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March 12, 2019
You’ve probably had the experience of scrolling through someone’s website– probably a fellow creative– whose design and overall vibe you love. But then a dreaded pop-up crosses your screen inviting you to do something lukewarm like sign up for the newsletter.
While many sites have moved away from statements like these in lieu of something sassier like get it, gurl! or hand me the freebies! But when you try these strategies on your own site, you feel salesy and uncomfortable. You’ve tried being sassy but that’s not really your tone even though it works well for others in your niche.
While there is a lot more to writing website copy than those little buttons inviting you to take action, you shouldn’t underestimate their power. Whether you’re just starting to write your website or just frustrated that you’re not getting leads to your email list, here’s how you can personalize your calls-to-action (or CTAs!) for maximum engagement.
The upside of taking a good, hard look at your CTAs first is that they are the shortest copy elements on your whole site. Instead of biting off a huge chunk of your website, why not start with the place where readers decide to take action? Plus, when you start with button copy, you don’t have to delve into complicated concepts like SEO. All you need to do when writing CTAs is think about what you want your reader to do.
When writing your website, you should be the one who understands most what you have to offer. What is unique about your service and how can you communicate that to ideal clients? Figuring this out can consist of taking a look at the competitors, but most importantly, you should also be mind-mapping and taking notes on what you want readers or buyers to get out of the experience.
When you have a paid offer you can create scarcity with CTAs. If your offer is only available for this price at a limited time, that can double as a CTA or at least accompany the button copy.
The very best CTAs use active verbs like get, start, save, or discover. Words like these make readers want to take the action. If you can make someone feel like they’re checking off an item on their to-do list by taking the action, even better.
Some other great examples are I’m Ready, Get Started Now, or Heck Yeah! It’s also great if you can write the button as if your ideal client is saying it back to you. Examples like Yes, I’m Ready! or Let’s Do This! feel fun for readers who feel like they’re being heard.
Hubspot has several great examples from major brands to show you how to apply these concepts. Pretty much all of them integrate great design and strong copy– the CTA dream team! Among my favorites is Netflix’s CTA, which invites you to join free for 1 month. There’s some serious value! Prezi’s CTA invites you to give Prezi a try, showing us that calls-to-action don’t have to be complicated or overly sassy to work.
You can also think about what surrounds the CTA to best determine what your button copy will say. Will you include a countdown timer to increase urgency? Or will you build up scarcity by stating that there is a limited quantity? Either of these strategies can help you narrow down the words that will appear on the button itself.
In general, try to avoid words like “subscribe” on your calls-to-action. As a smaller creative business, you have the opportunity to show off your personality and creatives typically won’t respond well to these words.
And if you’re feeling like you don’t know what would excite your audience, poll them. Asking what they want to see, whether you do that on social media, in Facebook groups, or by sending out an email to your subscribers, will help you narrow down the language you should be using!
Although it might feel that everyone has already cracked the code on writing CTAs, there’s still an opportunity to be creative. If these examples don’t feel like you, try dipping into your copy bank. Do you say something like Let’s Collab on a regular basis? If so, it might be a fun way to get your readers to take action.
Although it might feel intimidating, CTAs don’t have to be difficult!
Needing a more customized approach to writing your calls-to-action? Take the call-to-action style quiz to find out what your brand voice personality is plus some customized button copy to help you get started. We’d love to hear your results in the comments below!
Kayla Dean is a website copywriter, content writer, and creative writer helping visual creatives strengthen their brands through words. When she’s not working, you’ll find her marking a book as “Currently Reading” on Goodreads or planning her next adventure.
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