In marketing, the behavior of a prospect is considered within the AIDA (Attention-Interest-Desire-Action) framework. It includes the stages that one passes before taking a decision. A call to action (CTA) is a key element in this framework. Its organization determines its efficiency. You can not just place a contrast color button with a call to subscribe or purchase something.
CTA should be bright, eye-catching, and set the required stance. A simple example – you write an article with tips on career building and leaving the comfort bubble. At first, you give the reader an opportunity to read part of it and then place a CTA with an offer to read further. This can be designed in two following ways:
- read a neutral phrase like “read the full version below” or “read below”;
- design a more creative CTA – “start changing your life to the better” sounds much better!
It seems that this is a trifle, but properly designed Call to actions improve the conversion rate.
Stages of creating a CTA
In fact, CTA is just a button. After clicking it the visitor is forwarded to the required page. But when creating a CTA several issues should be solved – starting from the style of writing the text and ending with the hue of the button field.
Let us briefly discuss the stages of creating a call to action:
- make up a CTA text. On this stage we recommend avoiding impersonal neutral phrases;
- design the button and select its color According to Hubspot research, red color provides a conversion rate higher by 21% if compared with green. However, the color should match the common page color set. The main requirement is the maximum contrast. E.g., white color is used in Evernote that is well noticeable on a green background;
- determine the button size. Apply the golden mean principle and everything will be OK;
- determine the place where the call to action will be located. If the text is long, the CTA can be duplicated. You will save the reader’s time (s/he would not have to scroll to the beginning or the end of the text) and will remind him about your offer.
When creating a CTA you will have to balance between two requirements – the call to action should be noticeable, but not obtrusive.
How to create a call to action
There are several recommendations suitable for any case. When designing a CTA follow the recommendations below:
Maximum informative value. The CTA text should show what would happen after pressing on the button. Do not use unclear wordings. For example, if you offer to download freeware, write “Download for Windows”; if a visitor needs to fill in a form, write a corresponding text;
If you offer any bonuses, focus on this. This is usually made before the call to action itself so that the visitor would not forget about the profit for sure. Sometimes the information (e.g., about a discount) is placed on the CTA itself. E.g., lamoda.ua has a CTA button that forwards the user to the page with promotional products that can be purchased with a 15% discount;
Story-telling – show the advantage of your offer with a few phrases (why should the user choose you). After this place the CTA button;
- when you design the call to action text put yourself in the shoes of the prospect. E.g, a CTA “ I want to take my website to the TOP” sounds better than “Make an order” or “Buy”;
- use the same font as for the website design;
- the images on the page should be related to the call to action. E.g., if there is a man pointing somewhere on the image, make it so that s/he would point on the CTA button;
- experiment with the changeable CTA button design. E.g., it can change color when scrolling. This attracts more attention;
- if you are using 2 adjacent CTA buttons, the should have a different color.
Reasonable creativity is welcome.
Errors when creating and placing the CTA
Sometimes it is impossible to create a perfect CTA at first try. It is better to learn from the mistakes of others, so try avoiding the most common errors:
- use of “cold” words that give a vague notion about the result of clicking the button;
- a large gap between the CTA and the text of the offer. If the offer is described in details, you may duplicate the same CTA, this will do no harm;
- a lot of different CTAs in a small space. Remember that you need not make the visitor annoyed or angry, but lead him/her to a target action. First of all, consider the feelings of the page visitor;
- improperly selected button color. There should be a contrast with the general color set used in the website design;
- CTA designed as a picture. In the mobile website version the visitor may disable the image display for saving traffic and will not see the CTA;
- CTA contains a broken link, the information or the offer is outdated.
All these errors have a cumulative effect. If you make several errors, your call to action will have a near-zero efficiency.
Where to use the call to action
If you analyze the popular websites, you will see that CTA can be located on the top side, behind the bend line, at the end of longreads, and on the side of the page. These methods are reasonable, but you need to understand when they are applicable:
The upper part of the page (before the bend line) is a win-win solution. The visitor will see your message for sure. Have a look at how has this been implemented on plerdy.com – the heatmap advantages are described and an offer to find out more is placed. The upper part contains an offer to try out the service functionality for free;
Suppose the visitor has got interested in the proposal and continues scrolling the page. Continue telling about the advantages of your product below the bend line and place another CTA. Please note: the menu in the upper part is pinned and does not disappear when the user scrolls the page. It contains another call to action (to try out the service for free);
If the visitor gets interested in the material, this provides a maximum scroll depth. It is reasonable to place the CTA in the lower part of the page. Blog posts (many large online businesses manage them) is a great example. CTA buttons (e.g., for subscribing in social media) are always used at the end. In this case, you can place the buttons alongside and design them in one style.
Have another look at the above-given examples. They are all different, but the above-given rules were followed – contrast colors were used and the product advantages were described properly.
50 CTA examples
We have dealt with theory. now let’s move to practice. All examples below use CTA elements.
The website of one of the largest oil companies uses several types of calls to action:
- the homepage contains an offer to check out the company activity and download a pdf-document with the information about the company. Please note that both CTAs are located alongside and contrast;
- below the bend line of the page CTA redirect the user to the section with the news for investors and important events related to the company;
- the lower part of the page contains the standard links to social media.
The CTA field is red – an appropriate solution as the buttons are noticeable both on the dark and light background.
Several similar-style CTAs are used on the Apple website. The following calls to action are used:
- find out more about the product and order the product – these CTAs are duplicated several times on the homepage. As the background is white, the call to action is just colored;
- product pages use other CTAs offering to customize the item before buying. The buttons of this type react to hovering and have a brighter design.
UnitedHealthGroup website uses several similar-type CTAs – standard dark-blue buttons that stand out on the white background.
Calls to action are intended for stimulating the reader to find out more about the company, view more news, or read the pdf-file with the main information on the company.
The design is standard. There are a few CTA elements on the website.
The website of the largest US drug distributor actively uses calls to action in the website design.
Calls to action:
- as there is a lot of information on the company activity on the homepage, there are a lot of such CTAs as “Learn more”, “Read more”, “Contact us”;
- in blog posts, CTAs are used for stimulating the readers to rate the articles and leave comments.
As for the design, a white button contour is used on a dark background. A saturated dark hue is used on a light background.
The website of a large US prescription drug supplier contains calls to action, but their use could be more efficient.
Calls to actions:
- an offer to find out more about the company. A few strings about the activity spheres are given and then a call to action to continue reading;
- the lower part of the page contains a request to follow the company social media;
- the blog contains CTA for evaluating the material and a call to action to share the material.
The request text is not highlighted. One can understand that it is a CTA only after hovering it. The blog does not contain links for sharing the material.
This US telecommunications conglomerate actively used CTAs in their website design.
The following calls to action are used:
- buy now – the homepage contains very attractive offers of the latest smartphones and a button for making a purchase below;
- find out more – used for customers who wish to subscribe to TV and connect to AT&T Internet;
- CTAs are also used on the item page. They are intended for forwarding the customer to the order page;
- links for following the company social media.
It should be noted that the company gives good motivation. For example, a chance to get an iPhone 11 for free in case of subscribing to AT&T services will attract almost everybody.
Amerisourcebergen website contains calls to actions mainly intended for stimulating the reader to find out more about the company activity.
Calls to action:
- find out more about the company and its activity;
- find out new ideas;
- read articles about pharmacy and medicine;
- contact the company. A contact form appears after clicking the button.
Storytelling should be pointed out. The first CTA sounds like “Learn more about our role in the supply chain”. The company activity becomes clear.
On the website of one of the largest energetics companies most CTAs include an offer to find out more about Chevron activity and its environmental contribution.
Calls to actions:
- find out more about the company, its history, watch a corresponding video;
- read more news;
- in articles, CTAs are used for stimulating the readers to follow their social media profiles.
The auto major does not require additional advertising. There are no flashy ads of new cars or discounts before the CTAs on ford.com; the calls to actions are mostly used for stimulating the visitors to read more about the company activity.
Types of CTAs on the website:
- find out more about the company and its spheres of activity;
- read more articles in the blog;
- buy tickets to Ford events;
- visiting the section with Ford job offerings.
The General Motors website uses the following CTAs:
- find out more about General Motors and the spheres of its activity;
- join the GM team;
- there is a standard call to action to follow GM social media and share their materials.
General Motors website is not an online store, so there is no abundance of advertising or CTAs intended for selling cars there.
The following calls to action are used on the website:
- traditional “find out more” about Cardinal health;
- load the research results and reports;
- study the details of the offered programs;
- subscribe to the mailout with new Cardinal health publications.
Most CTAs are designed in form of buttons that stand out on the page background. There are some calls to actions that can be distinguished from the main text by color only.
The following CTAs can be distinguished on the website:
- CTAs offering to check out the rates for businesses and individuals;
- call to action to read about the company activity, its offers, and new technologies;
- pdf-material about the advantages of working with Verizon can be downloaded in the business section;
- contacting the technical support;
- redirecting to the store section. Verizon offers contracts with significant discounts on smartphones.
All pages of verizonwireless.com have CTAs.
This website of a US supermarket chain uses a lot of CTAs. On the website we can see:
- the standard “find out more” for checking out the information about The Kroger Co. and the materials on the website;
- CTA for checking out the roadmap;
- “Investor relations” redirects the reader to the unit of information important for investors;
- links to The Kroger Co. profile in all social media.
The proper color combination should be noted, saturated orange and dark-blue match together.
The design of the General Electric homepage is rather compact and does not have a lot of CTAs or other elements. The only call to actions that should be noted here is the “Contact” button and links to social media profiles.
Other sections have the following CTAs:
- find out more;
- discover new GE technologies;
- follow the social media links.
There are no complaints against the button design. They are rather noticeable on the background, applied as standard buttons and the text is distinguished with color and size.
The homepage of the Bank of America website is saturated by different CTAs:
- there are links to service plans for cards;
- seasonal offers (e.g., a guide on Christmas shopping);
- standard “Check out our products” и “Learn more”;
- call to action to check out the apps developed by BoA;
- a call to action to sign up and check out BoA publications.
All CTAs are noticeable and redirect the visitor to the corresponding website page. Both buttons and colored text are used.
The Microsoft website contains the following CTAs:
- learn more about the products;
- order the products with a discount, in particular, a subscription for Xbox game pass, Office 365 and other company products is offered;
- get information about updates;
- CTAs to leave feedback about the website and ask the experts a question are pinned in the lower part.
The buttons are interactive and respond to hovering. There are no motivation problems; also everything that can be interesting for the visitor is placed in the front.
The website of the bank holding company contains 2 types of calls to actions:
- learn more about the offers;
- follow social media;
- subscribe to the Wells Fargo mailout, appears after opening the section with the stories about the company activity;
- learn more about seasonal offers and recommendations.
The submenu with vertical scrolling on the homepage should be noted. When the user moves to the next item, the CTA also changes. CTA is duplicated in the right part and at the end of the page. When the user visits the page for the first time, s/he will see a pop-up with the same call to action.
The website of Citigroup – a global financial conglomerate contains the following CTAs:
- check out the key financial performance;
- learn more about Citigroup;
- subscribe to the Citigroup material mailout;
- follow their profile on social media.
CTAs were not designed as separate buttons. They are just a text that is slightly separated from the main text block.
The CTAs on this website of a US oil company were designed very thoroughly. The homepage contains the following calls to action:
- learn more about the spheres of the company activity. No “cold” CTAs, every call to action is related to the corresponding text blocks;
- follow Marathon Petroleum in social media;
- see the product list.
The buttons’ design should be also noted as the color and shape are well-matched. CTAs on all pages have the same style.
The website of this US medical insurer contains standard calls to action only:
- learn more about the company;
- read more news;
- CTA to sign up on the website.
There are also some links to the company profile on Twitter and their YouTube channel, but they have a poor design. The icons are small, do not contrast with the background and no text leading to the idea at least to visit the company social media profile let alone following it.
The website contains calls to actions of several types:
- learn more about the products or current promo campaigns;
- watch the videos;
- purchase the items – the user is redirected to the page with the list of products;
- get support – download drivers and manuals;
- check out the specialized solutions of the company for developing IT products.
The design should be noted as on some pages the CTA-elements are interactive and when hovering them the button is shaded with color. Even if the visitor occasionally hovers the button, the shading will draw his/her attention for sure.
There are CTAs designed as plain text.
The website of the US chemical giant contains a lot of CTAs. They offer the following to the visitors:
- learn more about the company;
- check out Dupont representations;
- study the product ranges;
- learn more about the company history;
- study the scientific activity of Dupont;
- find out information about job offerings.
The CTA element text is well-written. There are some standard “Read more” and “Learn more”, but the most convincing calls to action are designed in a more creative way.
3 types of CTAs are applied on the website of the US insurer:
- for seeking advice from the company;
- a call to action to start using StateFarm services;
- find a local company representative;
- standard “Learn more”.
In general, the calls to action are designed not bad. But some CTAs can be hardly distinguished on the background (e.g., “Get started” is not separated from the text) so it is not clear that it is not a string, but a link.
Johnson & Johnson website includes the following CTAs:
- to read the history – counterpart of the common “learn more”;
- follow a profile in social media;
- check out the job offerings in the company;
- expand the whole list of blog articles.
Some calls to action are designed as buttons with contrast shading, others – as text. The colored circles with an arrow in the right from the call to action have been added for drawing attention.
The following CTAs are used on the IBM website:
- check out the new company developments;
- study the IBM presentations thoroughly;
- check out the list of job offerings;
- use free IBM offers;
- contact the technical support. When the user scrolls the page, s/he will see the “Let’s talk” CTA.
Calls to action are also applied in product pages. E.g., the CTA in the section with code pattern offers to run it using the CTA itself.
The website of the US mortgage company includes the following CTAs:
- find out how does the service works;
- check out the research of the company development prospectives;
- find out the results of the daily polls of lenders on percentage rates;
- following the social media profile.
For better noticeability buttons with contrast shading or colored contour are used. The motivation is well-developed, figures that can interest potential borrowers are provided.
The website of the US company selling household goods uses CTAs. The following calls to action should be noted:
- the focus of seasonal offers;
- offers with a big discount;
- a request to leave feedback;
- an offer to contact the company representative in social media;
- CTAs for searching a local store are used on the item pages. After pressing the button a new window appears where the user can find stores by the postal code or town.
As the main goal is to sell CTAs are mainly used for focusing on the most marketable goods and reducing the sales funnel. This approach is used in most stores.
The website of Metlife insurer uses the following CTAs:
- for redirecting the user to the offer section;
- learn more about company activities;
- check out Metlife operation statistics;
- ask a question;
- order feedback;
- leave feedback about Metlife activity.
CTAs are not designed as separate buttons. Some of them are placed too close to the text and blend with it.
The website of one of the largest US FIGs uses CTAs that persuade the visitors to do the following:
- check out the job offerings at United Technologies;
- read more publications in the blog;
- check out the latest news;
- learn more about United Technologies activity.
The entire website has the same CTA design – an orange button with rounded edges. It is impossible to notice it on the white background.
Calls to action on the website of the globally known transport operator are used for:
- tracking parcels – the first CTA to see when opening the website;
- checking out the work schedule for holidays;
- signing up;
- checking out the company activity spheres;
- following FedEx on social media.
The most important CTAs are orange. Other CTA buttons are not colored, they have a contour or given as plain text.
On the website of this transnational US corporation CTAs are used for:
- learning more about the peculiarities of their activity;
- Pepsico social development endeavors;
- learning about sale points and product composition.
Из необычного отметим то, что CTA видны только при наведении курсора на информационный блок. До этого виден только его заголовок.
The design is standard – call to action text + contrast button contour.
On the website of the insurance and investment company calls to action are used for the following:
- to contact Prudential and ask questions;
- to sign up;
- to check out the Prudential operation principles;
- to subscribe to the Prudential mailout;
- to find the local insurance agent by postal code;
- to follow the profile on social media.
A combination of white background and dark-blue buttons with the CTA text is a win-win solution. As for the rest, everything is standard.
The Centene website has the following calls to action:
- link to the “About company” section;
- link to the partnership relationship conditions section;
- link to Centene services;
- job offerings;
- link to information for investors.
CTAs are designed both as buttons or links. Buttons respond to hovering and their fields are highlighted so this draws attention.
The website of Walt Disney company the following CTAs are used:
- check out the information about company shares (securities);
- check out the information for investors;
- learn more about the latest Walt Disney products;
- redirecting to job offering section;
- learn more about Walt Disney social development endeavors;
- follow the Twitter profile and YouTube channel.
The CTA buttons are washy, but when hovering they become saturated. It is a not bad solution for drawing attention.
The home page includes the following CTAs:
- check out the company history;
- redirecting to the section with the annual statement;
- call to action to become a customer;
- check out the Sysco representation network;
- the product pages contain recipes, table setting, and other culinary subtleties.
The call to action to follow social media profiles is great. Bright photos and offer to see a recipe on Twitter or Facebook draws attention.
The Hewlett-Packard website includes the following CTAs:
- “Learn more” – the visitor is redirected to the corresponding page and find outs about the product s/he is interested in;
- “Keep in touch” – link to the HP social media profile;
- “Search” – an offer to select the most suitable variant considering the buyer’s requirements on the product pages;
- there is a call to action for watching videos about the product and leaving feedback.
The tailored design should be pointed out. All CTAs on the website have the same style.
The website of the custom vehicle manufacturer also contains calls to action:
- learn more about the company history;
- CTA redirects the user to the job offering and news section;
- check out the list of products;
- share the link to Caterpillar social media profile.
There are not many calls to action on the website. CTAs should have been designed brighter and more noticeable.
In the website design the following CTAs were used:
- informing the investors;
- the links to the monthly statement with the financial performance of Energy Transfer;
- learn more about the company;
- links to the performance records;
- links to videos;
- follow social media.
Due to the successful combination of CTA button colors and background, the elements on the page are quite noticeable.
Lockheed Martin uses call to action elements for informing the website visitors about the company activity and its achievements. The website includes the following CTAs:
- learn more;
- learn more about the development prospectives;
- check out the company events and news;
- check out the information important for investors.
The CTA text was well-written. E.g., “See How Your Mission is Ours” is used instead of the typical “Learn more”. It addresses the visitor directly and works better than “cold” phrases.
This pharmaceutical giant uses the following CTAs:
- learn more;
- listen to a podcast and subscribe to the Pfizer notification mailout;
- search and advanced search;
- check out Pfizer researches;
- read Pfizer testimonials.
Some website sections have small markers pointing that the story is continued instead of full-scale CTAs. As for the rest, a standard approach to the call to action elements is applied.
The website of one of the largest investment banks uses the following call to action elements:
- redirecting the visitors to the page with the information about the bank and its history;
- check out the infographics, text materials and videos about the investment bank operation;
- subscribe the notifications from the bank;
- check out the Goldman Sachs testimonials and job offerings.
Some CTAs respond to hovering. Less significant calls to action are given in form of plain text.
The following CTAs are used on the website of the US financial conglomerate:
- read now – the link to the main material that is the first to appear when the user visits the website. E.g., at the end of 2019 this was the forecast for 2020;
- the call to action to subscribe to the Morgan Stanley mailout is given after the bend line;
- a CTA button for redirecting the user to the investment idea section;
- another call to action element allows learning more about the investment company staff and job offerings;
- a search of local representations by the postal code.
Some CTA-elements are not well noticeable on the white background. The call to action to subscribe to the Morgan Stanley mailout blends with the surrounding information units.
The website of the network hardware developer contains the following CTAs:
- redirecting to the blog;
- sign up;
- read about the products;
- subscribe to the Cisco social media profile.
The upper part of the homepage responds to hovering. CTAs change depending on this. All call to action elements are interactive and when hovering they become shaded so it is impossible to miss them.
There are a lot of CTAs on the website:
- the CTA before the bend lines offers to find a doctor, sign in or sign up;
- CTAs offer to learn more about the company, important schedule changes, and various programs;
- there is a call to action to follow the social media profile.
CTAs are designed in form of buttons and as colored text. Although the page contains a lot of call to action elements, they do not hinder the information perception.
The website of the insurance corporation includes several types of CTA:
- learn more;
- make a request;
- read the information for investors;
- learn more about the company managers;
- follow American International Group Inc. in social media.
Mainly CTAs are standard buttons that are well noticeable on a white background.
The American Airlines home page contains the following CTAs:
- learn more about bonus miles;
- buy up bonus miles;
- book a seat, flight, or car in the point of destination.
The website has a lot of information. Using CTAs allows making the homepage compact and redirecting the visitor to the required section.
Firstly, CTAs on the website of the Internet provider are intended for reducing the sale funnel:
- call to action elements propose to create the most suitable offer for the prospect considering the address;
- CTAs redirects the visitor to the page of subscription for the Internet or Internet + TV;
- promo campaigns are offered (e.g., a bonus up to $500) if the customer has entered into a contract with another provider, but will switch to Spectrum);
- accompanying goods are also sold (e.g., TV tuners).
As on other websites intended for selling goods and services, CTAs have a very bright design and contrast with the general color set.
The third-largest US insurer actively uses CTAs. They are applied for:
- informing the visitors about the company;
- comparing and studying the products;
- informing about social development endeavors where New York Life Insurance takes place;
- contacting the company specialists;
- subscribing for the mailout;
- subscribing to the profile on social media.
Most CTAs are designed as text, the most important ones only look like buttons. It should be pointed out that here impersonal “Learn more” and “Go” are used. The call to action text should have been more informative.
The following CTAs are used on the website:
- redirecting the visitor to the page with information about the company and its activity;
- displaying the local American Express offices;
- checking out the company offers. CTA elements on the website pages allow finding out more about the products and compare them.
The homepage lacks texts leading to CTA. Offers contain the product name and then the call to action immediately. As for the rest, there are no comments.
The company works in the food industry. The homepage contains the following CTAs:
- learn more about the details about the company;
- learn more about the products;
- check out the Tyson Foods technologies and events;
- check out the job offerings
- read the industry news.
Most CTAs are designed as buttons, there are some calls to actions in form of colored text.
The analysis of the above-listed websites shows that notwithstanding the sphere of the company work, it is worth using CTA elements. It is a universal tool for fast redirecting of the user to the required page. When used properly, call to action elements reduce the path between visiting the website and ordering the item or the service.
As for CTA design, we recommend:
- the most important CTAs should be designed as buttons. It is recommended to make some responsive to hovering (change color or maximize);
- the buttons should be as contrast as possible;
- call to actions may be in form of text. In this case, make it colored or slightly offset it from the text block. A marker underlining that it is not just a text, but a CTA can be placed in the right.
Following the above-given recommendations makes calls to action really efficient. The websites above can be used as an example of using calls to actions.