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Call-to-actions (CTAs) are essential statements that encourage users to sign up, purchase, or interact with you. Whether you’re writing emails, headlines, social media posts, or SEO-driven content, writing effective CTAs is a crucial marketing skill.
CTAs can make or break your campaigns. Using the wrong phrases at the wrong time can stop conversion momentum and lower your conversion rates. Here are five copywriting call-to-action tips you can use right now to increase conversions and sales.
1. Minimize Their Risk With Social Proof
One of the main reasons people don’t buy or convert is trust. Users may not trust your brand, your website, or even if the product or service works for them.
The key to an effective CTA is to surround it with social proof that dispels objections in real time. For example, if someone clicks “buy now,” you can post reassuring quotes from real customers explaining the benefits and end results of your product.
Don’t have any quotes or social proof yet?
You can also add statements such as:
- No Credit Card Required / Free Trial
- XX days unlimited access
- XX users signed up in the last 24 hours (fear of missing out)
These risk-minimizing statements ensure that users do not get cold feet at the last minute.
Related: Creating a compelling call to action
2. Intention-Based Call to Action
Over the past seven years, I’ve reviewed and rewritten hundreds of brand landing pages. And the single most important factor in guaranteeing conversion rates is the intent of your call-to-action that is aligned with the message, platform, and traffic temperature.
In plain English: you have to match the user to where they are, not where you want them. For example, if I ask someone to “buy now” as soon as they subscribe to my email list for the first time, my conversion rate will be close to 0%. However, if I change my call-to-action to “discover more” to warm up that email subscriber, I build a long-lasting trust that results in conversion later.
Tailor your CTA to the medium’s intent and their stage in the funnel. If they’re newer to your funnel or coming from a low-intent experience like social media browsing, 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Typical scarcity marketing tactics can feel cheesy and outdated.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 won’t believe you when you say, “Hurry up, there’s only one left!” Old marketing tactics and psychological tricks are no longer as effective as they once were.
Instead, try phrases that imply scarcity, such as:
- Reserve your spot today (meaning spots are limited without being cheesy)
- 100 people signed up in the last 24 hours (implies question)
- Order within XX hours to receive on XX date
These variations on the original “hurry up” are more realistic, personalized, 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.
An example of a VVU call-to-action I recently used was:
- Verb: Get
- Value: SEO audit
- Urgency: within 48 hours
This simple formula responds to three different factors that potential customers consider when buying a product or signing up:
- What happens when they click the button? Do they receive anything of value, or do they have to do a lot of extra work, like filling out a long form with all their personal information?
- Be crystal clear about the true value or item they will get when they respond to your call to action.
- And finally, explain exactly when they will receive their product or service so that there are no more objections to answer that could keep them from converting at the last minute.
The VVU formula is great for social media advertising where you need a quick, punchy, valuable call-to-action that stands out in a sea of distractions and endless content.
5. Click to Result Flow CTA
Click to Result Flow’s 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 business that benefits, not the buyer. For example, you’ll find 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 next steps to the person who clicks.
Here are some actionable ways to turn boring, traditional CTAs into more conversions:
- Download Now > Download Ebook Now
- Buy now > Receive [Product] Today
- More information > View product info
- Subscribe > Read Number 1
Do you notice the difference? Instead of asking the user, explain what result they get when they click on it.
Instead of buying it now, they get their product today. Instead of learning more, they are taken directly to product info. Instead of subscribing, they read the first issue and become entrenched in the value you provide.
Writing a good call to action is all about limiting objections and providing enough value to your audience. If you can combine these two aspects with compelling copywriting that doesn’t feel too aggressive or cheesy, you’ll see incredible improvements in your conversion rates, from email CTAs to instant purchase decisions.