How Effective Are Your Website Call-to-Actions (CTAs)?

How effective are your website call-to-actions (CTAs)? If you don’t know the answer with certainty, you could be missing out big time on reaching your lead-gen and digital marketing goals.

In today’s digitally-driven B2B environment—one where customers do almost all of their research and brand interaction online—your website CTAs serve as the gateway to your sales funnel, and can make or break the level of user engagement and the number of lead conversions you experience.

In this article, we’ll break down how to create CTAs that grab your audience’s attention and drive them toward the next action you want them to take in their customer journey, accelerating their path to sales engagement and final purchase.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Website call-to-actions prompt users to take a specified action in your sales process.
  • Common types of website CTAs include “sign up,” “learn more,” “download,” and “get started.”
  • Good CTAs have clear and concise wording, and they use active (never passive) language.
  • Visually-designed CTAs earn significantly higher click-through rates than text-only versions.
  • Pro tips for optimizing CTAs include A/B testing, optimizing for mobile, aligning CTAs with the stages of the buyer journey, and personalizing when possible.

What is a Website Call-to-Action?

By definition, a website call-to-action is a prompt on your website that urges users to take a specified action. CTAs serve as a guide for visitors toward the next step in their journey with your brand. Its purpose is manifold: to drive conversions, capture leads, and direct users towards valuable content or offerings that build engagement.

There are several types of website CTAs, each tailored to elicit a particular response. These include:

  • Sign Up: This CTA nudges visitors to register for a service, offering, or subscription, typically redirecting to a form.
  • Learn More: A subtler approach, this CTA leads users to more in-depth information about a topic, product, or service, providing further clarity and insight.
  • Download: Often placed alongside valuable resources like e-books, whitepapers, or software trials, this CTA prompts users to obtain a digital product, frequently in exchange for their contact details.
  • Get Started: An enticing CTA that suggests a beginning, it’s commonly used to invite users to start a free trial or explore a platform’s features.
  • Contact Us: Aimed at fostering direct communication, this CTA typically leads to a contact form or provides details for getting in touch with a company.
  • Shop Now/Buy Now: A direct sales approach, mainly used by e-commerce sites or businesses with tangible products, encouraging immediate purchase.

Understanding the types and purposes of different website call-to-actions is important so that you can align the CTAs you use with the actions you want users to take and with your larger sales process.

We’ll use our own website as an example. As you can see below boxed in red, we have two primary CTAs on our website homepage: “Contact Us” and “Get Started.” Both CTAs lead customers to a page where they can fill out a form to contact our team—RevBoss’s most valuable resource for demoing our product and highlighting its value. Our primary goal is to drive direct, human-to-human interaction.

Screenshot of the RevBoss homepage highlighting its two website call-to-actions

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This isn’t the case for every organization. Others focus more on driving free trial signups, or content downloads, or email subscriptions. The right website call-to-action depends on a number of factors like your business model, sales process, available resources, and more.

The good news is that CTA effectiveness is less about using a particular phrase or type of CTA, and more about how it’s executed in relation to your larger strategy. Let’s explore this in more detail.

Signs of an Effective Website CTA

Crafting an effective website CTA is both an art and a science. Here are the hallmarks of CTAs that not only catch the eye but also drive action:

Clear and Concise Wording

An effective CTA doesn’t beat around the bush. It tells users exactly what they’ll get if they click. Whether it’s “Download Your Guide” or “Start Your Free Trial,” the message is straightforward, leaving no room for ambiguity. CTAs resonate best with an audience and incite immediate action most when they use direct and simple language.

Visually Striking Design

A well-designed CTA stands out without clashing with the overall website design. It employs contrasting colors, an inviting shape, and perhaps even a touch of animation to draw attention. While it needs to be conspicuous, it shouldn’t be jarring or off-putting. Balance is key.

Website call-to-actions with this type of design—one that goes beyond text with either a button or other visual design—earn exponentially higher click-through rates (CTRs) than text-only CTAs.

Bar chart showing that button and visually-designed website call-to-actions earn significantly higher CTRs than text-only CTAs

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Relevance to the Surrounding Content

Context is crucial. A CTA for a product demo will feel out of place on a blog post about company culture. Website call-to-actions should be natural extensions of the surrounding content, providing a logical next step for users who are engaged and want more.

Positioned Strategically on the Page

Placement can make or break a CTA’s effectiveness. Whether it’s above the fold for immediate visibility, at the end of a compelling article, or floating as a persistent element, its location should be based on user behavior and the webpage’s intent. A good rule of thumb to follow is putting important CTAs above the fold, or before users have to scroll.

Tips to Optimize Your Website Call-to-Action

    1. A/B Test Your Website CTAs

    One of the most reliable ways to determine what resonates with your audience is through A/B testing. Create two versions of a CTA with variations in text, design, or placement. Monitor their performance over a set period. The one with higher conversions reveals what your audience prefers. Regularly testing and tweaking can lead to continuous improvement.

      2. Use Action-Oriented Verbs

      Passive language doesn’t inspire action. Opt for compelling, verb-centric phrases like “Get Started,” “Discover More,” or “Grab Your Copy.” These proactive verbs urge users to take immediate steps, making them more likely to engage.

      The use of active language—or power words, as some call it—can double website CTA engagement.

      Pie chart showing that the use of power words in CTAs can double engagement

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        3. Consider the User Journey and Intent

        Different visitors are at various stages of the buying journey. Tailor your CTAs to match their intent. Someone reading an introductory blog might appreciate a “Learn More” CTA, while a visitor on a product page might be ready for a “Request a Demo.”

          4. Personalize Based on User Behavior or Segmentation

          Personalized CTAs can dramatically increase engagement as well. For example: If a user has previously downloaded an ebook, you can offer them a related webinar. Leverage user data and analytics to segment your audience and serve CTAs that resonate with their specific interests or past behaviors.

            5. Optimize for Mobile

            In today’s mobile-centric world, website CTAs must be easily visible and clickable on smaller screens, and they should load quickly on any device. Today, more than a third of B2B professionals say they consume content on their phones, so having mobile-optimized CTAs isn’t just a nice-to-have anymore, it’s essential to reliably win over competitors.

            Bar chart showing B2B buyers’ preferred content channels, including that 34% use their phones

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            Optimizing website call-to-actions using these strategies ensures that they’re more than just another element of your website, but real action drivers that make an impact on your lead generation and sales numbers.

            Over to You

            If there’s one thing about website call-to-actions to keep in mind, it’s this: CTAs are supposed to be intentional tools used to drive users to the next step in a larger process. They aren’t placeholders, and they aren’t something you can just drop onto your site and forget about.

            Your website CTAs should be aligned with your audience and brand, tested frequently, and continually improved to keep your sales pipeline flowing and your target audience engaged at every turn.

            Looking to enhance your larger B2B outbound sales strategy? The RevBoss team can help. Our services and platform are custom-built for startups, SaaS companies, agencies, and other high-growth B2B organizations. Schedule a quick call with us today to learn more and get started.