Whether you’re crafting an ad, writing email copy, or polishing up a blog post, your ultimate goal is likely to drive sales, leads, and revenue. Right?
And the best way to do that? A powerful call to action (CTA).
Without a powerful call to action, your marketing campaigns can’t convert readers or visitors into subscribers, leads, customers, or evangelists (or super fans).
They get it.
In this guide, I’ll share everything you need to know about creating CTAs for your website, blog content, ads, and more!
Table of contents
- What a call to action is
- How a call to action works
- Call to action best practices
- Call to action power words
- 50 powerful call-to-action phrases
- How to choose the right CTA phrase
Let’s get started!
What is a call to action?
Calls to action, also known as CTAs, are short blurbs of sales copy offering something of value (e.g., an ebook, quiz results, a discount, or a free trial) in exchange for personal information, such as an email. Basically, they’re the phrases meant to drive a user to take a specific action.
Here’s an example from a small business boutique.
How does a call to action work?
Businesses run marketing—whether it’s in the form of ads, website copy, or educational blog posts—to connect with potential customers and drive them to take an action.
Sure, it’s great for searchers to see your ad or click on your website, but once they do that, you want them to take that next step. And that’s unlikely to happen immediately—especially without some type of prompting from your business.
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Businesses can better leverage their traffic by capturing readers’ personal information. This enables companies to 1) customize their content to each reader, 2) reach them on an owned channel like email, and 3) begin to sell to them.
Once a person submits their information, they’ve indicated an interest in your business and have entered your sales funnel.
Businesses capture this personal information through a call to action.
CTAs play different roles based on where they are in your funnel:
- Top of funnel (TOFU) call-to-action phrases are featured in paid ads, social media channels, and blog content
- Middle of funnel (MOFU) call-to-action phrases can be found in email newsletters, pop-ups, and landing pages
- Bottom of funnel (BOFU) call-to-action phrases are typically placed on product pages and contact pages
For example, here’s a pop-up offering a free template to LOCALiQ site visitors. The call to action here is “Get the template.” This pop-up appeared after I clicked around the site for a few minutes—behavior that indicated to LOCALiQ that I may be interested in sharing my email for some free content.
Call to action best practices
The most compelling call-to-action phrase is one that grabs the attention of your audience (more on that below).
However, there are several best practices to consider when creating your CTAs.
- CTAs sell. Don’t skimp on or speed through the copywriting process when developing your call-to-action phrases.
- Your call to action isn’t limited to the CTA button text. Leverage the context around the CTA to help encourage visitors to click. Consider the pop-up example above and how the paragraph before the button is part of the whole call to action.
- Write as you and your audience would talk. Your call to action should be a friendly ask, not a foreign request.
- A CTA works best when focusing on the value proposition that you’re offering. Include the benefits of your offer, not just the features.
- Good call-to-action phrases are three to four words—and easy to remember. Be as concise as possible.
- Design matters—make sure your CTA stands out and attracts attention.
- Consider using trigger words that connect to your audience’s goals or priorities and inspire action.
Call to action power words
Depending on the nature of your offer and the priorities of your audience, certain power or action words may help your CTAs convert better.
Here are some power words organized by emotion or reader motivation:
|Greed||Speed/Laziness||Sense of Urgency||Trust|
50 powerful call-to-action phrases
Let’s look at 50 effective call-to-action phrases you can use throughout your digital marketing funnel. I’ve organized these phrases (including real-life examples!) in a few different buckets depending on the goal of your call to action (click to skip to the section you’re most interested in, or read through them all!):
- To get email list subscribers (TOFU and MOFU)
- To encourage downloads or engagement with gated assets (TOFU and MOFU)
- To offer discounts (MOFU)
- To get free trial signups (MOFU and BOFU)
- To make sales or get customers (BOFU)
To get email list subscribers
1. “Sign me up”
2. “Subscribe to weekly information about all things career growth”
3. “Join 1,000+ industry experts who subscribe to my newsletter”
4. “Be a part of our exclusive subscriber list”
5. “Get early alerts for new products and sales”
6. “Join 1.5M subscribers…Get access”
7. “Sign up now and don’t miss another update”
8. “Unlock dozens of discounts as a subscriber”
9. “I’m in”
10. “Join my email list to learn about new freelance and full-time content writing, refreshing, editing, and strategy opportunities” (Get more tips to build an email list here!)
To encourage downloads or engagement with gated assets
11. “Download this template and learn our success secrets for free ”
12. “Grab our limited edition checklist”
13. “Get our ultimate guide in your inbox in minutes”
14. “Write better emails with our free email marketing course”
15. “Get more customers the easy way…Download guide”
16. “Get your free copy now”
17. “Drop your email, and get our best content marketing course”
18. “Yes, I want to learn how to sell real estate!”
19. “Show me my assessment results”
20. “Game-changing advice from founders who have made millions…Watch for free”
Related: Get more tips to drive action by using direct response copywriting tactics.
To offer discounts or special offers
21. “Claim your exclusive offer”
22. “Access the limited time offer today”
23. “Get 20% off—just for signing up for email and text”
24. “Refer a friend, and you both get $25”
25. “Become a member for 20% off your next purchase”
26. “Get 15% off your first order”
27. “We’re giving you 35% off! Click here”
28. “Take $10 off”
29. “Buy two, get one free through Friday!”
30. “Unlock $5 off your offer”
To get free trial signups
31. “Get started for free today”
32. “Start a free trial in minutes”
33. “Don’t take our word for it—try it yourself”
34. “Try Ghost completely free for 14 days”
35. “Test it out now”
36. “Join free for one month”
37. “Start free trial”
38. “Start your free trial—no strings attached”
39. “Try before you buy”
40. “Create a FREE event website…Get started in less than 30 seconds”
To make sales or get customers
41. “Grab one today”
42. “Buy now to enjoy cleaner, fresher skin today”
43. “Request a free demo today”
44. “Shop now”
45. “Book a no-pressure call with Sales”
46. “Compare our pricing with competitors”
47. “Request a quote”
48. “Let’s talk”
49. “Add to cart”
50. “Get a free strategy call”
How to choose the right call to action phrase
I’ve just shared 50 powerful call-to-action phrases. Some, I’ve pulled from personal experience, and I’ve featured some real-life call-to-action examples.
As you read through this list, you may have decided to use a handful of CTA phrases in your own marketing campaigns. By all means, please do! That’s why we’ve created this guide.
However, what you prefer as a business owner or marketer may not resonate with your audience. As marketers, it’s easy to bypass our readers’ preferences in favor of what we like or think sounds good.
But the best CTA phrases resonate with your audience; otherwise, they’re practically pointless.
The easiest way to determine what works for your audience is by testing different CTAs. Run an A/B test on your call to action button, or simply use one phrase for a set period of time, swap it with another, and compare the results. The better conversion rate wins.
I’ve provided plenty of potential CTAs below to help you get started. But don’t stop there—be sure to pay attention to what your audience likes, too!
Start testing these 50 powerful call-to-action phrases today
Call-to-action phrases are the most impactful way to turn website visitors and readers into customers. Without CTAs, your digital content won’t have a chance to boost your bottom line.
Try some of these 50 powerful call-to-action phrases on your website, but don’t forget to test a few with your audience. Once your call to action is optimized and approved, you can watch the new customers roll in.