One of the most effective methods of generating sales through online content is a good call-to-action (CTA). In fact, more than effective, CTAs are often crucial stepping stones in the process of turning passive prospects into active clients.

If you’re new to the term, a CTA is essentially a desired course of action you would like a prospective client to take. It can be everything from “Call us today” to “Get yours whilst stocks last”. In short, if it’s asking someone to do something, it’s a CTA.

Crafting a good CTA (when to use one, where to put it, and what to say) is something of an art form. Luckily it’s an easy one to master. Read on to find out how.

Action verbs put the ‘action’ in call-to-action

Join. Learn. Free. Now. Save. Add an exclamation mark for added Pow. Simply put, action verbs propel us towards action. You’re directing behaviour. “Learn the ropes now” works better than “Begin by learning the ropes” because it’s more active. The latter implies that the learning isn’t going to take place right now but sometime in the future. And it sounds like there’s more effort involved.

Time incentives

“Hurry! Offer ends on Sunday!”

Sofa companies seem to have this one down to a fine art with their perennial ‘Sale ends soon’ sales. This naturally works best with products. One method that seems to be particularly effective (if not slightly intimidating) is actually displaying a timer counting down to the end of the sale.

By restricting an offer to a limited period of time, you’re encouraging people to act on it immediately.

Money back guarantees and free consultations

If a money back guarantee is something you offer, then make sure to flaunt it. People will feel much more comfortable purchasing a product or service if there is a safety net like this in place. It’s also an incredibly versatile CTA, as you can put it on anything and everything that you sell.

The same goes for free consultations. You’ll notice that at the end of quite a number of posts on the Red Square Design blog is some sort of variation of: “Get in touch for a free consultation”. The reason it features so often is because it doesn’t matter what the subject of the post is. As long as it’s loosely connected to graphic design, then a free consultation is always relevant to the material.

CTA + Content = Linked

CTAs that are relevant to the content they follow are essential. Otherwise no one will follow through with them. For example, if you’ve written a blog post about how to brew beer, it probably wouldn’t be very effective if your CTA was: “Download our free ebook on fish tank maintenance”. This one is simple enough. Just remember that the CTA should be a natural continuation from whatever content the user is engaging with.

Want to learn more about combining a strong call-to-action with great design in order to boost your marketing? Download a free copy of How Good Design Makes Marketing Sense now!