Website Survey

How to get people to click on your call to action

Time to read: 4 minutes

When people arrive on your website, they ask these questions:

  1. Where am I? What is this website?
  2. Does it have what I’m looking for?
  3. Is this for me?
  4. What can I do here?

Your unique offer usually answers the first 3 questions.

The text on your call to action (that big button in a contrasting colour below your offer) answers the last question:

What can I do here?

For example, it’s clear that on the AppDesignVault’s website you can shop iPad and iPhone templates:

Does it really matter what you call your call to action?

As crazy as this might sound right now:

The text on your call to action can cause someone to close their browser tab and never return to your landing page just when they were ready to convert.


Michael Aagaard from ContentVerve conducted an A/B test and changed the name of a call to action button from “Order information” to “Get information”. This increased conversions with 38.26%.1

This means that website was losing customers just because they were using the wrong verb on their call to action.

There have been many other tests that prove the importance of the name of your call to action.

So, why do people pay so much attention to what a button says?

Your call to action is the final push towards conversion

Your unique offer creates motivation in your potential customer to act.

They are excited after reading the offer.

But just when they are ready to convert, they glance at a button that says “Sign up”:

Sign up? Hmmm… I don’t want to create yet another account right now. What if they want my credit card number? I don’t think I want that right now. Maybe I’ll just come back later.

Motivation killed.

And here you can witness motivation murder in action:

The job of your call to action is to peak the drive created by your unique offer and make that final push towards conversion.

A counter-example of the motivation killer above is the SlipTree website.

The button urges the potential customer to create an invoice. This is exactly what they would want to do after reading the unique offer.

SlipTree's landing page

Your potential users don’t care about “signing up”.

What to name your call to action?

There are 4 things to look for when thinking about the text on your call to action buttons:

1. Use an action verb

Because it’s a button, the text has to be actionable.

For example, “Coming soon” is not actionable and, therefore, it isn’t a good idea to call you CTA that:

But, for example, “Build a high-converting landing page now” is actionable:

Unbounce's landing page

Requirement #1: Your call to action text has to use an action verb.

2. Make it relevant

When someone googles something and clicks an ad or a search result link that leads to your landing page, this means they came looking for something specific.

When someone clicks a link to your landing page on a forum post, this means that they come with a certain expectation about what they are going to find there.

When a visitor reads your unique offer and feels excited about it, they expect your software to enable them to do something specific

All of this means that the text on your call to action (as well all of the text on your landing page), exists in a larger context.

A conversion happens when the text on your landing page is relevant to the context your visitor is in.

That’s why the name of your call to action has to be relevant, not generic.

For example, this CTA (“Start prototyping, it’s free”) is relevant to the people who would use the Marvel app. They are designers who are looking for a free prototyping tool:

MarvelApp's former landing page

Requirement #2: Your CTA text has to describe an action relevant to the visitor’s current situation.

3. Promise something in return to clicking

The easiest way to motivate someone to take action is to promise them something they want in return—an incentive.

However, when defining “what the potential customers want”, keep this in mind:

Nobody actually wants to start a free trial of an app.

This is what they have to do to get what they want.

Take BinPress for example. The CTA on their landing page doesn’t say “Start a free trial” but it promises you to create a store. This is something their potential customers would want:

The BinPress landing page

Requirement #3: The CTA text has to promise the potential customer they will get something they want or be able to do something they want. It has to be benefit-oriented.

4. Leave no room for doubt

Vague and generic button names cause click fear 2.

Describe exactly what happens when the button is clicked.

I will bring my favourite example to your attention now:

AppDesignVault's landing page

This call to action tells you exactly what you are going to do when you click on it–you will be able to shop for templates.

Requirement #4: The CTA text has to be explicit.

So, a great call to action text…

  1. Starts with an action verb.
  2. Is relevant to the visitor’s current situation.
    It’s not generic. It will not work on any website. It will only work in this context.
  3. Is benefit-oriented.
    It makes a promise. It doesn’t emphasize what visitors have to do to get what they want. It emphasizes what they will get or what they will be able to do.
  4. Is explicit.
    It explains exactly what happens after the button is clicked.

Your turn

Take 15 minutes to pick a better name for your call to action now.

Fill out the blanks below to find the best name for your call to action

Step #1

Answer these questions:

  1. Why did people come to your landing page? What’s their motivation?
    Hint: It’s not to learn about the features of your software.

    1. What do they want to do with your product? What does it enable them to do?

Step #2

Keeping in mind your answers to the above questions, imagine you are your potential user and complete this sentence:

I want to ……………………. (call to action text)

Step #3

Use this checklist to help you assess your result:

[ ] actionable
[ ] relevant
[ ] benefit-oriented
[ ] explicit

Thank you for reading!

I hope that you found the advice and exercise useful. If you have any questions or just want to share your progress with your landing page, drop me an email at I do my best to answer them all.

About the author Gergana Dimova

I use my non-magical persuasion methods to help small business owners, digital agencies, entrepreneurs and consultants get more leads and sales. You can learn more about working with me here.

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