cta-effectivePortions of this blog post were excerpted from the ebook, 101 Examples of Effective Calls-to-Action. If you'd like to see more examples of superb CTAs, download it for free and learn exactly what makes them so effective.

The other day I was walking to the bus, using my NextBus app to track when the bus would arrive. Actually, it was more of a half-walk/half-run -- sort of like a gallop -- because I was late and in a panic but trying to still look **cool**.

Anyway, as I galloped down the sidewalk maniacally refreshing the app, a pop-up ad appeared for Candy Crush. The call-to-action they used solidified that if there was ever a chance in hell I'd play Candy Crush, it's now forever gone. Why? Because the CTA gave me two options when asking me to download Candy Crush: "Okay," or "Continue."

Soooo ... you're telling me my options are yes, or yes? Screw you, Candy Crush! I finally found the "X" in the top right corner, which was small and blended in all-too-well with the obnoxious background. The experience made me want to write a post like this that celebrated all the good calls-to-action in the world. So here are some of my favorites. They're sexy, they're effective, and they're good inspiration for marketers creating their own CTAs.

If you want to see more, download this far more comprehensive guide with 101 impeccable call-to-action designs. They are awesome. Go get inspired.

10 Delightful Designs for Effective Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

1) Indie Aisle

Indie Aisle starts us off with a bang, drawing out a scene familiar to its persona -- the editor -- to help make the CTA more enticing. The visual is different from what we typically see on most websites, like stock photography and vector images. But function isn't compromised, either; we still see our four options clearly laid out, so a visiting editor understands exactly what she can do with Indie Aisle.


2) Akismet

This is one of those calls-to-action you should experience through more than just a screenshot, because Akismet has actually made its CTA interactive with a real-time counter. It displays the value of the product front and center by showing exactly how many spammy comments they've "zapped," and lets you get started right away with its contrasting blue button.


3) dailymile

Dailymile is also making use of the interactive counter (you can see my screenshot snagged a little bit of the "3" transitioning into a "4"), but they're making their call-to-action even stronger with the additional social proof at the bottom. Showing me who in my Facebook network is using the product, combined with the actual examples of people's workouts being tracked, makes it more compelling for someone to get started stat. 


4) Curator And Mule

Humor, design savvy, clear value proposition, social proof: This CTA from Curator And Mule has it all. I know what the service is, I want it*, and I'm smiling. Sold.


*Even though I'm not a dude. The CTA's that good.

5) Lytro

It's a bold move to make your first CTA "buy now." But Lytro nails it here. The white space is drastic, highlighting the product and the evocative language they've selected. Taken in all together, it's so drastic that by the time you've collected yourself you're at one of two stages: 1) Yeah, let's buy this thing, or 2) I don't know what this is, but I want to know.

Luckily, right at that stage, the CTA changes to a "learn more" CTA that is just as visually compelling. It's like getting a punch in the face, but you're not even mad about it. It's pretty cool. I recommend popping over to their site to give the experience a whirl.


6) Livestrong

This CTA is quite literal and pretty meta -- they consider their mission above all else, and this CTA reporting on how their mission is going is displayed above all else on the website. This is the thing the Livestrong website wants you to see, and they make that clear with a striking visual and powerful language.  


7) FitBolt

Oh my gosh! It's a CTA that isn't horizontal! Blasphemy? Not at all. Especially when it's coupled with delightful graphics, forward-thinking styling, three CTAs that entertain visitors at every stage of their funnel, and a little dose of humor to top it all off.


8) Wonga

This CTA from Wonga is simple, interactive, and most importantly -- helpful. They've created a tool that provides instant value for a visitor, which in turn gives the visitor a reason to click.


9) Resumebaking

Finally, an HR-related site without the cheesy HR stock photography. The design of this call-to-action is superb because it focuses on the point first, and the additional add-ons second. First, build a resume. All the arrows are telling you to do it ;-) Then, look at all the other cool things you can do -- like share it in social networks and receive offers. And of course, we can't ignore another example of social proof at work in a CTA!


10) Dropbox

Dropbox design has always impressed me with its whimsy and simplicity. This is no exception. They employ tons of white space, and what you can't see (but I encourage you to check out their website) is that the screens on all three devices are animated GIFs. These GIFs serve two purposes: They draw the eye, and they also explain what Dropbox is. Because the GIFs populate the image across one device, then the next, then the next, it makes it clear that using Dropbox, you can access a file across multiple devices.

Hey, if you can say it with visuals, you don't need a bunch of words.


Share your other favorite CTA designs with us, won't you?

Image credit: Rob Boudon

free examples of effective calls-to-action

Originally published Aug 27, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017


Calls to Action