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Three Rules for Writing Must-Click CTA Copy

Three Rules for Writing Must-Click CTA Copy

A visitor has come to your website, or a mailing list contact has opened an email. Now it’s time to encourage them to take the next step. How do you tell your prospect what to do?

With a call-to-action. CTAs are the link between a visitor and a landing page, and they are a crucial part of successful inbound marketing.

While most calls-to-action may be very short, that doesn’t mean writing them is simple or easy. Crafting CTA copy that is compelling and concise takes creativity, concentration and attention to the fine details, whether they are meant to be used on your website homepage, in your blog or in emails.

Three Rules for Writing CTA Copy

1. Make the offer clear.

Calls-to-action should be eye-catching and engaging, but this isn’t the place for “You’ll never guess what happened next” click-bait style ambiguity. Your CTA should be clear about what is being offered.

Do: It is very obvious what the offer is from Treehouse: a free trial to learn web design and coding. Simple and clear.

Three Rules for Writing Must-Click CTA Copy


We can see that this email CTA wants us to “Start shopping now,” but for what?

Three Rules for Writing Must-Click CTA Copy

2. Make the copy action-oriented.

CTAs, by definition, are calling your website visitor or email recipients “to action.” So use active verbs that tell them what to do. “Go.” “Save.” “Join.”  

Do: Can you imagine a more active call than Humboldt County’s “Follow the magic?”

Three Rules for Writing Must-Click CTA Copy

Don’t: It is probably safe to assume that this email from Macy’s wants the recipient to shop, but it doesn’t ever say so or offer a clear way to do so.

Three Rules for Writing Must-Click CTA Copy

3. Match the CTA copy to the landing page headline.

The call-to-action is just the first step in converting a website visitor or email recipient into a lead. They still need to take action to complete a form on a landing page. Don’t let a disconnect between the CTA and the landing page cause confusion that will make them hesitate about completing the action.

That means your landing page needs to deliver the same thing your CTA offered. If the CTA offered a case study, don’t bring them to a landing page with a headline that only mentions a consultation.

Do: It is easy to tell that our landing page and call-to-action are offering the same thing.

Three Rules for Writing Must-Click CTA Copy

Bonus: Call-to-action vocabulary booster

Need some inspiration for the words you can use to create concise, compelling CTAs? Check out this verb list from An Ethical Island:

With a selection of active verbs like this, creating your next call-to-action, should be as easy as 1-2-3. Or, maybe steps 1 through 8. Size up our 8-Step Guide to Creating Calls-to-Action, and refresh your way of working.

Then tell me which word or phrase from the graphic above is your favorite. I’m partial to “hatch.”

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