7 Steps to Get High CTR on Call-to-Actions

When it comes to marketing, our main goal is conversion.

Attracting new visitors and getting users to take the next step down the sales funnel is essential. And when embarking on this task, we need to pay attention to a major element inside our website, the CTR on Call-to-Action.

But what is a CTA?

So chances are you already heard or read about CTA.

But what is it exactly?

CTA stands for Call-to-Action and it’s copy that compels an audience to act in a certain way. That’s why CTA often includes verbs in the imperative mood like “Buy”, “Read”, “Get”, etc.

CTAs are often designed as text-only or buttons and they take the user to other destinations. A “Get started free” button will probably lead you to a sign-up form.

Some examples of CTA buttons are:

  • Sign-up button.
  • Purchase button.
  • Get a free resource button.

In this post, we’ll explore how to create stunning CTAs that get you high Click-through rates (CTR), that is, CTAs that will be successful and drive sales. Let’s dive right into it, shall we?

Animoto CTA button

1. Use a heatmap on your site

Usually, an excellent place to put a CTA is above the fold section. That’s where all the important information is, and what’s more important than your CTA? You’ll find this type of placing on landing pages: a clean page, distraction-free, that leaves all the attention to the CTA.

However, that’s not the only place for a CTA.

Heatmaps studies have shown that users read a page in specific patterns, and the focus doesn’t always fall just above the fold. For many years, webmasters used the F-shaped pattern of reading on the web to know where to put important information. But recent studies say there are other patterns to be considered, like commitment patterns and spotted patterns.

The point is, there’s no general rule here. It also depends on the type of CTA you’ll use. A CTA for lead generation won’t be the same as a button for closing the sale. The first one might appear instantly, the other requires more time to be effective. And there are plenty of places where you can put different sorts of CTAs:

  • header (typically for a coupon or discount like in the Financial Times)
  • inline
  • sidebar
  • end of content
  • footer (to contact you)
  • pop up (an opt-in form)

So to find the perfect place for your CTA and achieve great CTR on Call-to-Actions, use a heat map on your site and get a better idea of the user journey.

We recommend getting started with Mouseflow – it has the best heatmap software and Mouseflow is pretty easy to get started as well.

2. Make your CTA appear clickable

To draw attention, CTA should also have a nice appearance. This is a great time to get acquainted with color psychology.

Usually, CTAs are red but you can find some that are blue or green, too. It’s a good idea to perform an A/B test to find out which color gets higher conversions. You’ll also want to test different shapes to see if you want to go with a rounded button shape or a button with square edges. But that’s our final step.

For now, focus on coming up with a nice button. Keep in mind contrasting colors work best to make the button stand out. AND keep the text inside normal large parameters. Not too big or too small.

You might have multiple CTA so keep your main CTA more attention-grabbing than the rest. We are very used to this strategy: even with no text, you can tell which button is the “Yes, please” and which is the “No, thank you”. If you see two buttons side by side and one is more colorful than the other, you know that’s the CTA the website wants you to click.

Wired has 2 CTAs with different colors

3. Communicate the value

What’s in for them? Unless you tell your audience you’re offering them real personal value, they won’t convert. Show the reader what you have to provide to them, which problem you’re solving.

For this step, knowing your buyer personas is key. Ask yourself:

  • What’s the best part of this offer?
  • Why should customers choose me instead of another brand?
  • What problem do I solve?

But also conduct surveys to understand people’s motivations, goals, and needs.

I’m a big fan of Skillcrush’s website and they do that just perfectly.

Take a look at their CTA and the copy around it. You can see value being communicated all over the place. Skillcrush tells you what you’ll learn (educational value), how much it’ll cost you (economical value) and what it’ll do for you (a deeper, more meaningful value). They’re aware their potential buyers are new in tech and therefore hesitant, so they explain the course it’s free and that it includes insight into the tech industry.

If you can emulate that, your CTR on Call-to-Actions will undoubtedly rise.

Some words to add to communicate value “family”, “career”, “life” and “journey”. But again, there are lots of types of value, and offering a discount or a downloadable resource work just as well.

Skillcrush is a great example on high CTR on Call to Actions

4. Evoke emotions

Humans are emotional creatures. The more emotions you provoke in your audience, the better. Here are some modifiers you can implement:

  • FOMO (Fear of missing out). Increasing the level of urgency will always increase CTR on Call-to-Actions. Useful phrases: “Limited time offer”, “Order before it’s too late” or even a simple “Shop now”.
  • USP (Unique selling proposition). Remember visitors why you’re different! “Get your cruelty-free makeup now” sounds appealing.
  • Enthusiasm. Adjectives -when used moderately- add an extra something. Example: “See our time-saving templates”.
  • Numbers. It seems numbers work better than words for the human brain. So next time you want to say “Only three weeks left”, go with “Only 3 weeks left” instead.

Disclaimer: all these tips are mainly for your website. On social media, implicit CTAs work better than direct ones. So instead of saying “Click here to buy”, try with “What are you waiting to get yours?”.

5. Create a great short copy

We already mentioned some things to put in your CTA and that’s because the copy is key.

The way you choose your words can be the reason someone decides to give you a chance.

So don’t make it cliché or fall on the usual places. Just as any sort of communication, personalized copy beats generic copy! It makes people feel closer to you, more familiar, putting a plain “Sign in” it’s boring and it feels like talking to a robot.

Of course, it’s not terrible if you go with “Sign in”. If you have to choose, always choose clarity. However, avoid boring words like “submit” or “enter”. Try more action-packed words such as “get” or “download”.

Changing the POV from second person “Get your book today” to the first person “Get my book today” has proven to increase CTR on Call-to-Actions. Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes tends to have a good impact.

BforBloggers increases CTR on Call to Actions changing the POV

Also, avoid friction words. Typically anything that suggests the user has to do some work is a friction word. So instead of using “Sign me up”, try something closer to “Send me this”. That’s the sort of copy we go with on BforBloggers.

BforBloggers increases CTR on Call to Actions reducing friction

And remember: this is a button, not a novel. Ideally, keep it between 2 and 5 words.

We use OptinMonster to get more leads from our blog. You can also use SleekNote and ThriveLeads.

6. Be clear

The number one rule of UX is to deliver a smooth experience to visitors. Besides changing the perspective of your CTA, a really big way to reduce friction is to be as clear as possible.

It sounds simple but for many people, it isn’t.

Aim to be as specific as possible. Sure, we don’t want to have a super long CTA but the copy that comes along with the CTA is also important. So there’s no excuse to avoid information.

Include details so there aren’t any doubts and remove any language that may cause uncertainty.

For example, this Visme’s popup has a clear CTA that tells you exactly what you’re doing. The copy that comes along it specifies what will happen once you subscribe. And the “We don’t share emails with anyone” clarification adds extra points for trust.

Visme fullscreen pop up

Finally, to be sure your writing is clear and people will understand it instantly, use a writing assistant tool. You’d be surprised with how much a tool like Grammarly helps. Sometimes we use unnecessary wording without even realizing it. And there’s really no excuse to not try Grammarly because it has a free plan.

7. A/B test

The last step to assure you’ll get high converting CTR on Call-to-Actions is testing. There’s no formula when working with human beings and marketing is all about people. So you need to regularly check performance and see if any changes are needed.

Particularly with CTAs, A/B testing is very necessary.

If you aren’t familiar with A/B testing (why should you?) it basically works like this:

  • You have 2 versions of a CTA. Let’s say a red CTA button (version A) and a blue one (version B). You can’t decide which to keep.
  • When visitors click on the URL of your page, the test will direct 50% of them to version A and the other 50% to version B.
  • The CTA that wins is the version that got a higher Click-through rate.

This is an awesome way to know what performs better. And the good news is if you want to test multiple variants, like shape, copy and color altogether, you can try multivariate testing (MVT).

Changing something as small as the color of your CTA can have a great impact on your CTR so never forget to test.

Unbounce has a pretty solid A/B testing tool. Learn more about Unbounce smart traffic in our detailed guide here.


In this post, we cover the 7 steps to get high converting CTR on Call-to-Actions:

  1. Use a heatmap to find the perfect place
  2. Create a great design
  3. Make sure you tell people what’s in for them
  4. Use emotions like FOMO
  5. Work on your short copy
  6. Be as clear as possible
  7. A/B test to know which CTA drives more CTR

Call-to-Actions might take a small space of your page but they play a big role in your digital marketing success. Make sure you are constantly trying to improve them.

Any questions?

Let us know in the comments.

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