Home » Business, Coupons, Innovative ideas, Marketing, Nuts & Bolts, Sales, Simply Sarah, Tips From The Entreprenette Handbook, Websites

What is your call to action?

16 August 2011 7 CommentsBy Sarah Shaw

What is your call to action?

The first time someone asked me this, I looked at them like they were from Mars.  I seriously had no idea what they were talking about and this was only about 3 or 4 years ago.  After getting over my embarrassment, I got really excited about it and implemented one on my Simply Sarah website – Join our list, Get 25% off instantly.  Can I share how thrilled I was when we started to get a flood of orders using that discount code – it was about 7 per week – it was amazing. Once I got into it, I really understood the power of a good call to action.

Whether you are selling a product or a service, figuring out what will get your target market to buy from you is the key to success right?  This awesome list of suggestions from my Entreprenette experts covers ideas from free samples, try-it-out-samplers, discounts, how-to articles, and specific language to get someone to click now.

Post a screen shot of your call to action on my Facebook page!

1. Testimonials Get Users to Buy

My call to action is: I give away promotional codes to influential bloggers and magazine editors. I encourage them to download my product, test it and then write a review. Play with it. Spin through the slideshow, leave a comment or share a great photo with a friend. Even better take it with you to your local yarn store and shop. That's when it's most useful. You can pull up the yarn you're considering buying to see the pros/cons of that yarn. Those pros and cons alone could save you a lot of money and heartache.
Thanks to: Mary Beth Klatt of Yarn U iPhone/iPad App.

2. Book it Baby!

My call to action is: When I send a copy of my book along with a max of two sheets of info: one on the book and one on my speaking I get by far the best response. I consider my book the best business card ever and by sending it I also have a great reason to follow up with them later to make sure they received their 'free' gift of a signed copy. If they did not receive it I also offer to resend another copy!

Thanks to: Darla Arni.

3. Big Orange Button

My call to action is: I've personally seen the best conversion rate on a website using a BOB - Big Orange Button. Orange is an attention-grabbing color much like red but doesn't have the same subliminal "stop" connotations to it that red does. A big, clickable "Get Started" button is your best bet to grab a visitor's attention and convert them into a customer.
Thanks to: Tony Adams of Electricians of Dallas.

4. The gift of Baker's Dozens

My call to action is: I think discounting lowers the perceived value of the product. Adding an additional item to an order feels more like a gift. Plus... (and most important) it doesn't reduce the amount of the purchase like a discount does.
Thanks to: Robin Brown Davis of innerSpirit Rattles.

5. Discount Does it

My call to action is: Offering a discount does it for me. I offer a discount and a free report for signing up for my mailing list. I suspect that the discount is probably more the draw than the free report.
Thanks to: Bola Ajumobbi of Slimy Bookworm.

6. Convey a Sense of Urgency!

My call to action is: Compelling ad messaging is a huge competitive advantage and can have a tremendous impact on advertising performance. To capture your target customer, I recommend utilizing messaging that conveys a strong “sense of urgency” around the timeline to buy a product or service, or to get the best savings (use competitive price points and percentages off regular price).
Thanks to: Anna Hutson of Formic Media, Inc..

7. With our compliments...

My call to action is: Anytime you are offering a "free" service - remember to describe it as "complimentary" instead. No one works for free! By Supplying your customers with a complimentary book, consult or DVD is perfectly acceptable.

It is far more gracious to give compliments than freebies!
Thanks to: Rebecca Maguire of Maguire Media Group.

8. Knowledge is Power

My call to action is: Give away knowledge and you'll have fans forever. Make it as simple as possible: one click to download a PDF report, whitepaper, or newsletter. Your potential clients will remember your generosity!
Thanks to: Laurel Sutton of Catchword.

9. Charge a Small Fee

My call to action is: If you run a service business, you will inevitably run into competitors who offer "Free Consultations" on their site as a way of generating leads. Instead of following their model and generating potentially low-quality leads from people looking for something free, make it clear in your call to action that a small service fee comes with any consultations. This leads to higher quality leads from people willing to pay a little more and saves you time and gas.
Thanks to: Pam Pennington of Foundation Repair DFW.

10. Time Sensitive Works Wonders

My call to action is: Ever notice how every infomercial on late night television uses the "Call in the next 10 minutes and receive half off" approach in their call to action? Do the same thing with your website! By making your call to action time sensitive, you stand out from 99% of the competition immediately and create a sense of urgency that more people will react to, beyond a standard "Call Now" button or banner.
Thanks to: Terry Jones of C&J Roof Repair.

11. Having A Professional Website!

My call to action is: My ONE best tip about "What Is My Best Call To Action On My Website" is doing interviews on T.V. and or radio to talk about my ministry and my products. In this same process, I get the opportunity to plug my website which draws a lot of attention. The reason is because people tend to want to find out more information about me and what I have to offer. What assists in customers buying my products is making sure that my website is professional, easy to navigate and provides credible social proof.
Thanks to: Kevin Benton of Kevin Benton Ministries.

12. Share the Wealth!

My call to action is: The best way for people to "buy from you" is to "buy into you."
Give them your best stuff!Let your prospects see you shine--in newsletters,PR,sales calls,in the media,as guest experts, and in person. That includes talking on the phone and meeting for the first time face to face. Everything you do (or have done)is part of your brand. Testimonials, feedback from colleagues, even your image on social media. Show your best self and have others talk about you the same way. Success is sure to happen.
Thanks to: Robin Samora of Let's Make You Shine.

13. Ship for Free!

My call to action is: I give free US shipping to all of my customers who order from my website. This is what everyone tells me they love about shopping with me. It allows them to spend a little more than they might normally since shipping is already included in the price!
Thanks to: Heather Niziolek of Goosie Girl Boutique.

14. Prove Yourself Up Front

My call to action is: In my experience offering a free piece of training, such as a webinar or access to a video or worksheet, works really well to engage potential customers. It's likely that most visitors to your website are not going to buy from you the first time they land there – they have to get to know you. If you can prove to them that you're the one they should be spending their money with by giving them helpful information at no charge, they will eventually become a customer, and be happy to refer you!
Thanks to: Eryn Willard of Inside Story Out.

15. calls to action

My call to action is: The first page the visitors see must immediately display what THEY want and what YOU want. They have to find the items and prices fast. You want them to place those orders. So don't make them hunt because they won't. There should also be a clear call to action and a reason for doing so. "Order today and get free shipping!" "Order today and save 10%!"
Thanks to: Izzy Goodman of Complete Computer Services.

16. Goodbye to Cold Calls

My call to action is: Want to simplify setting meetings with prospects & cut out cold calls?

With TimeTrade software you can put up a "Click to Schedule" button on your website and in your email messages-- to let customers pick a day & time of their own choosing for sales or service appointments. Much better than waiting on hold, standing in line at a store, enduring the headaches of cold calls and back & forth e-mail or voicemail tag to set a time to meet. Sales happen quicker & customers are happier.
Thanks to: Patrick Rafter of TimeTrade.

17. Money for Nothing!

My call to action is: In other words, your website visitors should not be spending money for anything to start. On your site, you need to focus on providing a call to action which delivers something of real value to your visitors for free, before they become customers. So if your call to action includes "100% free, no strings attached", that is a good start. This can be a for a free download, free giveaway, free content, or whatever. What matters is the call to action offers something of value for nothing in return.
Thanks to: Mike Sprouse.

18. Getting Readers to Response

My call to action is: My readers respond to calls of action when asked to contact local and state legislators, leave a comment, or click on a site. Their actions help change animal welfare laws, feed shelter pets, or raise awareness about important animal welfare issues. I often team up with larger organizations or businesses to promote these causes. My site focuses on promoting animal welfare, and my readers are generous with their time and willing to help. I do a lot of outreach on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Care2.
Thanks to: Michele Hollow of Pet News and Views.

19. Tempting Fruit

My call to action is: How to get potential customers to buy?How do you get kids to eat fruit?I believe if you discover simple things that make people feel comfortable, you get results. If you use fun signs, deals, games, contests, giveaways, events and promotions (get creative) you will attract people to your business or product! It's human nature to get excited, feel good and I believe if you can convey that, you will get results.BTW- I get my kids to eat fruits and veggies with creative bowls, utensils and signs!
Thanks to: Karin Caro of Blu Chip Marketing.

20. Call to Action Next to a Video

My call to action is: My conversion rate was awful, but then I changed my main page to follow the following advice: Your call to action should be a big bright button with actionable text on it & near it should be around 3 bullet points of benefit statements (not features). Then right next to the call to action & benefit statements should be a nice video explaining your site/service/product. You can use free programs like Jing & Camtasia to make your video. When I did this I saw a 40% improvement in conversions.
Thanks to: Pavan Katepalli of Bloggers Compete.

21. A Free Trial And Some Goodies

My call to action is: Our best call to auction is free trial membership to our website. We give every new member a three-day trial that gives them full access to all content on our website. They receive live and online government auction info, tutorials, videos and photos of live events, and much more. This trial is a good enough attention grabber that people activate this membership and stick around with us for at least another few months. In addition, we offer a free hotel stay certificate and gas saver guide.
Thanks to: Ian Aronovich of GovernmentAuctions.org.

22. Drive Action with Video

My call to action is: From my experience the most effective call to action is what we like to call "actionable video." We allow businesses to place targeted calls to action inside of their videos that are shared on websites, Facebook and Twitter. For example, the rap label Sky High Lab uses our platform to promote their merchandise business inside of their music videos or interviews that get shared by fans. After fans watch one of their videos on-site or off, they are given a special discount to buy a product.
Thanks to: Neil Joglekar of ReelSurfer.

23. Free Personal Trainer

My call to action is: Our best offer that helps make a decision to go ahead with our software is a complimentary "personal trainer" who will be providing guidance and advice through the product implementation. We warn our prospects that like any personal trainer in a gym, ours is going to push them. Just a bit, just to make sure they can step out of their comfort zone and achieve peak results. Our clients like the analogy and respond well, because product implementation and adoption is always one of key concerns.
Thanks to: Vadim Katcherovski of Easy Projects .NET.

24. Better than a free trial

My call to action is: It's a common practice to offer a free trial to give your potential customers the chance to see your product without risking their money. But what's just as important as offering a free trial is to put a deadline on it. People are incredibly good at procrastinating (I am!), so unless there's a deadline, there's a good chance most people won't even take a free trial. So at Impact Dialing, we offer a free trial that's only good for two weeks from the date they sign up.
Thanks to: Michael Kaiser-Nyman of Impact Dialing.

25. Give them a reason!

My call to action is: Social media is extremely powerful. We must establish ourselves on these sites and learn to operate them effectively although few people have mastered the art. A significant increase in followers often does result in an increase in sales. The conundrum is, how do we get more followers? Give people a reason. Invest in it! Offer a $25 Starbucks card to the first person who responds to a status. "Like us today & enter to win a free flat screen!" Odds are, one new client will outweigh the cost.
Thanks to: Samantha Kuchlik of CharitableYou of Blu Chip Marketing.

26. Want To Get Unstuck?

My call to action is: The best call to action is one that helps others get what they want...

Our company gives people access to a 30-minute video on how to live their vision-7 Simple Steps to put the law of attraction into action.

We then send 100 days of e-mail tips, videos, and invites to tele-seminars on how to achieve your vision in life.

We over-deliver easy to implement tips and strategies to help people live their life's vision.

Thanks to: Bonnie Bruderer of V.I.S.S. The Vision Board Training.

27. free trial / free product

My call to action is: At Post Planner, we offer a free version of our service to a not-so limited audience i.e. Facebook profile users who get to enjoy our app for free for an unlimited time.

On the other hand, we also offer a paid version of our service but still grant subscribers with a 30 days trial period to test the Pro version of our app.

In all cases, clients are invited to test for free our service so they get a concrete feel of the app's capabilities and added-value before they become paying users.
Thanks to: Julie CROS of Post Planner.

28. A bite from what they want

My call to action is: If you're an indoor golf facility, give your prospects free 9-holes of golf rather than a whitepaper discussing putting techniques. Your call-to-action incentive should be a product or service that is part of your core offering, so they get a taste of what you offer and come back for more. Instill a sense of urgency by making the freebie time-based or only available for the first x number of customers.
Thanks to: Reem El Shafaki of BlueStone Marketing.

29. Financial Growth is Good

My call to action is: We sell a service; part-time or interim Chief Financial Officer services.

As such, we use a tag line which is in itself a call to action; "Financial Growth is Good".

All businesses want financial growth, and together with "Let us help you grow" and "Let us be your Chief Financial Officer" we have our tie-in and bring the customer closer to understanding the need and benefits of our firm.
Thanks to: Wayne Spivak of SBA * Consulting, LTD.

30. The Call to Action Combo

My call to action is: Our most successful call to action so far is a combination of social proof and free cash incentive. We’ve added a live “actions powered to date” counter on our homepage and call to action buttons throughout the site offering $5 free credit upon signup. Our signups doubled the first month and continue to grow steadily. The counter helps build trust with first time visitors. It proves the popularity and effectiveness of Agendize conversion tools up front…. And who doesn’t love freebies?!
Thanks to: Nancy Essebag of Agendize.

31. Connecting, Then Selling...

My call to action is: A website entirely about selling something is mundane. We all want something more interesting. Our Blog is our #1 asset. We write about things we love, and answer questions about health, beauty and life experiences; which introduces and enhances our Brand. Women connecting with women over health & beauty rituals is ancient, and we want to be part of that experience. We also stay away from ridiculous S/H charges, which annoy us, so we know it'd annoy our customers. And everyone loves samples!

Thanks to: Melissa Picoli of BijaBody health+beauty.

32. Give Them What They Want!

My call to action is: Potential customer want something of value that they can use to make better business decisions. So we provide complimentary website ranking reports to our prospects. The complimentary report shows them where their website ranks for their top 5 competitive keywords. Once they request the report we can follow up via email with tips and strategies to help improve their ranking. This helps us establish trust and ultimately create a new customer.
Thanks to: Asya Rahim of einfusion Web Design.

33. Top Right Corner!

My call to action is: I work with clients in several different industries. I always try to think like a consumer, never like a marketer. Every call to action i feature needs to be easily seen - and the human eye goes top right every time! That's on an eBlast or website, etc. It also needs to have words that people are looking for. A hotel needs "Book Now" or "Best Rates Here", restaurants need "Reservations" or "Specials". And when in doubt, the words "free" or "win" work every single time.
Thanks to: Renee Cutaia of Hillgate Communications.

34. Read this button tip now.

My call to action is: Put a call to action inside the submit button on your landing page and use the word "now."

For example, instead of "Submit" or "Checkout," try "Buy Now" and "Act Now."

Put a little arrow pointing to the right.
Thanks to: Tadd Rosenfeld of TeamLauncher.com.

35. Give something away for free!

My call to action is: Visitors to my website see a "lightbox" with a special offer: the opportunity to download (for free) my Building Trust Assessment. The assessment allows visitors to discover 12 essential elements of trust building, identify their strengths and areas for development, build credibility as a leader, and create more effective teams. The assessment is powerful because it offers real value to visitors without cost, avoids the "hard sell," and gets them interested in my work. It's been effective!
Thanks to: Michael Brenner of IdeAgency.

36. Focus on What They Will Lose

My call to action is: Your customers don’t care what you have to give them – they care what they are losing. If your current approach (with what your customer will gain) is not working, you should consider what your customer will lose by not selecting your solution or by continuing to delay a decision? If she will gain $50,000 by working with you, what does she lose by waiting or not deciding? Isn’t that message more powerful? Wouldn’t it make you want to decide now?
Thanks to: Rhondalynn Korolak of Imagineering NOW.

37. Where to Play and How to Win

My call to action is: Spies are an army's most valuable weapon. Competitive intelligence about the enemy before going into battle minimizes the risk of loss and exponentially increase the chances for victory. Businesses invest time and resources without fully knowing what their competition is doing.

The Internet is today's battlefield for gaining consumer awareness,loyalty and retention. We know how to spy on your online competition & find out where they're strong and weak. Call for a Free Competitive Analysis
Thanks to: Marc Levin of WSI - Internet Marketing Management.

38. By offering Freebies

My call to action is: The freebies work the best for our company especially the free tools and e-books that we offer to our users. These tools not only help us getting some recognition in our target audience but also establish us an expert in our niche.
Thanks to: David Smith of Conversion Optimization.



  • Nancy E said:

    Good job Sarah :)
    I really like how you put together all this advice.
    We’re currently a/b testing our homepage call-to-action buttons.
    That can be an interesting topic for a future post. What do you think?

    Nancy E.

  • Michele C. Hollow said:

    Thanks Sarah,
    So many helpful tips. The trick is knowing your readers, so when you ask them to help, they always jump in.

  • Karin Caro said:

    Sarah, once again, you have produced an informative and helpful article. It is so amazing and interesting to get feedback from other professionals on the topics you post! I love how you do this! Thanks so much! Karin, #19

  • Reija said:

    Thank you Sarah! These tips are great! I need to pay more attention to my website and create a call to action plan.

  • Stephanie said:

    Excellent ! I’m right in the middle of creating my Call To Action offers and graphics…the tips here have given me some great ideas – and help a lot!
    thanks to all!

  • Melissa Wright said:

    An effective call to action is pretty important and these particular tips are simply AWESOME. Thank you for gathering all of this info, it’ll be really helpful to me in the coming months.

    I remember having to be very insistent on the importance of the word “now” in my last job’s calls to action. Want quick response? Make it sound super important.

  • DDHCashflow said:

    Just found your blog and it is great, you just made my bookmark!

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.