How to Create a Successful ‘Call to Action’

The goal of advertising is to persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners) to take some desired action with respect to products, services or ideas. The initial step is to establish a product’s value in the mind of the audience. Once that is accomplished, the audience is given a call to action, which tells the audience to do something. You see them all the time:

  • Order today
  • Call now
  • Download here
  • Click here
  • Get a free trial
  • Join today
  • Try it for free

An effective call to action results in the audience achieving your conversion goal (buying, registering, etc.). To create a successful call to action, here are ten questions you must ask yourself:

What do you want the customer to do? Call, Buy, Register, Subscribe, Donate

What situation does this product address in a person’s life?

Identify a problem and show how your product, service or idea solves that problem.

Identify a need and show how your product, service or idea meets that need.

How will I appeal to the target audience? logical appeals are based on rational arguments that support sets of assumptions already accepted by the audience (using studies or product reviews to establish value) ; emotional appeals are based on the ability to trigger an audience’s emotions (humor, fear, sympathy, pride, etc.); and ethical appeals are based on shared moral values and call upon an audience’s sense of right, justice, and virtue (i.e. Buy American campaigns).

What are the benefits of responding to the call to action? Information, Membership, Satisfaction, Guarantee, Exposure

What can I use as an incentive to get the audience to act? Offer a little something extra, such as a t-shirt or free shipping. Try to induce urgency (offer expires soon) but not force (you won’t get this chance again).

How should I design the call to action?

  • Use action verbs
  • Use graphic elements, such as distinct buttons, banners or images
  • Make it prominent on the page using (1) position,  (2) spacing, (3) size, and (4) color to isolate the appeal or make it distinct. For instance, putting the call to action within white space, on a big orange button at the top of the page will surely get attention.
  • Be simple, not too many words. Treat this as if you were shouting a command: “Get it right now!”
  • Be consistent. Use the same color and style for the call to action on other pages or formats. Use at least one call to action on every page of your website, modifying it only to correlate with the page content.

Suppose the person has to make a choice before taking action?

Simplify the choices by using a chart, for example, to show the benefits of different options. Limit the number of choices by using a package method rather than a la carte.

Suppose I have more than one thing I want the customer to do?

Do this in steps on different pages rather than all at once. For instance: Register, Confirm, Order.

What are the best call to action phrases?

Don’t use the same call to action because your competitor is using it or because it is popular.  Also, don’t offer a new product or service simply based on another company’s call to action. Your call to action should be based solely on what you can offer and/or do offer with superior quality and service. If your company has none or only one expert on a particular subject, you should probably not advertise, saying, “Get expert advice.”

How will my call to action affect my brand appeal?

Branding involves the use of an image or product name in an effort to associate certain qualities with the brand.  Thus, a call to action must be chosen to align and complement your brand. Certain high-end clothing stores, for instance, will not offer discount coupons. Instead, the company’s site may ask you to register for a gold membership card.


You know a little, but now are you ready to get it done right?

You need to learn how to implement a successful call to action in your advertising campaign on your website, printed materials and so on. The truth is, you can’t afford not to get this right!

Contact us at 678-904-7477 to get more information about how we can help you create an effective online advertising campaign.

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