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Inbound Marketing Blog

    4 Ways to Make Sure Your Calls-to-Action Aren’t Utter Fail

    Posted by Jen Barry

    You Only Get One Shot

    Your call-to-action is arguably the most important feature on your landing pages and in your marketing emails. The whole point of this button is to pull visitors in, to get them to take the next step in the journey to becoming your customer. If you’re not taking full advantage of this powerful tool, shame on you.

    But what if you’re really trying? What if you’ve got calls-to-action on every pertinent page and email, but you’re still not getting traction? It’s time to take a look at your strategy and design to make sure you’re not making grave errors that cost you those all-important leads.

    I’ve challenged myself with the task of finding all examples in my spam email box. Hey, someone worked hard on those calls-to-action, so they might as well see the light of day—even if I’m about to tear it apart. Let’s take a look at some call-to-action examples so you can see what to do—and what not to do.

    Attention to Detail

    The first thing you must do is make sure your CTAs include all the important details. No one will click a link if they don’t know where it goes. While we can’t exactly give props for awesome design, this company selling language-learning software at least lets us know what we’ll get if we click that little button


    Unfortunately, we get a free demonstration, and that means there’s probably another step to the process before we become customers.

    Before you design your CTA, make sure it conveys exactly what the buyer will get when clicking the button. Vague “click here,” “buy now,” and “submit” directives won’t tell consumers anything. Next, be sure you get what YOU need out of the call-to-action. If you’re simply herding people from page to page on your website, conversion is nearly impossible. At some point, they’ll get tired of taking the next step and bounce, leaving you with nothing but a page-view count.

    Let’s See It

    Sometimes you can get so caught up in great design that you inadvertently hide your call-to-action. The amazing images and colors won’t mean anything if your potential buyers can’t see the forest for the trees. Imagine for a moment that you were looking for a date, and this call-to-action example showed up in your email.

    call to action examples

    What, exactly, is the call-to-action here? Happy Hours? Wine Tastings? Cooking Classes? Ah! View Photos. Well, now that you’ve managed to find the CTA, how does that get you any closer to your goal? After you’ve developed a CTA that people can see, go ahead and refer back to our first point about giving/getting what you need out of it.

    Don’t Be a Snoozefest

    Nothing is less exciting than a boring CTA. If you want people to take your product or service seriously, you’ve got to show that you do. Bright colors, a popping design, and even some exciting graphics will draw the eye to your call-to-action button, and if you’re lucky, prompt a click. For an example of what not to do, check out this scintillating email about belly bugs:

    call to action examples

    Sure, the text is provocative, but most people won’t stay on the page long enough to find out what it says. I only stuck around long enough to make sure it wasn’t an exciting design. (But seriously, I do kind of want to know if I have belly bugs. Nine out of ten people, yo.)

    Instead, choose colors that pop, preferably hues that contrast with the background. You don’t want to be gaudy, but you do want to catch the eye. Take a look at this call-to-action example for massage school:

    call to action examples

    The images provoke, the colors, pop, the text tells you exactly what you’re getting into. If I wanted to go to massage therapy school, this would probably snag me right away. 

    Own It

    Finally, if you’ve got the design chops or, better, the design team to create proprietary CTAs, go for it. Nothing is more exciting to buyers than seeing an informative, helpful, well designed call-to-action. Avenue Bank, my favorite bank in the whole world, features a rotating CTA on their home page that hits all these highs.

    call to action examples

    The CTA features bright colors, clear directives, and the company’s adorable logo. As far as a call-to-action example goes, this one’s a home run. (So, I cheated and stepped outside the spam box for the winner. Oops.)

    If you’re still struggling with your calls-to-action, cruise through your spam mail for some helpful tips. You’ll know the good and the bad when you see them.

    Lead Nurturing

    Topics: Design