The correct use of a Call-to-Action in Marketing

Published on 13 February 2017 | Author Paula Schmidt-Lüer


A Call-to-Action (CTA) is usually a picture or a button with text that motivates the user to do a certain action. Often it is the last impulse for the reader to carry out the desired action. In marketing the call-to-action is an indispensable tool to get the users closer to products or content.

Effect and application cases in marketing

Often the CTA is the “final trigger to conversion”. Addressing the consumer directly after perception of the advertising message may give him the last impulse he needs. In order to get as many readers as possible to deal with the company or the product, the user must feel integrated and have the opportunity to interact.

According to truconversions 70 percent of companies do not use CTA. That this is a wasted opportunity shows the fact that 20 percent of users who have clicked a CTA in a shopping cart reactivation mail complete the purchase. The implementation is not difficult. It is only necessary to include buttons under the content that point to landingpages. These are most likely already present. For example, if a company places the CTA “read more” in the introduction to an article, the user knows, he just has to click on the button to continue reading. He continues to deal with the article and possibly also with other content or products of the company.
The application is suitable in all areas where the consumer is wanted to do a particular action.

Proper placement and design of calls-to-action as buttons

The CTA can consist of text, a picture, or a combination of both. The color and the font should be separated from the rest of the design (see picture example). Nevertheless, size or length should not be disproportionate to other elements. In the online area it is recommended to use buttons which lead directly to the intended action by click. The most important thing is that the button also looks clickable.

It is recommended to place the CTA at the beginning or at the end of the post, depending on whether or not a previous explanation is required. In the middle, the reader is little interested in interrupting the reading and leaving the page. Towards the end, however, the user is optimally receptive to learning more. This mood can lead to an action through a CTA.

The number of buttons is also important. If there are too many action requests, the visitor is confused and no longer knows what to do. Less is more – a single, clearly formulated action request is more effective in this case.

If a Call-to-Action includes words like “I” or “me“ (Yes, I would like to inform myself …) the reader feels personally addressed. However, the choice of words should remain serious. The user should not feel compelled to anything.
More tips and information you can find in our blog entry “Microcopy Optimization for higher click rates”:

No-go situations for calls-to-action

As with everything in marketing, there is also a lot of things which shouldn’t be done in case of CTA. Starting with less is more. The text should be kept short and crisp. Is more explanation needed it can be written under the CTA as in this example from Amazon.

With the number of calls-to-action it is just the same: too many flashing colorful prompts confuse the reader as well as an unclear formulation or an unclean design. Not only the position but also the interaction of the elements can be changed and adapted to the respective target group.  Even if everything is observed, it nevertheless may be that the reader lacks confidence or simply has no interest in the content or the product.

Examples of event-related calls-to-action

In the content context
– Learn more
– Read more
– Continue reading
– Curious? – Read on
– Download now
– Read the full article
– Get the app
– May we provide you with the free document?

In the video context
– Look at it now
– Listen to this story

In the event context
– Reserve a place now
– Sign up now
– Book your tickets now
– I’ll be there
– You can count on me
– Secure me a place
– Register for our webinar

In the social media context
– Follow us
– Keep in touch with social media / social networks
– Like us on Facebook

In the feedback context
– Fill out our 5-minute survey
– Let’s get a feedback
– Give us your feedback
– Let us know if / how you liked it

In shopping cart context
– Buy now
– Shop our new collection now
– Buy now. Pay later.
– Yes, I want to buy xxx
– 50% discount for you
– Order now free of charge
– Order now

Further examples
– Book your next meeting now
– Start your trial month now
– Get your upgrade now
– Make me a VIP

You can find further exciting information and advice about the topic of digital marketing in the Marketing Engineering Blog.

Article Name
The correct use of a Call-to-Action in Marketing
A call-to-action (CTA) is usually a picture or a button with text that motivates the user to do a certain action. Often it is the last impulse for the reader to carry out the desired action. In marketing the call-to-action is an indispensable tool to get the users closer to products or content.
artegic AG


artegic AG provides strategic consulting, technology and business services for online CRM and dialogue marketing via email, RSS, mobile and social media. artegic's online CRM technology ELAINE FIVE, which is used for the sending of over 2.7 billion messages monthly enables marketing automation based on self-sharpening analytical profiles. artegic's customers include, e.g. Rewe and PAYBACK.

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