywriting that doesn't feel too aggressive or cheesy, you'll see incredible improvements in your conversion rates, from email CTAs to direct purchasing decisions.