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Calls to Actions (CTAs) are important statements that encourage users to sign up, buy, 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 stall conversion momentum and hurt your conversion rates. Here are five call-to-action copywriting tips you can apply right now to increase conversions and sales.
1. Minimize your risk with social proof
One of the main reasons people don’t buy or convert is trust. Users may lack confidence in your brand, your website, or even whether the product or service will work for them.
The key to an effective CTA is to surround it with social proof that shuts down objections in real-time. For example, when someone clicks “buy now,” you can place reassuring social proof quotes from real customers that explain your product’s benefits and end results.
Don’t have any offers or social proof yet?
You can also add statements like:
- No credit card required / free trial
- Unlimited access for XX days
- XX users have signed up in the last 24 hours (fear of missing out)
These risk minimization statements ensure users don’t get cold feet in the final moments.
Related: How to Create a Compelling Call-to-Action
2. Intent-Based Call-to-Action
Over the past seven years, I’ve reviewed and rewritten hundreds of brand landing pages. And the most important factor in ensuring conversion rates is the intent of your call to action, aligned with the message, the platform, and the traffic temperature.
In plain English, you need to match the user where they are, not where you want them to be. For example, if I ask someone to “buy now” the first time they join my email list, my conversion rate is close to 0%. However, when I change my call to action to “discover more” to warm up that email subscriber, I build long-term trust that leads to a conversion later.
Match your CTA to the medium’s intent and their phase of the funnel. If they’re new to your funnel or coming from a low-intent experience like browsing social media, shift your CTA from buying language to exploration, discovery, and value.
Once they leave 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Typical scarcity marketing tactics can feel cheesy and outdated.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, only one left!” Old marketing tactics and psychological tricks are not as effective as they used to be.
Instead, try expressions that imply scarcity, like:
- Reserve your spot today (means places are limited without being cheesy)
- 100 people have registered in the last 24 hours (means demand)
- Order within XX hours to receive by date XX
These variations on the original “Hurry up” are more realistic, personable, and effective.
Related: Why We Click: The Simple Psychology Behind Calls-to-Action
4. Verb, value, urgency formula
Verb, Value, Urgency (VVU) formulas are a powerful technique for building momentum and driving conversions with your call-to-action.
An example of a VVU call-to-action I used recently was:
- Verb: get
- Value: SEO audit
- Urgency: In 48 hours
This simple formula uses three distinct factors that potential customers consider when purchasing a product or participating:
- What happens when they click the button? Do they get something of value or do they have to do a bunch of extra perceived work, like E.g. filling out a long form with all their personal data?
- Be clear about the actual value or object they are getting when they respond to your call to action.
- Finally, explain exactly when they will receive their product or service so there are no more objections to answer that could keep them from converting at the last minute.
The VVU formula is great for advertising on social channels, where you need a quick, crisp, and valuable call-to-action that stands out from a sea of distractions and endless content.
5. Click Result Flow CTA
The click-to-result flow call-to-action tells your visitor what will happen next, not the action you expect them to take. Most CTAs focus on the company benefiting, not the buyer. For example, you’ll see that the vast majority of CTAs say “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 on them.
Here are some actionable ways to convert boring, traditional CTAs into more conversions:
- Download Now > Download ebook now
- Buy Now > Received [Product] today
- Learn more > See product info
- Subscribe > Read Issue #1
Do you notice the difference? Instead of asking the user, explain what the result will be when they click.
Instead of buying it now, get your product today. Instead of learning more, they are taken directly to the product information. Instead of subscribing, they read the first issue and become anchored in the value you provide.
Writing a great call to action is all about limiting objections and providing enough value to your audience. If you can combine these two aspects with compelling copy that doesn’t feel too aggressive or cheesy, you’ll see incredible improvements in your conversion rates, from email CTAs to direct purchase decisions.