Your website can serve up a lot of new leads and sales. But, you can't expect your website to whip up new business out of thin air! Website visitors won’t do what you want if they aren’t asked. The call to action is how potential buyers are asked to move from anonymous visitor to a sales lead.

A call to action, or CTA, is an image or text on any page of your website that prompts visitors to take a desired action, such as subscribe to your blog, sign up for monthly email updates, or request a product demo. CTAs should direct people to targeted landing pages, where you collect visitors' contact information in exchange for a valuable offer.

When they have all the right ingredients, your CTAs can result in more sales opportunities for your business.

Recipe for an Effective Call To Action

Make the offer clear.

Imagine that your company gives potential customers the chance to "try before you buy." What does that offer mean? Do people sign up for a free 30-day trial? Or is the offer a live product demo?

Spell out what your offer is so customers know exactly what to expect or what they will receive.

PRWeb call to action

PRWeb clearly identifies their offer, a whitepaper.

Explain the benefit.

Explain the value of the offer being made within the CTA itself. Users want to know “what’s in it for them.”

Mint call to action

Mint points out all the ways it makes managing your personal finances easier.

Be specific and action-oriented.

Users won’t click on a link they do not trust. Avoid confusing or “clever” wording. Use direct, action-oriented language to help people understand what they need to do.

Basecamp call to action

Basecamp gets specific, and says "Start your free trial" rather than the generic and vague "click here."

Align the CTA with a landing page.

Don’t post a call to action, then ask the visitor to hunt around your website for the offer. Bring them directly to a landing page that gives the full details of the offer.

Hipmunk homepage

Hipmunk includes a CTA for business travelers, which brings the visitor to a landing page about Hipmunk for Business.

Hipmunk landing page for business travelers

The landing page makes good on the CTA offer, giving full details of the offer and telling people how to try out the service.

Be relevant.

Make sure your call to action relates to the specific website page it appears on. A veterinarian website should not offer their newsletter for cat owners from the “Healthy Reptiles” page. Visitors will either be confused or uninterested. 

Hubspot call to action

In a blog post about effective Pinterest contests, Hubspot includes a CTA to download a relevant e-book: How to Use Pinterest for Business.

Be seen.

Pay close attention to the design of your CTA; you want to be sure it catches a visitor's attention! Use images, contrasting colors, positioning, sizing, and engaging text to make your CTA stand out.

Trello call to action

Trello's call to action stands out. The "Sign Up" button is bright and big, and it sits front and center with plenty of breathing room. There's no missing this CTA.

Customize CTAs for different contexts.

Your website should be ready to answer questions or entice prospects at different stages of the buying cycle. Tailor your CTA to different contexts, to ensure that you're satisfying a visitor's specific needs in a specific situation. 

SEOmoz call to action

SEOmoz uses a free trial as the CTA to engage prospects at the beginning of the buying cycle.

SEOmoz call to action

SEOmoz changes the CTA after you start a free trial. Now there's an offer to earn credits by referring others to SEOmoz. For someone who may be hesitant to commit to a paid subscription, this CTA offers the right incentive at the right time.

Hungry for more?

Download our exclusive e-book, 5 Proven Components of a B2B Online Lead Generation Campaign. This free 19-page guide spells out everything you need to know about increasing the effectiveness of your online marketing and boosting the quantity and quality of your leads, with time-tested strategies and tips that are guaranteed to get you a bigger slice of that ROI pie.

Free Guide - 5 Proven Components of a B2B Online Lead Generation Campaign