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According to Google dictionary, a call to action is:

  • an exhortation or stimulus to do something in order to achieve an aim or deal with a problem.
  • “he ended his speech with a call to action”
  • (in advertising material) a piece of content intended to induce a viewer, reader, or listener to perform a specific act, typically taking the form of an instruction or directive (e.g. buy now or click here ).

So your CTA is extremely powerful, get it wrong and you risk losing lots of potential leads.

Check out our 10 mistakes to avoid not getting the most out of yours!

1.Using friction words:

Friction words in copy are words that suggest the reader needs to work to get what they want.

It will put customers off having to do something else during their busy day, rather than wanting to do something during their busy day

Words to avoid

words to avoid

Words to be careful of

medium friction

Words that prompt conversions

low friction

(source: impactbnd.com)

2.Multiple click points

Too much choice distracts from your message. Look at this wonderful example from VWO with great results…

Not only is there too much choice here, but there is also a complete conflict of message. They are trying to entice readers to download a FREE trial, and are also signalling that they must Buy Now which is confusing and negative.


3.No obvious click point

If you want people to click through to your product, tell them where they can do it!

In the example below, Hobbs states how to get to their site with a clear “Shop now” link, but the other two brands have an ambiguous CTA that requires the reader to figure out for themselves that they should click the advert.  Not a great look!

click point

4.Long copy

If you want to give away your new E-book in exchange for a lead’s information, then teaser copy that entices the reader to download the full content will work a lot better than long format copy, that gives away most of the book!  

Not only that, but too many words can become overwhelming to someone who does not have time to read through it all right away.

Looking at the CTA below, the content is simply too overwhelming. It would benefit from short and snappy copy (as well as a more contrasting colour text and a shorted form. Of course, the benefits of short, punchy copy need to be weighed up against the SEO benefits of long tail content.  Overcome this by ensuring your page content is hierarchically structured, and breaking up your content into bite size chucks, with repeated CTA’s used throughout the content.

long copy

5.Bad colour choice

The whole point of a CTA is to get noticed and get clicked! If you are not careful about your choice of colour, important parts of your CTA could get lost.

colour choice

In the example above, the button to get to the ladies sale items (which is where I want to be!) is white, on a very light background colour… it’s not terrible, but it doesn’t stand out as much as it could, especially when compared to the big red square “Sale Starts Online Today” graphic.

6.Being too vague

This is my favourite example of being vague from a great CTA article by conversionxl.com

too vague

Join the adventure? but I’ve only come on to this site for coffee – I don’t want an adventure, I’ve got a mortgage to pay and I just want coffee beans!

This example has all the makings of a great CTA, however, if they make that button a bit more descriptive like: ‘join the adventure with Verve coffee’ it would encourage more reaction.

7.Complicated forms

This is a time to chill you form beans. I know you want all the information on your lead, however, patience is a virtue…

All you actually need at first is an email and a name, you can then build from there by giving our more amazing free stuff in exchange for a little more information each time (known as progressive profiling).

Would you rather fill out A or B?

Option A:

form a

Option B:

Call to action

Top tip… if your form builder allows, turn on ‘back-filling’ which will auto-populate the field information you already have on the lead. You look super helpful and your lead doesn’t have to do much at all, making them more likely to fill out all of your forms

8.No benefits

If you forget to add in the benefits of clicking your CTA, it will be much less effective.

For example, which of the below would you find more clickable, if you wanted the new ‘help yourself win’ ebook?

  • Download the ebook
  • Get your FREE ebook and change your life today!

9.Not being obvious enough

Where you place your CTA will have a big impact on its effectiveness. Not only do you need to consider what page/email you place it on, but also the position of it on that page/email!

In summary, here is what we can take away about CTA placement (borrowed from an excellent research article courtesy of wpmudev):

  • Always consider the AIDA (Attention – Interest – Desire – Action) before inserting any CTA into your page.
  • It’s okay to place it above the fold if you’ve created a “mini experience” that provides all the information your visitors need to make a decision there.
  • It’s okay to place it below the fold if you’ve created a story that your visitors feel invested in and will want to follow all the way to the bottom.
  • You can also place the CTA below the fold so long as you use directional cues to guide visitors to it.
  • Mobile users prefer to do less scrolling, though only if you’ve provided all the relevant details they need in the decision-making process up top.
  • Fitt’s Law says that if you want your visitors to engage with something on your site, it needs to occur within their page. That’s why it’s best to follow the natural flow of your users’ eyes from top to bottom and left to right. “

10.Not testing what works

You can read articles on CTA’s until you are blue in the face, but the only way you are going to find out what works best for you is to test different styles

Just sticking to one style might be working, but is it working enough? It is the best one for your product?

So there we have it, our Top 10 CTA mistakes you need to avoid!

If you enjoyed this article, we have loads more in our blog 🙂

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