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Learning Inbound Marketing: 5 Call to Action Best Practices

By May 7, 2015May 5th, 2023Uncategorized

Welcome back to our Learning Inbound Marketing series.  In my last post we defined 43 must know inbound terms for beginners, In this post we are going to talk about Call-to-Action’s or CTA’s.

In basic terms a CTA is a button or link that you place on your webpage that customers can click on in order to receive an offer. CTA’s can be used to generate leads for social sharing, lead nurturing, event promotion, closing sales and don’t forget delighting your customers. The trick is to create a CTA that not only entices your prospective customer to click on it but to also fill out the related form on the landing page.


The number of options on how to create your CTA are as endless as your imagination, but, there are several call to action best practices that will help ensure that your CTA’s receive the click-thrus that you want.

Make Your Offer Relevant

Relevant?  Relevant to what you may ask. When you create a CTA it should be in line with your webpage’s content and in turn where your customer is on their buyer’s journey. For example if your company sells tires to large corporations you may write a blog post entitled ‘How To Ensure Tire Safety For Your Fleet.’  A relevant CTA may be a downlable 21 point commercial tire safety checklist. On the other hand a non-relevant CTA for this same blog post may be a pamphlet about why your company’s tires are the best around.  Relevent offers will be geared to the right person at the right time. And just a word of caution as important as a relevant offer is making sure your CTA verbiage is easy to understand is just as vital.  So just make sure to state in simple terms exactly what the visitor is going to get if they click on the CTA then make sure to deliver when they fill out the related form.

Size (and shape) Matter

Think of your CTA as a digital version of a real life button, for example a doorbell.   We all identify the doorbell as being clickable (action) and that when you click it there is a corresponding result. Although clickable buttons are circular ‘in  real life.’ In the digital world the most common and well responded to shapes are recutangular with rounded corners. When it comes to size the best advice  I have to offer is not to make it too small because it may be overlooked, and don’t make it too large because the visitor may not understand that it is clickable. Now remember just because a medium sized, rectangular CTA works for most companies don’t be afraid to experiment with difrerent sizes and shapes to see which one gets your customers clicking.

Make Them Take Action!

The goal of a CTA is to get visitors to take the next step. So make sure you are using action verbs like “Download” or “Register” on your CTA button.  You may ask which action oriented verb should I use?  Well the answer is, it depends on your offer.  If you are promoting an event using words like REGISTER or SIGN UP may work best.  For  promoting an ebook you may want to use words like DOWNLOAD or GET IT NOW.   Here are a list of just a few action oriented words that will help promote your  CTA.

    • Click Here
    • Download Now
    • Immediate Download
    • Join Now
    • Get It Now
    • Free Trial
    • Join Now
    • Start Now

Visual Appeal

When it comes to your CTA, looks do matter. It is easy to get lost in the  psychology of color and how different shades can invoke different emotions. That, along with the possible number of color combinations, gradients, shadows, fonts, borers images and so on are so infite that your head might spin, so to make it easy on yourself and follow these simple rules.

  • Color is best although there is a place for black and white.
  • It needs to stand out from the background.
  • It shouldn’t clash with the background.
  • It needs to grab your attention.

To find out if a color grabs your attention, simply create a variety of buttons and do the glance test. Which one is most noticeable? Which one stands out the most? Which one do you look at first?

Location, location, location

You’ve got your relevant offer, appropriate action word, it’s the right color and the right size so  where on your webpage should your CTA go so people will find and click it? Knee jerk reaction is to put your CTA above the folld. Now, if that naturally fits in with your content then great, but don’t force it to go above the fold just because you think you ‘have to.’  CTA’s should go in an easy to find spot that follows organically from the flow of the webpage.  For example, if you’ve written engaging blog content then your visitor will naturally read it to the end, where your CTA will be located.  Now I’m not that saying that it should never go above the fold, many times it may be exactly what you need.  What I want to stress is that you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with different locations to see which gets you the most click thrus.

Now that you have your 5 CTA best practices it’s time to convert those visitors into leads.  But before we go remember don’t be afraid to experiment and when all else fails, test and then test again! Test placement, color, style, text – if you can think of it, you should test it!


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Larry Levenson

Larry is passionate about inbound marketing and is a HubSpot Certified Trainer. He's learned the "secrets" of leveraging HubSpot to make marketing hyper-effective and customizes that information to help our clients meet their goals. Larry lives in Prescott, AZ, and when not at work, he is hiking or hanging out with teenagers as a volunteer with Boys to Men USA.