A call-to-action (CTA) is any copy that encourages someone to act in-the-moment. Be that to purchase a product, watch a video, share content, or even just to find out more information.
For online brands, the challenge is to avoid the age-old clichés and to find creative ways to prompt users into action – as well as ensuring the language fits in with the company’s wider tone of voice.
So, what makes an effective CTA? Here are 13 creative examples and the reasons why they work so well.
The CTA on OKCupid’s homepage cleverly takes away the need for any deliberation, drawing users in with a simple form that promotes the idea of a quick and easy sign-up process. Combined with the humorous nature of the main copy, which effectively explains the brand’s value proposition, it makes clicking ‘continue’ feel like a natural next step.
The prominent position of the CTA button also means that there are zero distractions. With nowhere else to browse or scroll, the chances of the user clicking through are likely to be increased.
This Joules newsletter is another good example of effective CTA positioning. It’s impossible to miss the dark blue button in the centre of the email.
Sure, the ‘shop now’ phrase is uninspiring, however, the accompanying pun of ‘don’t mullet over’ is what makes it work. A clever play on user behaviour – it naturally instils urgency, and prompts the consumer to browse the sale before all bargains are gone.
I also like the ‘come and say hello’ copy at the bottom, which uses a friendly and personable tone to entice customers to head in-store.
Instead of leaving users to browse the website of their own accord, Warby Parker cleverly uses an interactive quiz to guide people down the purchase funnel.
With the promise of helping to narrow down the perfect pair of frames, the ‘take the quiz’ CTA adds a gamification element as well as a more personalised outcome. The inclusion of a box that says ‘good things await you’ emphasises this point.
This kind of CTA is particularly effective at hooking in consumers still very much in the discovery stage, adding a bit of fun to what could be a lengthy or boring browsing experience.
The Skimm – a free daily newsletter aimed at women – uses newsletter CTAs to encourage word of mouth, prompting existing readers to share articles with others. To do so, it encourages people to sign up for its ‘Skimm’bassador’ program, which gives members perks like free trips and early access to special offers.
The progress bar shows users how many steps stand between them and their status as a ‘Skimm’bassador’, while the prominent circular button grabs the user’s attention with a tongue-in-cheek CTA.
Grammarly’s homepage CTA is simple but incredibly effective. The bright and bold colour ensures the button stands out, while the copy cleverly includes both a prompt to add Grammarly and a reason why you should. Highlighting the fact that Grammarly is free helps reassure people who might be thinking twice about clicking.
This CTA is also a great example of personalisation, with Grammarly recognising which browser you are using and changing the copy accordingly.
Missguided often uses language to appeal to a young, digitally-savvy and pop-culture-loving audience. This CTA prompting customers to sign up to its newsletter is no different, using the word ‘squad’ to promote the sense of comradery and togetherness that comes with being part of the Missguided gang.
The 30%-off promise is also a valuable proposition, giving customers a sense that they’re signing up to something far more exclusive than just a newsletter.
Unlike the standard ‘search’ button, HostelWorld manages to evoke the exciting nature of travel with a short but punchy CTA. The phrase ‘Let’s go!’ – complete with exclamation point – creates urgency, giving users the sense that there’s no point wasting time. Meanwhile, the ‘best price guarantee’ instils trust.
The bright orange design and central positioning grabs the user’s attention, eliminating distraction so that people will be prompted to go straight to search.
Firebox is another brand that’s known for its quirky and creative tone of voice, which is demonstrated here by its ‘ARRIBA ARRIBA’ CTA.
Meaning a variation of ‘hurry up’ or ‘let’s go’ in Spanish, the phrase cleverly co-ordinates with the fiesta-themed product category, while its playful and motivational nature further entices customers to click-through.
In contrast to other more minimal examples, Amazon veers towards clutter with this CTA for its Amazon Prime service. However, it is undeniably persuasive, using words like ‘simplify’, ‘free’, and ‘limitless’ in the surrounding copy to sell its package of convenience.
The CTA button itself is clear and concise, and other phrases such as ‘cancel anytime’ and ‘see more plans’ reassure customers to make them feel like they’re in control.
US clothing brand AYR aims to tap into the consumer mind-set with its short and sweet CTA.
Instead of using language that asks you to do something (e.g. ‘buy now’), the company often talks from the perspective of the customer. Language like ‘Mine’ and ‘I want’ reflects an inner desire for the product, inspiring consumers to actually imagine owning it instead of browsing from afar.
Elsewhere, the brand uses conversational language to instil intrigue. For example, using ‘it’s super fun’ as a CTA to check out AYR’s physical stores might sound abstract, but it makes the user question why, and encourages them to find out.
Urgency is another tactic often deployed by online retailers, as seen here in a River Island email.
It’s certainly not the most inspiring creative, but by including a strong CTA that successfully instils FOMO (‘fear of missing out’) alongside a discount – with nothing else in the email – the brand increases the likelihood of users clicking straight through rather than browsing other content and eventually clicking away.
CTAs are a vital tool for the charity sector, helping to maximise user engagement and fundraising.
People might automatically assume that giving money is the only way to help, so in order to combat this the BlueCross nicely highlights the different ways people can get involved with four distinct CTAs.
While it could arguably be more effective to move this section higher up the landing page, the drop-down menu already prompts users to take a specific path. What’s more, the simple but striking graphics grab the user’s attention if they do happen to scroll down.
Another charity example to end the list, with Unicef and its motivational CTA. Instead of merely asking users to donate or help out, it explains the results of a specific fundraising scenario in order to inspire and drive action. This effectively paints a picture in the mind of the user.
Meanwhile, the bright yellow ‘donate to help children’ button catches the eye, simultaneously giving the user a much more direct and immediate route to making a difference.