How to design a call-to-action that Actually converts

We’re huge fans of marketing with great content, but providing unique and thought-provoking content is only half the battle of inbound marketing. After you draw your readers in, you need to convert them into prospects.

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In order to provoke an immediate response, you must instruct the audience to do something. In other words, you must call them to action.

What is a Call-to-Action?

A call-to-action invites readers to take an obvious next step, while they're still galvanized by your content. A call-to-action (CTA) is an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of styles and sizes depending on your website design, and goal conversion.

One of the most effective inbound marketing tools, a CTA can be a button with actionable content, or it can be anchor text. Almost always presented during a conclusion, it invites readers to take an action and guides them towards more of what you have to offer.

A CTA takes advantage of your reader’s natural curiosity, and must be relevant and interesting enough to persuade visitors to take the next step and engage, usually by filling out a contact form.

The ultimate goal of a CTA is usually to collect data on potential prospects, and use that information to enter them into a sales funnel. The effectiveness of a CTA is measured by its conversion rate, or what percentage of visitors actually click on it. There are many elements to a great CTA, but a few are essential to gaining high conversion rates.

Stand Out

Different types of wording can be used to attract attention from qualified leads. CTA buttons and links should avoid a passive voice, and instead use action words such as "enter” or “download.”

The idea is to provide clear, unmistakable direction for your readers.

I’m sure you’ve seen most of these CTAs before:

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These CTAs work because they give the visitor something obvious to do. They aren’t long or complicated, and they work to grab the reader and convert.

Size is a key factor to making your CTA standout. CTA buttons are a great choice. If the button is too small, it will get lost on the page, but if it is too large, it will overpower everything.

The button should be big enough to stand out, without overpowering design.

Color scheme is another element to creating an attention-grabbing CTA button. Bright and contrasting colors will make your statement pop, and draw attention to the next step in the process.

No matter what color you choose, make sure it doesn't clash with the overall design of the site.

We recommend choosing a color or two to use for every CTA on your site and then keeping it consistent.

Find a color that complements your site aesthetic without blending in. Remember, your CTA should pop!


The aesthetic of the CTA itself isn’t everything, however. In order to build a truly effective inbound marketing CTA, keep these general rules in mind.

Simple Design: Sometimes CTAs stand out the most because of a lack of any other graphics or data. This is considered taking advantage of the negative space, and when graphics on the page are subtle, the CTA button really pops.

Brief: A CTA should never be more than 5 words.

Clarity: Make sure that the visitor knows exactly what they are clicking on, and what to expect. For example, “For more information,” is too ambiguous to direct the reader to any specific action, and may result in losing the prospect.

Visually Striking: The button should be the right size, color, and in some cases, a graphic rather than text.

Easy Location: Most readers only get through 60% of an article. Therefore, the CTA should always be located in an easy-to-find spot that organically follows the flow of the website. Users will not search for your offer.


In order to determine the CTAs that are working best for you, and have the highest conversion rates, you need to measure their levels of success. Sometimes it's only a matter of a few simple words that can seriously affect your conversion rates. For example, consider these alternatives to the phrase "Download this ebook":

Snag this ebook

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By continuously recreating the same message in different formats, you can test which terms and phrases work best on prospects. Practically every factor of your CTA can be tested to make sure it stands out and draws attention.

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The following are some ways to test the effectiveness of your CTAs:

Static vs. Motion: Do you want your call-to-action button in one place, or do you want it motion-based? Test both to see which one works better for your audience.

Different Copy: If you're experiencing a lull in leads, your copy might be stale. Test out different words to entice your readers into moving forward with the process, and pay attention to which ones work best.

Image vs. Text: Not all CTA buttons are images; hyperlinked text can be just as effective. That said, we tend to prefer button images. In order to know which works best on your site, we recommend a trial run of your options.

Ultimately, you’ll have to experiment to find the CTAs that work for your inbound strategy. Try to incorporate at least one CTA on every blog post and page; you’ll attract visitors with your content, and convert them into leads with your CTA.

Wondering what a great CTA looks like? Check out these 20 Call-To-Action Examples

When in doubt, simply consider what you would click on. As you browse the web, pay attention to which CTAs draw you in, and try to figure out why. While it may take time and lot of testing, an effective CTA is a critical component of any successful inbound marketing effort.

Looking to learn more about Calls-To-Action, or any other aspect of inbound marketing strategy? Get in touch for a free 20-minute consultation!

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