A call-to-action (CTA) is an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It is, quite literally, a "call" to take an "action." An example of a CTA is “click here”.
There's no one-size-fits-all solution for calls-to-action. You can't just slap the words "Click Here" on a red button, put it everywhere on your site that you want people to click, and then start to rake in leads and customers.
Effective calls-to-action (CTAs) are a bit more complex than that. You've got multiple audiences looking at your website -- visitors, leads, customers, promoters, etc. -- and you want to get each group to do different things.
You want to get those visitors to become leads, leads to become customers, and then customers to become promoters -- but you can't serve them the same CTAs to accomplish those different goals.
Your solution? You've got to create multiple types of CTAs to serve these different audiences and their goals so that you can bring them down your marketing funnel.
However, you don't need to go overboard and create a bagillion different CTAs -- in reality, there are really only eight different types of CTAs you need on your website when you're first starting out.
As your business grows and your website gets more complex, you might need to switch these up, but these are a great jumping-off point for any marketer.
The 8 Types of Call-to-Action Buttons You Need on Your Website
1) Lead Generation
First and foremost, calls-to-action are crucial to generating leads from your website. Since you're trying to turn visitors into leads via these CTAs, you'll want to place them in any spot on your website with a high percentage of new visitors.
The most popular place people put these types of CTAs is on their blog -- at the end of their posts, in the sidebar, and maybe even as a floating banner in the corner. To be successful, these CTAs should be eye-catching and effectively communicate the value of clicking on it -- visitors should know exactly what to expect when they get to the landing page the CTA points to.
Here's what a lead generation CTA looks like:
2) Form Submission
And once your visitors get to your landing page, they'll need to do two more things before they can be registered as a lead: fill out a form and click on a button to submit their information to your contacts database.
Since your visitors are sooooo close to becoming a lead, you don't want them to slip through the cracks with a lackluster submit button. Therefore, it's crucial to trade out your "submit" button copy for something more actionable and specific to the marketing offer they are about to give their information for.
See how the lead capture form and button below are much more actionable and engaging than a "submit" button?
3) "Read More" Button
In any place you display a feed of content -- your blog, your customer case study page, or even your press newsroom -- you probably don't want to display the whole post one the home page. Entice your homepage viewers to click on individual posts by featuring the first few paragraphs of your content followed by a "read more" CTA.
Here's what a "read more" button looks like:
Besides allowing more content to be featured on your homepage feed, "read more" buttons make sure that your engaging posts receive the stats they deserve. That way, people will have to click through to read any post instead of scrolling down on the homepage, which ensures that the post itself gets credited with its own traffic, not the homepage.
4) Product or Service Discovery
When someone is poking around your website trying to learn about your company and what it offers, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. After all, your products and services are what keep your business afloat. The CTAs don't have to be fancy images -- simple text on a button can do the trick, as long as the button stands out enough against its background.
Here's an example of what that can look like, taken from our very own homepage:
Disclaimer: Our homepage product awareness CTA wasn't created in PowerPoint, but you can easily create the same look with our PowerPoint templates.
5) Social Sharing
One of the simplest types of calls-to-action is one that encourages you to share a piece of content with your friends. Social sharing buttons are a low-commitment way for visitors, leads, and customers to engage with your brand. So, be sure to include them in places where it makes sense on your website -- blog posts, landing pages, etc.
Don't just slap them on everything, though. You wouldn't want to include them in places where people are giving you their personal information, for example.
The best part about this type of CTA is that it is really easy to customize.
Here's what it can look like:
6) Lead Nurturing
So what happens when someone becomes a lead but isn't quite ready to lay down the moolah for your product or service? You've got to entice them with another type of offer -- but one that is more aligned with your product offering than a typical top of the funnel marketing offer.
Think about offers like product demos, free trials, or free quotes -- this is the offer you want to promote with a lead nurturing CTA. You want to showcase these CTAs in places you know lots of leads visit -- maybe as a smart CTA option in a blog post or as an offering at the bottom of another marketing offer's thank you page.
Here's a prime example of what one looks like:
7) Closing the Sale
And once all of your lead generation and lead nurturing are done, you want to get down to business and turn those leads into customers. This type of CTA will be very sales-focused: you want to get potential customers to want to buy your product or service right here, right now.
Again, if you have smart CTAs, you can use them at the end of blog posts -- but you also might consider placing them on product pages, as potential customers may want to do one last bit of research before taking the plunge.
This is an example of what a sales-focused CTA would look like:
8) Event Promotion
If you are throwing an event -- whether online or in person -- it's pretty clear you're going to want to get people (and a lot of them) to attend.
Use an event promotion CTA to raise awareness of the event or even help drive ticket sales. The best part about this type of CTA is that there are endless places you can put it, depending on which segment of your audience you're trying to get to attend.
For customers, you might consider placing this on their login page, dashboard, or even on the page you offer them a receipt. Or for leads, you could make this CTA appear in your blog sidebar. The possibilities are endless.
Here's a simple example of an event CTA:
Originally published Sep 25, 2013 1:00:00 PM, updated February 16 2021