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Four tips for stronger calls to action

By ZoomInsights staff

Most marketers know the basics of creating an effective call to action (CTA) in digital campaigns. Things like:

  • Stating clearly what the respondent will get
  • Making it stand out from surrounding content
  • Placing it where it will be seen easily
  • Using a strong verb (like "read, download, sign up," etc.)
  • Making it relevant to surrounding content
  • Using language that also appears on the landing page

But how do you go to the next level and make your CTAs even more effective? Here are a few tips:

Timing is everything

Beware of asking for a commitment of any kind too early in a relationship. A CTA that reads something like "Apply Now" or "Sign Up Now" might be premature in the body of an email message. "It's like asking someone out on a date before you know his or her first name," writes Carolyn Nye, Email Marketing Manager for USAData. In an article on the Practical eCommerce website, Nye explains that instead of scaring away readers who are not yet ready to make a commitment, you should direct them to an effective landing page where they can learn more. That landing page is the place for a CTA that requires more of a commitment.

Link early, link often

While it's wise to avoid competing calls to action, you can certainly provide more than one path to the same landing page. Don't limit yourself to a single CTA at the very top or end of a message. Add links to headlines, logos, brand names, product images and text in the body of your copy. "The more opportunities you give subscribers to click, the more likely they'll click," points out Mitch Lapides, president of FulcrumTech, in his blog. "We add links to a variety of places in our clients' emails, and you'd be amazed where people click, even if it's not obvious that it's a link."

A Kevlar vest for your CTA

Because most professionals read their email on mobile devices, old school email design is making a comeback, according to Nye. She states that many email marketers now use text-based buttons, including plain-text links and links with a background color that look like images (but aren't). These button lookalikes are known as "bulletproof buttons," because they work when images won't. Such techniques "allow you to display an effective call to action even if recipients have not loaded the images in their email clients," Nye explains.

Numbers count!

A statistic can make your CTA more powerful. "When people are on the Web, they are looking for specificity," HubSpot's Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella said. He was quoted in HubSpot's ebook, "An Introduction to Effective Calls to Action," in which author Maggie Georgieva suggests, "If the goal of your call-to-action is to grow your email database, you can invite people to subscribe by informing them of the number of recipients you currently have. If you are promoting an ebook or a whitepaper, you might want to mention its length (number of pages)." In an article on MarketingProfs, Tara Horner advises using statistics like the number of customers you've served or results from customer satisfaction surveys. As she put it, "If you can convince prospects that they are in a minority who have yet to be wowed by your product, they will be more likely to purchase."

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Call the right people to action

Once you've perfected the call to action in a marketing email, you'll want to make sure the right people see it. That means sending your message to a highly-targeted audience. ZoomInfo Data Services can help you do that, with detailed, up-to-date profiles of more than 50 million business people and five million companies. Learn more about how ZoomInfo can help beef up your marketing database.