5 Best Practices for Killer CTAs: Hooks, Lines and Keepers

Sign up now… As a writer, you’ve probably used this call to action (CTA) a hundred times. It’s not a bad way to initiate an offer or help encourage a potential sale, but it’s also not the only way. As more people are online using their smartphones to make their purchases, they’re drawn to congruence and directional cues that align with single focused messages. Shop. Buy. Free Trial. Download Now.

As a writer, you have the ability to help people decide where to click on a page by using the right CTA. This can help with goal conversion when the potential customer takes the action you suggest.

Use these Call-To-Action suggestions to help draw more traffic to a site’s page whether the site developer or marketer will use a CTA button or your link will take the customer directly to a landing page. Consider the following CTA best practice tips:

1. Use Power and Action CTAs

Goal: Let the audience know they need to immediately act to secure the deal.

Words like “Enter” and “Submit” can be a bit weak with customer conversions. Go for power and action CTAs like:

  • Reserve now
  • Get your copy today
  • Try a free trial now
  • Take This Course

Don’t be afraid to suggest strong key words. Replace words like “Go” with “Book Your Event Now”.

2. Use Cheeky CTAs

Goal: Let the audience know it’s a fun site that will draw a laugh or two and they’ll want to read more.

At Quick Sprout, they have a great CTA when you sign up for their newsletter. It reads,

“Sign up now. We promise, no SPAM. We don’t like canned meat either.”

These are fun ways – when appropriate, to get a laugh that builds trust with potential customers. It makes them want to read more so they can laugh again. Consider the type of customer who may enjoy dark humor and this can lead to increased clicks.

3. KISS: Keep it Simply Stated

Goal: Let the audience know you value their time and you can get to the point.

Another great segue with a CTA is to keep the Call-To-Action short and to the point. Using too many words means the reader has to, well, read more. Users can express distaste if content is too wordy so your CTA can be action-oriented and between three to five words.

Example of a bad CTA:

Give QuickBooks a Try: It’s Free for 60-Days

A better CTA might be:

Start My FREE 60-Day Trial

Another way to approach this is to keep it simple, but state it in a way that will help customers who may be reluctant if they think there’s a catch. Check out these CTAs:

30-Day FREE Trial. No Credit Card.

This CTA shows the trial, with no catch and the word FREE gives the value proposition. It also encourages users that when they click on the link, it will take them directly to the free trial which will start immediately and they don’t have to get their wallets!

4. Use a 1st Person CTA

Goal: Let your audience know you identify with them and you’re seeing things from their perspective.

To help customers identify with products and services, follow Michael Aagard’s advice. At Content Verve, he suggests that a CTA in the 1st person changes results by as much as 90%. Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes can change click-through rates or CTRs, build trust, and increase conversions.

Try CTAs like:

Start My Trial Now

Get My FREE Gift Now

Yes. Sign Me Up!

5. Show a Sense of Urgency

Goal: Let the audience know the offer shown is time sensitive and they should act now.

Jeff Bullas suggests that looking at sites like Amazon can help with sense of urgency CTAs. When you create a sense of urgency, it can raise CTRs because customers want to get the deal they believe has value. Consider the following effective CTAs:

  • Sign Up Now and Get 60% Off. Today Only!
  • Download the Full Book for $40 $15!
  • Register for The Business Mastery Class Now!

While these go over the standard CTA word count, the examples give a subtle sense of urgency and add value to what the customer believes they will receive when they take the suggested action.

As you can see from the various CTAs, whether they are being used for a CTA button or you are using them for a link that will take them to a particular landing page, you can change the CTA wording. A sense of urgency. A cheeky comment. A time sensitive deal. These are all great ways to draw customers in and increase click-through rates.

What are some of the CTAs that you’ve used in the past? Let us know which ones have worked best for you! We’d love to share them with the community!


Article by

Nikki is a gifted and successful writer in grad school who has been writing freelance for the past few years. Her writing has been used in various publications, e-books, articles, blogs, tutorials, and websites. She has worked with many clients where she has published articles and books.

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