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A CTA (Call to Action) is a prompt that guides an audience towards a desired response (action), often in marketing and sales. CTAs are one part of an overall CRO (conversion rate optimization) strategy, and a CTA is a highly efficient form of sales because you often have to work with only a few sentences or even words to get someone to respond in a way that you want. The “action” in “CTA” can be anything from purchasing, clicking, or offering their contact information.

In fact, we can view CTAs, more informally, as simple extensions of offers we make and accept each day. The mother offers her son a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He can say “yes” or reject the sandwich altogether. We can offer someone a free consultation or brake check. The stop sign asks you to take the action of stopping. You can blow through the stop sign or make a complete stop. These are all calls to action. How someone responds to CTAs depends on many factors.


Before we consider any aspect of CTAs, we need to be clear that the CTA is much more than just some text on a button. It is more helpful to use one to a few sentences when making a CTA. In this light, we’re working with much more than “sign up.” A full CTA would be something like, “Do you want to keep more money as a dentist? Sign up here.”

Once we have this concept of CTAs in our mind we can move to four critical parts of every CTA.


Like with all aspects of your marketing and selling, you must know your audience and its pain points. Knowing these two key areas helps you to be more specific with your CTAs and informs your messaging.

As you are crafting your CTA think about your audience and what type of communication they like. Think of the major pain points you are offering to solve for. This forms the base of your CTA.


In general, “clarity over creativity” should be top of mind with every CTA. There must be clarity in both the offer and in the action an audience should take. Removing confusion is a prerequisite to a great CTA.

Always assess the burden you are putting on the audience with your CTA and adjust accordingly. The greater the ask, the greater the evidence/offer needs to be in addition to the time that must be taken before the offer by both parties involved, the party offering and the party acting.

With these four main factors out of the way, let’s look at a few good CTAs.


Below are examples of CTAs that one might consider ideal, particularly to a targeted audience.

Eat the most delicious food in the world as much as you want while building muscle and losing body fat, while at the same time rejuvenating organs and your overall health by ten years. Simply click here.

Receive Millions of Dollars Free. Simply say, Yes! (In person event)

Cure your cancer immediately by drinking one vial of liquid each day for two days. 100% guaranteed. Delivered to your home with free 1-day shipping. Simply press the button and enter your delivery info. That is all!

A woman’s bathroom sign (to an 8-month pregnant woman who has just gotten off of a long flight).

Most targeted audiences would find these CTAs quite desirable, but in the digital age, we’re more and more skeptical. If the offer of the CTA is too good, you may need to actually convince the customer that your offer is legit. “Priming”/“presuasion” with a potential audience is a critical component of CTAs and CRO in general, but not the focus of this article.

What is it that makes these CTAs particularly effective?


A good CTA has two strong main components: what the person receives (offer) and how it is presented to them (communication). We can A/B test these components and experiment with each of these until we dial in our CTAs. How can we improve these two components?


An offer is “what” an audience will get when they take action and commit. There are many ways you can emphasize the desirable qualities of your offer, and this subject matter could span the length of a book. Within the context of CTAs, here are the 8 main qualities of a good CTA offer: value, effortlessness, focus, authority, timing, time/scarcity, personalization/relevance, and psychological considerations. This is not necessarily a conclusive list, but these are great options to start with.

Your offer should be…


VALUABLE (have an Immediate Benefit/Pain relief/Usability)

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Send Email your Customers Can’t Ignore.

Sign up for our newsletter. [GENERIC BUT CLEAR]

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Simply push the button for help.

Raise your hand if you have a question.

Simply type your name to receive your free gift in your inbox immediately.

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Discover how to start making extra money — in as little as an hour.

Send Email your Customers Can’t Ignore.

Do you want to earn more money in your job? Yes or No.

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When would you have 20 minutes so I can share a few other warning signs your company can look for to prevent the recent medical problems I’ve seen in the last five businesses I’ve visited?

Sign up for limitless chocolate!

Get our stuff.



Accept the challenge of the basketball course that Michael Jordan has called, “The most effective basketball course I have ever seen by far.”

Implement the marketing software used by every single fortune-500 company. Are you getting left behind?

Read the magazine that 10 out of 10 of the richest people on earth read monthly.



Get popcorn before the movie for 50% off.

50% off pizza! After a long day at work with nothing in the fridge.

Will you marry me (after one date)? [NOT GOOD]

Sign up for the best dating site (two days after someone’s spouse died)! [NOT GOOD]

A person tries to kiss someone handing them their coffee at Starbucks. [ILLEGAL]



Your opportunity expires in 24 hours.

Offer is good until September 7, 2018.

First come, first serve (average time until they’re sold out is 45 minutes).

Reserve your spot before we close enrollment for exactly one year.



Your golf swing resembles Charles Barkley’s, but we’re here to change all that fast.

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Show me my heat map.

Create my resume.

I want to…1) Grow my traffic 2) Coach my clients

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Don’t click on this button!

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Plan your dream vacation before you wake up.


When you have an offer that is relevant and framed in a persuasive manner, you’re going to get way more people taking action. Focus on matching the 4 pillars of CTAs (audience, audience pain points, clarity, and the burden you are placing on them) with these 8 approaches to offers.


Presenting your offer is just as important as the offer itself. You are in theory limited to the way in which you present your CTA. For example, there are basically 6 grammatical structures in English: statement (declaration, exclamation, personal address), question, command, and symbols. Each of these sentence types can be broken down into specific types as well, for example, tag-question (You’re not procrastinating, are you?), but within these different structures, there are certain ways to organize your language. We give 9 examples below.

But first, we can demonstrate the differences between structure and offer with a few examples.

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In all of these examples, we emphasize value in the offer, but we do it with 3 different structures. Your audience, product, and creativity will determine which choice you should take in your structure.

Now, examine 9 main structural examples below.



Do you know your earning potential?

Where should I send your free download?

Do you want to earn more money in your job?

What is keeping you poor?



Lose weight and gain muscle the right way. No, I prefer my flab, and it’s too difficult to change.

I want to…1) Grow my traffic 2) Coach my clients



Your golf swing resembles Charles Barkley’s, but we’re here to change all that fast.

So, your girlfriend left you. Find out how to find your perfect match by taking this scientifically verified quiz. Takes less than two minutes.



Snag/Grab/Seize/Score/Gain X Now!/Activate

Find out/discover what that one thing was that Meatloaf wouldn’t do. Hint: it involved chocolate.

Add, reserve, start, magnify, 10x your…



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The 7 ways your company is losing business to smaller companies.



How to, where to, why you need to, who to…



The fast, cheap way I started my online business.

The case of the missing sock.



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This mother of ten found out something she didn’t expect.

The fastest way to pay debt is…

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Having this framework will allow you to test and track your CTAs to see what your audience prefers. This should then allow you to gradually improve the amount of customers you can sell to.

Start with knowing your audience, understanding your audience’s pain points, make your CTA crystal clear, accurately gauge the burden you’re putting on your audience in your ask, craft a compelling CTA offer, and experiment with different CTA structures.

This is just one component of your CRO strategy, but it is a critical one.