Beyond PR

Aug 17, 2016

How to Design Call-to-Action Buttons That Power Clicks

how to design call to action buttons

When planning out your content’s conversion strategy, it’s not enough to worry about the words on the page.

Visuals — and more specifically, the call-to-action button — are just as important.  This short, colorful button can be the difference between whether or not your audience engages further with your branded content and marketing landing pages.

Although a call-to-action button may be short and sweet, it’s not simple to execute effectively. Follow these eight steps to drive more click-throughs with your next CTA.

Figure out the end goal.

The call-to-action button is a powerful tool if used well. Don’t waste that real estate by being anything other than abundantly clear about what you want to get out of it.

The most important question to answer in a call-to-action button is “Why do I want people to click on this button?”

Do you want to drive traffic to your website? If so, why do you want to do that? Is there something you want customers to buy? Do you have content marketing material that you can’t wait to share with them?

Focus the ‘why’ to entice the viewer.

Once you have a clear motivation (I want people to buy my new product; I have a white paper that I want people to download; etc.), you’re ready to figure out how to sell that to your audience.

If you’re promoting a product, remember why you developed your product in the first place and how it helps customers. If you’re promoting a piece of content, identify what invaluable information it contains. These are your value propositions for your audience; use them to your advantage.


Keep it short. Less is more.

Now that you have a singular vision on the action you want people to take and why, you can start to craft your words carefully. You do NOT want to have to use a small font to cram all of your text on a button.

Brevity is absolutely necessary with these buttons. It will likely only be looked at briefly while glancing at a page, so choose your words carefully. The good news is steps 1 and 2 will help you develop a very clear value prop. The only work left for you now is to phrase that into 2-5 words, highlighting the action to take.

Use first-person language.

When someone is on your page, they are reading in THEIR voice. So if they see first-person language on the page, it is going to seem more customized to their experience. You no longer have that boundary where it seems like someone is addressing them and reminding them that they are being sold to.

Run an A/B test where you change your button text from ‘get your’ to ‘get my.’ As Michael Aagaard shares in How Failed A/B Tests Can Increase Conversion Rates, you may be surprised by the results. Against his expectations, the use of the word “my” improved conversions by up to 24.95%.

Throw in a sense of urgency.

This may seem like a clickbait tip, but you can use a sense of urgency to your advantage. Maybe there is a timeline on your offer, a date when a coupon runs out, or an end date for offering a download.

How many websites do YOU go back and look at again later? You have very few chances to convert someone from your page to your action, so don’t be afraid to throw in “Today” or “Now” or an exclamation point to point out your most important action.

Don’t forget the action.

Just as important as the action text is the link that you’re sending people to. If you’re going to spend time writing the perfect call to action, give them an easy action to be able to take. If your motivation is to sell tickets, direct the button to a ticket ordering page. Don’t make people visit your site to have to take another action once they get there. Get to the ‘why’ right away, and have a link that takes them directly to where they can do the action you enticed them to take.

Design matters.

Once you have your 2-5 words and the right click-through link, you’re going to want to create that button on the page. Here are some quick design tips:

  • Use a font that is easy to read.
  • Make the button a color that stands out. Successful choices are green, orange, or a contrasting color to everything else on the page.
  • Use an icon (like an arrow or a download button) to visualize the action they should take.
  • It should look enticing and be obvious that it’s clickable.
  • Squint your eyes and make sure it’s the first thing that jumps out at you when you look at that section of the page.

Put your call to action in a place that makes sense.

When it comes to button placement, you’ll find arguments on both sides of the “above the fold or not above the fold?” debate. The answer comes down to what works best with your page.

If you need to explain what the product is before you encourage someone to buy it, you may need to place your button after the text explaining the product. If you’re promoting content with a clear-cut headline, maybe you would benefit from a sticky bar at the top of the page with a call to action. Think about what someone will be doing on your page and put the button where it makes sense. If all else fails, don’t be afraid to do some testing to see how people use your site and are led to take the action.

As marketers, we’re called on to focus our efforts on conversions. Get more conversion-driving tips by downloading Enhancing Digital Marketing ROI with PR Content & Metrics. This free guide explores how to influence purchasing decisions earlier in the marketing process by fostering collaboration between digital, demand and PR.

Jaimee Bruening is a manager, online services for MultiVu/PR Newswire. Find her on LinkedIn or Twitter at @JBru14.

2 Comments on Blog Post Title

­ Anusha 00:39 EDT on Aug 20, 2016

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­ Richard Male 11:37 EDT on Aug 24, 2016

Very nice article, exactly what I needed. Thanks, Jaimee Bruening

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