7 Tips for Effective Calls to Action

Download Now: 28 Free Call-to-Action Templates
Dan Zarrella
Dan Zarrella



This post contains older information, but has been left up for historical reasons. For more up-to-date information, please see our Lead Generation Hub.
call to action

A call-to-action is the copy or graphic you use to entice and persuade your readers to take that action. Well-designed calls to action can dramatically increase a site's rate of conversion to its goal.

So what's a well-designed call to action? I've done testing on countless different sites, and here are the 7 most important best practices I've found.

Create Urgency

Use discrete measurements of time in your call to action. Phrases like "click now" or "try our software today" give the user an understanding of how easy and immediate the action will be.

Use Numbers

Concrete digits including prices make the action very specific for the user and in nearly every case I've seen test very well.

Indicate a Specific Action

Make your call to action as specific as possible. Tell the user exactly what you want them to do and how. Avoid vague generalities and instead tell them to click, sign up, contact us or download.

Use Images

It often helps to direct a user's attention to a call to action by placing a stock photo of a person looking directly at that call to action. Images with actors looking directly at the user tend to distract them.

Make Your CTA Clickable

Make sure your call to action uses the accepted web conventions of clickability. If it's a text link, it should be at least underlined, if not the standard link-blue. Buttons should have a 3-d effect that simulates the buttons found in web and desktop interfaces, and both buttons and links should change the default cursor when the user hovers over them to the pointer hand.

Use Contrasting Colors

Contrasting colors can draw the user's eye to the action you want them to take. If your site is cool blue and gray, use a red or orange graphic.

Pay Attention to Position

Calls to action "above the fold" on a page (in the first screen viewable on a page without scrolling down) do very well. Calls to action in a sidebar don't perform as well as those in the central content area of a page. Put the call to action where the rest of the page will naturally lead a viewer's eyes.

Bonus Tip: Test, Test, Test!

If you want to start optimizing your calls to action beyond just best practices, check out Action Grader, HubSpot's latest free tool. Action Grader will help you setup continuous tests to constantly improve the click-through rate of your calls to action on every page of your site.

We're in private invite-only beta right now, but if you'd like to try it out, sign up at the form here and then leave a note in the comments below.

Photo: - Cristian & Cie

New Call to action
Topics: Calls to Action

Related Articles

We're committed to your privacy. HubSpot uses the information you provide to us to contact you about our relevant content, products, and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For more information, check out our Privacy Policy.

Download and Customize to Attract Subscribers, Leads, and Customers

Marketing software that helps you drive revenue, save time and resources, and measure and optimize your investments — all on one easy-to-use platform