Writing the Best Call to Action

A strong call to action can make or break your conversion rate. For e-commerce businesses, conversion rate will be one of your most important metrics. However, even if you don’t own a retail website, it will benefit your visitor traffic. In simple terms, a call to action is a statement that prompts a visitor to perform an action. For example, a pop-up asking you to subscribe to a newsletter is a call to action. You subscribing to the newsletter is a part of the website’s conversion rate. Are you still confused about where you should start? This article will teach you how to write the best call to action phrase so you can maximize the success of your website.

customer action

What Is a Call to Action?

A call to action (CTA) is a marketing term that transcends all forms of media. It functions as an advertisement and a promotional tool for your brand. You encounter CTAs on a daily basis. They’re present in the advertisements you “ignore” while scrolling social media, the pop-ups you encounter while browsing websites, and the billboards you read while you’re stuck in traffic. You should see it as a phrase that asks someone to do something. For example, “subscribe to our newsletter” is asking a visitor to submit their email address in exchange for additional content. A call to action can also vary in length and complexity. However, for website copy, most of them will be brief commands.

Best Call to Action Phrases

Now that we know what a call to action is, how do we go about writing one? With all writing, it’s important to be as concise as possible. Thanks to the technologically advanced society that we live in, we prefer immediate gratification. Meaning that we like it when things are to the point. However, a simple “buy now” isn’t always enough to create a sale. Telling a visitor why they should care enough to buy or subscribe in a few words or less is difficult. When writing a great call to action, you need to create urgency in the least amount of words possible. However, there will be outliers.

Where to Start

A great place to start when writing the best call to action phrase is to figure out what you want your visitors to do. For the sake of clarity, let’s say we own an e-commerce website that sells t-shirts. We want our visitors to buy our product. How can we persuade our visitors to buy our products? We can offer exclusive coupons and sale promotions through a weekly email newsletter. Why should they buy our product? We believe our t-shirts are good quality, cost-effective, and have better designs, making us the superior option. Now that we have this information, we can make a CTA like this: “Join our T-shirt Hero member squad today for 15% off your next order.”

customer action

Call to Action Examples

There isn’t a black and white formula for writing a great call to action. However, there are components that you should include so yours can stand out from the rest. Listed below are some of the best phrases you can use to invite people to act.

Action Words

To boost clarity and drive action, you should write your CTA using active voice and action verbs. Action verbs are verbs that are stronger and more precise than the typical passive “can, have, and is” verbs. Examples of action verbs are as follows: “buy, save, shop, order, try, subscribe, join, donate, download, learn, click here” and more.


Your CTA needs to feel as if a visitor needs to subscribe or buy a product immediately. A call to action functions as an advertisement for a brand or product, but it also operates as a reminder to a visitor. Essentially, you’re giving them an incentive to join your newsletter or buy your service. Examples of language that express urgency are as follows: “Today, now, short time, before it’s gone, or limited offer.”

Call to Action Examples in Videos

When you think about a call to action, your mind most likely goes to what you’ve seen on a website or what was written on an advertisement; however, they do exist in audio and video copy. Most notably, you’ll see examples of these in youtube videos. When a vlogger asks you to subscribe to their channel, leave a like on the video, and follow them on their social media, they’re presenting a call to action. This same formula is presented in podcasts as well. However, a benefit to using video is you can present your call with audio and text.

How to Apply Video CTA’s

Let’s borrow the previous T-shirt Hero call to action example. For instance, if we made a promotional video for our website. In the video, we have one of the founders delivering the line, “Join our T-shirt Hero member squad today for 15% off your next order.” Additionally, this text appears in the video simultaneously with the founder’s address or at a different point in the video. With video content, you can prime your target audience to better sell your call to action. This tactic is often used in infomercials. However, don’t overuse this strategy. Being too repetitive in your sales approach could turn your visitors off from your service and products.

A snap shot of our Sony FS7 cinema camera system from our film set, while producing a documentary series for the Holocaust Center for Humanities. Here we are interviewing a local high school about their experience with some of the Center’s teaching materials.

Phrases to Avoid

As with all sales, it’s important to be wary about being too forward and transparent. However, not being assertive enough could weaken your invitations. When we think about cringeworthy CTAs, it usually consists of “Shop Now” or “Please Subscribe Today.” In these cases, the urgency is forced. If there isn’t intent or reasoning behind why a visitor should do something, it’ll hurt you in the long run. In other words, the call to action shouldn’t beg a visitor to buy something. The purpose of a CTA is to persuade a visitor into buying or subscribing to a product.

Use Incentives

Conversely, a subtlety like “read more” might not be enough to create a conversion. It lacks an incentive. Furthermore, it might be seen as additional work on their part. The act of having to read further to find more information can be inconvenient and as a result, the visitor loses interest. In this situation, you need to understand your audience and deliver information in a method that is most appealing to them. For example, if your target audience consists of on-the-go people, creating an ad asking them to read might not be lucrative. Of course, there will be situations where a “read more” is sufficient. When drafting a call to action, it’s important to ask yourself if your target audience will be receptive to it.

A/B Testing

Now that we have some potential call to action statements, how do know which one is better? A benefit to having a website that utilizes Google analytics is you can “test” different marketing strategies. If you have ever been unable to choose between two calls to action, you can perform an A/B test. An A/B test is an experiment where you compare two variations of a web page. In this case, you can try different lines and phrases to see which one creates more conversions.

Example of A/B Testing 

Let’s borrow the T-shirt Hero call to action example. We have our original call to action, “Join our T-shirt Hero member squad today for 15% off your next order,” and a new one, “Join us today and get 15% off your next order.” Through A/B testing, we can see which one accumulates more website subscribers.

Call to Action Advertising

This can also function as a form of advertising. By definition, it serves to influence a person’s behavior, like a web visitor subscribing to T-shirt Hero’s electronic mailing list. In this capacity, the call to action is advertising the brand. What makes a traditional call to action into call into action advertising is the intent. For example, an infomercial that repeats that the 30-piece baking set is a great deal and will be sold at half price is advertising the product. The phrase “Only today, the $60 set will be sold at a low price of $29.99” is a call to action. To clarify, a CTA can function as a method to influence a visitor to complete an action and to promote a brand or product.

reading call to action

Benefits of CTAs

So, you might ask yourself, “How can call to action advertising benefit my brand?” A quiet form of CTA like backlinking can promote your website as well as boost your SEO and improve your conversion rate. Specifically, internal links can be a direct form of advertisement for your website. Let’s revisit the T-shirt Hero call to action example. If T-shirt Hero has a blog on their e-commerce site, including an external and/or internal link to the article is a form of advertisement. Essentially, the CTA is the hyperlink to a different webpage and the link itself is promoting the host website. Do you still need help drafting the best call to action phrase for your website? SEO Design Chicago offers a variety of services for SEO, web design, and advertising. Visit our home page and schedule a consultation with us today.


  • What is a call to action?
  • How to write a good call to action?
  • What are some call to action examples?
  • What is A/B Testing?
  • What is call to action advertising?

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