What Is a Call to Action (CTA)? Why They Matter and Best Practices

What Is a Call to Action (CTA)? Why They Matter and Best Practices

Yusuf Shurbaji
May 29, 2023
min read


  • Website calls to action (CTAs) are strategic prompts that inspire visitors to engage in specific activities, such as adding products to shopping carts or signing up for newsletters.
  • Placement of CTAs, such as at the bottom of an advertisement, can stimulate viewers to visit specific pages on your site, thus increasing conversion rates.
  • The aim of a call to action is to provoke a positive response from a viewer or prospective customer, which could include encouraging a purchase, promoting a sale, or offering a discount for newsletter sign-up.
  • CTA copy and button colors are visible to all website visitors, hence business owners need to be careful in their creation, ensuring they promote the intended action.
  • Best practices for CTAs include consistency in color, font, aesthetic style, and tone; distinctiveness from other website elements; and natural fit within various contexts such as emails, buttons, advertisements, or product pages.


The best advertisements in the world aren’t effective if they don’t inspire viewers to take action. There’s a good reason why commercials, online ads, and even print ads all include one core element: the call to action.

In this guide, we'll break down what a call to action is, why it matters, and how you can employ certain best practices with your call-to-action statements.

What Is a Call To Action (CTA)?

A call to action is a deliberate statement or comment urging an ad viewer to take a certain action, like buying a product, subscribing to a newsletter, and so on. 

Website calls to action, for example, often inspire site visitors to add something to their shopping carts or sign-up for brand email newsletters.

You can put a call to action on a landing page, product page, homepage, email campaigns, social media ads, and elsewhere. All calls to action are targeted to potential customers to give them a sense of urgency and convince them to take a desired action.

When you use an effective call to action, you’ll see a higher click-through rate on your ecommerce ads, more effective marketing campaigns, and higher checkout completions.

Why Does Your CTA Matter?

It’s important to know how to write a call to action precisely because of its role in any ad material or site page. When you put out an advertisement, for example, for a new product your company just created, your customers may not purchase that product unless asked.

A CTA button, strategically placed right at the bottom of an advertisement, could inspire viewers to click through to your site or the specific product page. Think of a call to action as the final element of a perfect marketing push. It “seals the deal” and pushes someone on the fence to convert and take positive action for your brand.

Without a call to action on marketing materials or site pages, your target audience members might convert far less frequently than you think. Compelling call-to-action buttons and hyperlinks are crucial components of content marketing and email marketing plans. They’re best for small businesses looking to improve lead generation or get people to shop now.

What Is the Purpose of a CTA?

A call to action aims to inspire positive activity in a viewer, site visitor, or other prospective customer. 

Depending on how you set up a call to action buttons and statements, your call to action might:

  • Encourage a purchase
  • Promote a sale or deal
  • Offer a discount in exchange for newsletter signup

Regardless, the core goal of every CTA is the same: to get a customer to do something, not just passively absorb your marketing materials or brand copy. All website visitors will see CTA copy and button colors, so business owners should create them carefully.

8 Best Practices for CTAs

A mannequin with shopping bags in front of a phone

While calls to action are crucial for every brand and website, they’ll only work if you keep a few important best practices in mind.

1. Optimized for Different Device Types

First and foremost, every call to action you employ on your website should be optimized for different device types. Lots of internet traffic comes from mobile devices these days, so it's crucial to ensure that every CTA button you put on your site is clickable and tappable with fingers on mobile screens.

Do some testing when you install or create a new CTA button. Visit your site yourself and make sure it’s easy to engage with CTA buttons – otherwise, any other improvements you make won’t matter.

2. Ensure CTA Consistency and Differentiation

As you design your website and optimize it for better conversion, you’ll have many CTA buttons spread across different pages. However, you shouldn’t have CTA buttons or boxes in different colors or fonts.

Instead, each CTA should be consistent in its:

  • Color
  • Font
  • Aesthetic style
  • Copy or text tone

Ensuring these elements are uniform will help prospective customers find CTA buttons as they navigate your site. Make sure you pick colors and other aesthetic attributes for your CTAs that are distinct from other website elements or buttons.

3. Make Your CTA Clearly Visible

In keeping with the above, it’s a good idea to keep your CTA button clearly visible. The last thing you want is the most important button on your page to blend in with the background or otherwise be difficult to find.

To that end, color your CTA buttons and icons with stand-out shades that contrast with the background of your website or main page hues. Not only will this make your CTAs easier to see, but they’ll also make them visually pop on the screen.

4. Only Include One CTA per Page

While you should have multiple CTAs scattered throughout your website, each page should only have one call to action, max. 

Why? If you repeatedly try to call your customers to action, they can feel annoyed or frustrated, like you're just trying to get them to spend money instead of providing them with any real value.

Strategically place your CTA at the beginning or end of your page, not both, and certainly not in the middle of a page or description.

5. Keep Your CTA Brief

No matter where you choose to place a call to action, keep it brief. The best CTAs are fewer than 20 words (and ideally even shorter than that!). 

Remember, a good call to action needs to naturally fit within an email, a small button, an advertisement, or a product page.

It might take some tinkering to get right, but keeping your CTA brief can improve the chances that someone clicks on it instead of clicking away.

6. Use Social Proof

Many of the most effective CTA buttons use social proof, such as testimonials or customer reviews. 

For example, you can create a CTA button that has a brief 5-star review from a satisfied customer, with one to five words calling a customer to see what that reviewer liked so much about your brand.

Social proof is a powerful force, particularly in the digital marketing era. Take advantage of it and use it as often as possible.

7. Implement A/B Testing With CTAs

A/B testing, aka split testing, requires you to put out two similar versions of the same marketing material, like CTA buttons, on nearly identical web pages. 

See which version of the button gets more clicks or responses – once you know that, implement the better button's design elements, spacing, or other attributes across all your other CTAs.

The point is to constantly iterate on your calls to action and ensure they are always as high-performing as possible. You should repeatedly use A/B testing with all of your CTAs across your website. In time, they’ll all be as optimized as possible.

8. Make Sure Your CTA Is Well-Written

Lastly, don’t forget to ensure that any call to action you draft is well-written and punchy. 

Top-notch CTAs are:

  • Engaging
  • Dynamic
  • Exciting
  • To the point

Don’t waste words with CTAs – you’ll just bore your customers. Try to use action words like, “buy now” or “special sale.” Just be careful not to overuse these phrases — it can be a tough balance that requires practice.

Examples of Engaging CTAs

A banner that features a multitude of people as an example of a community

By crafting a clear and compelling call to action, you can increase engagement, drive conversions, and improve your website's overall effectiveness. Remember to tailor your CTA to your specific audience, goals, and desired outcome. 

Here are several examples of effective CTAs that can inspire you to craft your own:

  1. "Join the Community" - This CTA encourages visitors to become part of an exclusive group, fostering a sense of belonging and making them feel valued.
  2. "Save My Seat" - Often used for webinars or events, this CTA creates a sense of urgency and the impression that spots are limited, prompting visitors to act quickly.
  3. "Claim Your Discount" - This CTA appeals to the desire for a bargain, enticing visitors to take advantage of a special offer before it expires.
  4. "Get Started for Free" - Offering a free trial or access to a product or service removes the perception of risk for potential customers, making it more likely they'll give it a try.
  5. "Unlock Premium Features" - This CTA plays on the idea of exclusivity, suggesting that users will receive unique benefits and a superior experience by upgrading.
  6. "Watch Our Demo" - Providing a video demonstration of your product or service can help visitors understand its value, increasing the likelihood they'll make a purchase.
  7. "Request a Quote" - This CTA is particularly effective for B2B businesses or services with variable pricing, allowing visitors to get tailored pricing information based on their specific needs.
  8. "Download Your eBook" - By offering a free eBook or resource, you can collect leads while providing valuable information to your audience.
  9. "Schedule a Consultation" - For service-based businesses, this CTA invites visitors to book an appointment, making it easy for them to take the next step in the buying process.
  10. "Share Your Thoughts" - Encouraging users to leave comments, reviews, or engage with your content can boost interaction and build a sense of community around your brand.

Next Steps With Prismfly

As you can see, the right call-to-action phrases, words, and images can do wonders to improve the efficacy of your advertising materials. Set up your CTA buttons properly, and your marketing will resonate much more deeply with your target customers.

Having trouble figuring out how to wrangle call-to-action words and icons together in the right order? Prismfly can help. Our knowledgeable conversion rate optimization experts can help you draft call-to-action buttons and statements perfectly tailored to your target customers and brand voice. Contact us today to get started.