Call to action


Is there a hole in your bucket?

No, I haven’t gone mad. The bucket in this instance is your website; the hole is your lack of calls to action.

You see, you can have all the traffic in the world coming to your website, but if you don’t have any calls to action you’re effectively giving them free passage to hang a left and head off to find someone else’s website.

What’s so unique about a call to action?

A call to action (CTA) is your opportunity to start building a relationship with your potential customer.

It tells them you want to help them and that they should get in touch with you to reap the benefits your product or service offers (which of course have been persuasively laid out in your web copy).

Yes, you do have to tell them what they should do next because, if you don’t, they’ll wander off to a different site that does.

Types of call to action

As a rule, there are three main types of CTA:

  • The one that tells your customers to buy
  • The one that helps you build your list
  • The one that showcases your expertise

The first is quite obvious – “buy now” – you see it all the time and gives your customers the nudge they need to part with their hard-earned cash.  If you sell a service, your CTA is more likely to be along the lines of “Contact us now….” or “Call us today…”, instructing the reader to get in touch via email, phone or online contact form.

The second helps you capture email addresses to help you build your marketing list (for newsletters and email marketing campaigns). These are generally asking the reader to sign up for your newsletter, download your latest report, or apply for a coupon, so you are giving them something of value in exchange for their contact details.

The third in the list relates to articles and blog posts. Although not strictly the type of CTA that makes someone contact you, these are in the form of links to other information within your website, external web pages or reports that demonstrate your in-depth knowledge of a subject. Again, the reader gets valuable information and sees you as an expert in your field, building trust and making you the ‘go to’ person when they need your services.

Motivational CTAs

You can add a bit of extra oomph to your calls to action with the inclusion of a motivator.

Time-limited offers and discounts work wonders to prompt purchases and enquiries. Something along the lines of “Buy now and get 25% off, but hurry this offer is only available until 12th February” is going to be far more effective than a simple “Buy now”.

CTAs aren’t just for websites

CTAs are a fundamental part of any piece of marketing – web copy, newsletters, emails, brochures, case studies, etc.

Even your blogs and articles should contain them, whether they are directing the reader to your website, another article you’ve written, asking them to sign up for your newsletter, or even just asking the reader to comment.

However you use them, they should always be:

  • Clear
  • Simple
  • Commanding

What’s the best call to action you’ve seen?

Leave a comment below and tell me what it was about it that made you remember it and, presumably, get in touch with the company that wrote it.


Sally Ormond is a copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. She works with companies around the globe, creating compelling and persuasive copy. In her spare time, she loves cycling, reading and is rather partial to Rowntree’s Pick ‘n Mix.