Have you ever experienced this: You’ve just been told to write a convincing copy along with an irresistible call-to-action (CTA) and you can’t think of anything?

I have and it’s super frustrating because the more you think, the more frustrated you get because you can’t think of anything.

Writer's-block

We’ve all experienced some kind of writer’s block and no matter what the purpose of the writing is, you get annoyed because you want to create something that gets you the results you want and that everyone else is expecting.

Lead capture forms are no exception. Even though they don’t require much text, the text they do have is even more important.

The same goes for your call-to-action. Whether it’s a button or a small sentence, it’s what will ultimately convince your visitors to take your desired action.

We want to help you get out of that writer’s block and inspire you to create the best and most irresistible CTAs that will convert your visitors in a jiffy. Thus, this post will be packed with tangible tips, tricks, and hacks to optimize your CTAs to the max.

We’ll even throw in a bunch of CTA templates ready to use for any purpose.

Grab your pen or keyboard and start taking notes!

Need some inspiration?

Uncovering inspiration for high-converting calls-to-action is a time-consuming activity (I should know—this post took 12+ hours to research).

To save you time, I’ve included a swipe file with 16 of my favorite calls-to-action so you can begin optimizing your pages right away (#5 is my favorite).

Free Downloadable Bonus
Get access to our personal swipe file of high-converting calls-to-action and start converting abandoning visitors into subscribers.

Optimize your calls-to-action for higher conversion

Before you start thinking about what to write in your CTA, you need to define the purpose and goal of your message.

Maybe you’re interested in capturing leads? Getting more customers? Getting more traffic? Whatever the purpose of your message is, your CTA must support that purpose.

Furthermore, your CTA should always be short and precise. No one wants to read a full page on why they should become your next customer. A single sentence can easily do the trick if you put some thought into it.

Take for instance this example from Manpacks. The purpose is clearly to convert visitors into customers.

Manpack

It doesn’t get more simple than this. “The Best Men’s Essentials” tells visitors exactly what the product is supported by the background image and that they can expect a high quality.

The CTA button says “Shop now”. Again, in just two words Manpacks tell their visitors what to do. They should buy the product, and they should do it immediately.

Let’s take another example. If you’re looking to collect leads for your email list and you offer your visitors something in return for their email address, you should focus on the “what’s in it for me?”

An example of this could be if you’re offering a discount in return for visitors’ email addresses.

floyd-2

So what’s great about the CTAs in this optin form from Floyd?

First of all, the headline is super enticing. It includes the word “discount”, a number, and a dollar sign. These three things combined makes a great CTA, because it tells visitors exactly what they will get in just one simple sentence.

People love discounts and money, so if you’re offering a discount, you should always include the word discount and the value of the discount in your headline which is the initial CTA.

But wait, there’s more!

They’ve also included a simple CTA sentence where they tell visitors that the condition of getting the discount is that they’ll be signed up for the newsletter.

Lastly, there’s a simple CTA button that has the purpose of giving people the final push to get them to sign up. The CTA here is super simple yet again, and it focuses solely on the value which is the discount.

When you write the text for your CTA button in an optin form or other places where you offer people something in exchange for their email address, it should always tell them what they can expect when they click it.

What I normally see, are countless of CTA buttons that read “Subscribe” or “Sign up”.

I can’t emphasize this enough:

Don’t do it! It’s not a good CTA and it doesn’t tell your visitors anything except that they will be subscribed to your newsletter.

People already receive so many emails daily, so why try to convert them by offering them to “sign up” to yet another one.

I know the end goal is the same and that they’ll all be subscribed to your newsletter if they accept your offer. However, you can increase conversion by a lot if you instead focus on the value of your offer like Floyd has done in the above example.

Takeaways

  • Define your goal and purpose before writing.
  • Your CTA should always be short and precise.
  • It should support your overall purpose and message.
  • Focus on the value in your offer – “What’s in it for me?”
  • It needs to tell people what to expect when they click through.
  • Don’t ever write “Subscribe” or “Sign up. Be creative!

How to make your calls-to-action look the part

When it comes to the formatting of your CTA, such as colors, fonts, and sizes, there really is no best way to do it. However, I do have a few best practices for you to help you get started if you don’t have any experience with it.

First, let’s talk colors.

The color of your CTA must always stand out from the background it appears on. Why?

Because if you use a background photo that has some of the same colors as the text color you use, the text will be unreadable.

I know this might seem obvious, but I’m telling you because I keep seeing examples of colors blending together, making the text partially or completely unreadable.

If you use a CTA button on your website or in your optin forms, you should try experimenting with different bright colors.

On our website, we use the color #00b2e2 which is a bright blue.

CTA-color-sleeknote

As you can see we use it on all our CTA buttons. Both in our top menu and in optins. We chose this color because it matches our website design, and it’s still bright enough to stand out from the other content. And finally, it was the color that performed best of the ones we tested.

I’m not saying that this color will work for all websites. It’s very individual, and it depends entirely on the design of your website and what your audience responds best to.

One study found that a red button converted 34% better than a green button with the exact same text.

CTA-split-test

The argument here was that people were inclined to click the red button because it’s “forbidden”. How many times have you wanted to do something even more because you were told you couldn’t do it?

Red is apparently the color of the “forbidden” button, which makes people want to click it more (at least in this study).

Red-button

Bottom line:

You should always test different colors to see which works best on your site, and for your specific purpose.

Moving on to the fonts and sizes.

I would always recommend using the same font throughout your website. Consistency is a sign of control and expertise, and even though it may seem like an insignificant detail, imagine what you would think if you entered a website and the fonts were different on each site?

It wouldn’t make a very good impression on you, right?

With that said, you should choose a font that’s both simple and easy to read. It can be tempting to choose a font that’s fun and unique, but if people can’t read it, you won’t get any conversions.

So what about the size?

In this case, size does matter. Your headline CTA should always be bigger than the rest of the text. It’s there to catch your visitor’s attention so it has to stand out from the rest of the text.

But be careful!

You don’t want the text to be out of proportion with the rest of the content. Again, this is all about testing. Test different text sizes to determine which gets the highest number of conversions.

The same goes for the size of your CTA button. It has to be proportioned to the content in which it appears. Some might be tempted to make it bigger because they think people will see it more clearly. Instead, I would recommend going for an eye-catching background color to make it stand out.

Takeaways

  • The color of your CTA should stand out from the background.
  • Test different button colors to see which converts best.
  • Use simple and readable fonts, and make it consistent throughout your entire website.
  • Text and button sizes need to be proportioned to the rest of the content.

Discover why Campaign Monitor and 900+ businesses are using Sleeknote to turn more visitors into customers (the reason might surprise you). Learn more

How to write high-converting copy

Now it’s time to get creative!

I know how sometimes you feel like all creativity has left your body, and all you’re left with is a big bag of nothing.

But worry not!

I’m here to help you through that writer’s block and get you started writing simple but creative and high-converting CTAs.

When I say it’s time to be creative, my point is that your CTA should be unique and interesting.

People notice unique and creative and that’s exactly what we want them to – notice your CTA and act on it.

So how can you be unique in a sea of CTAs?

One thing I was taught from a very early age, was to have humor (credit goes to my mom and dad here). Humor makes everything seem less daunting, and it draws us in.

Your CTAs are no exception. You should try to use humor when convincing people to sign up for your newsletter.

A great example is this one:

sad-popup-1

The headline is immediately attention drawing because it says “No one likes pop-ups” and it’s presented in a popup. This makes you wonder why it is presented in a popup if no one likes them and intrigued to read the rest of the content.

I also really like the first sentence below the headline because it plays along with the headline.

This is, however, where my fascination ends. The rest of the text gives me no indication of what emails I can expect to receive and why I would want to receive them. It actually gets quite boring because I was expecting something more fun and interesting after the awesome introduction.

Here’s what they should’ve done:

Give a sneak peek into what their emails are about and why they are awesome. For instance, if I was to do the same with our Sleeknote newsletter, it would look something like this:

sad-popup

But there’s a catch…

Humor is not for everyone. If you decide to use humor in your CTAs you need to ensure that it is appropriate for your business.

As with everything else, I would always run a few split tests to see if it’s something your audience responds positively to.

CTA templates

Now to the fun part!

I promised you a bunch of templates and I always keep my promises.

So here goes…

Competitions

When writing CTAs for competitions, it’s all about focusing on that awesome prize you have up for grabs.

It goes without saying that your prize should, of course, be relevant to your business and your products.

Products:

Headline: Win a pair of Nike Free!

Text: Join our newsletter packed with the newest fitness trends and offers, and enter the competition to win a brand new pair of Nike Free. We’ll notify the winner on email on the [end date of competition].

CTA button: Win Nike Free!

Headline: Want to win the popular Sony speaker?

Text: Sign up for great offers and weekly hits, and get a chance to win the popular Sony speaker. The competition ends on [date], and we’ll notify the lucky winner by email.

CTA button: Yes – I want to win!

Headline: The brand new Apple watch could be yours for free!

Text: We’ve put 5 Apple watches up for grabs this week. To get your hands on one, simply subscribe to our Apple news and offers, and you’ll be in the running to become a new Apple watch owner. We’ll send you the result directly in your inbox on [date].

CTA button: I want the new Apple watch!

Gift certificates:

Headline: Win a $300 gift certificate!

Text: Subscribe to new offers, exclusive deals, and fashion news, and enter the competition to win a $300 gift certificate to spend on any products in our shop. Competition ends on [date], and the winner will be notified by email.

CTA button: Win gift certificate!

Headline: Win products worth $300!

Text: Now you have a chance to get your hands on your favorite items for free! Sign up for exclusive deals and news, and enter the competition to win a $300 gift certificate. We’ll draw a winner on [date and time], and you’ll be notified directly in your inbox.

CTA button: I want to win $300 worth of products!

Headline: $300 gift certificate up for grabs today!

Text: We’re giving away a $300 gift certificate to one lucky newsletter subscriber today. Enter your name and email below, and we’ll notify you by email at [time] to let you know if you’re our lucky winner.

CTA button: Yes – I’m in it to win it!

Travel:

Headline: Win a romantic trip to Paris for 2.

Text: Want to take the love of your life on a romantic trip to Paris for a week? Sign up for exclusive travel deals, and maybe you and your special someone will be on a plane to Paris soon. The competition ends on [date and time], and the winner will be directly notified by email.

CTA button: I want a romantic trip to Paris!

Headline: Go on your dream adventure for free!

Text: Sign up for our newsletter, and you’ll get a chance to win one of our $5000 adventures. You’ll be notified directly in your inbox on [date and time].

CTA button: I want to win a $5000 adventure!

Headline: Want your next family trip to be free?

Text: We’re now offering an all-inclusive trip to Italy for one lucky family. Join our newsletter, and you’ll automatically enter the competition to win a free trip to Italy. The winner is announced on [date and time] by email.

CTA button: Win a free trip to Italy!

Discounts

Everybody loves a good discount. Along with competitions, discounts are the most commonly used incentive for e-commerce.

Offering discounts towards your products is a great idea because you get people to buy your products with the discount, which still generates profit for your business.

But there’s a catch…

If you offer too large discounts and too often, people will come to expect this from you and not buy your products at full price. So keep that in mind when you want to offer discounts as your incentive.

Now, here are the templates for discounts.

Percentages:

Headline: 10% discount today only!

Text: We’re now offering a 10% discount to new members, so sign up today and receive your discount code straight in your inbox.

CTA button: Get my 10% discount now!

Headline: Save 10% on your favorite item today!

Text: You now have the chance to get 10% off your favorite item in the shop. Sign up for our newsletter now, and get the discount immediately in your inbox.

CTA button: Save 10% now!

Headline: Want to get 10% off your next purchase?

Text: Sign up for exclusive insights and get 10% off your next purchase. We’ll send the discount code to your inbox immediately.

CTA button: Yes – I want 10% off!

Money:

Headline: Get $20 off any item in the shop today!

Text: Exclusive offer for new newsletter signups! Enter your name and email below, and we’ll send you the $20 discount immediately.

CTA button: Send me the $20 discount!

Headline: $20 Discount!

Text: Get your $20 discount by signing up for exclusive insights and offers. The discount can be used on any item in the shop.

CTA button: Give me the $20 discount!

Headline: Want to save $20 on your purchase today?

Text: Sign up for our newsletter and get a $20 voucher sent straight to your inbox to use on your purchase today.

CTA button: Yay – send me the discount!

3 for 2:

More for less – yet another way to increase sales and gather tons of leads in the process. People are more likely to spend a little extra when they know they get something extra in return.

When you offer a 3 for 2 discount, the cheapest item should, of course, be the free one. So for instance, if you run an online make-up store, you can offer the 3 for 2 on all Maybelline products.

This will increase your basket size and you’ll get a bunch of leads as well. Here’s what you say:

Headline: Get 3 Maybelline products for the price of 2!

Text: When you sign up for our newsletter today, we’ll send you a unique discount code that’ll make your 3rd Maybelline product completely free.

CTA button: Get 3 for 2 discount!

Headline: Buy 2 – get 1 free!

Text: Exclusive offer for new subscribers. Enter your email below, and we’ll send you a discount code to get your 3rd item for FREE!

CTA button: Yes – I want a FREE item!

Headline: 3 for 2 special!

Text: Sign up for our exclusive offers, and get your 3 for 2 discount code sent to your inbox immediately.

CTA button: Send me the 3 for 2 discount code!

Quizzes

Quizzes are not as common as competitions and discounts, but they are super effective.

There are so many online quizzes you can take that will either tell you something about yourself, such as “Which Breaking Bad character are you?”, or test your knowledge on a certain topic – “How much do you really know about Friends?”

As humans, we’re very curious by nature, and we love a good challenge. This is why quizzes can work wonders in lead generation.

The key to generating leads through quizzes is to collect emails before you give people their answer. Here are my CTA suggestions for lead generation with quizzes.

Travel

Headline: What is your spirit city?

Text: Ready to find out what your spirit city is? Enter your email below and we’ll send you straight to your answer.

CTA button: Tell me what my spirit city is!

Fashion

Headline: Which style icon are you?

Text: We’ve got your result! Enter your email and see which top style icon you are. We’ll even send you a discount code so you can buy even more fabulous clothes.

CTA button: See my answer and send me the discount!

Sports

Headline: Want to add 15-30 yards to your golf stroke?

Text: We’ve analyzed your answers and are now ready to tell you how you add 15-30 yards to your stroke. Fill in the form, and get the tutorial video sent to your inbox.

CTA button: Send me the video now!

Free tool

Offering people a free tool that can help them overcome an obstacle can really increase your number of subscribers significantly.

We’re always on the lookout for easy solutions and quick fixes, which is why developing a free tool that’s relevant to your products can be so efficient.

Kitchenware store

Headline: Get our recipe calculator for FREE!

Text: With our new calculator, you can enter the ingredients and the number of people to serve, and the calculator will tell you exactly how much you need of everything. Just enter your email below, and we’ll send it to you right away.

CTA button: Get free calculator now!

SaaS business

Headline: Limited time offer – FREE keyword monitoring tool!

Text: Exclusive offer for new subscribers today only. Enter your email and name, and get your hands on our keyword monitoring tool for free.

CTA button: Send me the FREE keyword monitoring tool!

Skiing equipment

Headline: Want to get your hands on our new ski tracker for free?

Text: The ski tracker tracks your speed, slope steepness, duration, kilometers, and much more. Get the ski tracker for free today by signing up for our newsletter.

CTA button: Yes – I want the FREE ski tracker!

Resource library

Your resource library is a gold mine waiting to be explored and used. It contains a lot of information that could prove very valuable to your audience.

Headline: Exclusive look into our resources!

Text: Sign up for our newsletter and get access to our ENTIRE resource library for free! It contains all the tools we use daily, our favorite articles, and loads of email templates for any occasion.

CTA button: I want access to the resource library!

Headline: Get your hands on all of our resources for free!

Text: You now have the opportunity to get unlimited access to all of our resources so you don’t have to spend time researching. All it takes is your email address, and we’ll send you the link to our resource library.

CTA button: Send me the link now!

Headline: Want our entire resource library for free?

Text: Save loads of time researching tools, articles, etc. and get your hands on our resource library all for free. Simply enter your email address below and you’ll have unlimited access to all our favorite tools and strategies for e-commerce.

CTA button: Yes – I want the resource library for free!

EBook

If done right, eBooks can provide tons of value to your audience. Establish yourself as an expert in your field, and write an eBook including all of your best tips, tricks, and learnings.

You can then use your eBook to collect plenty of leads on any platform you want.

I personally love Michael Hyatt’s eBook and his CTA so I wanted to show you that one first.

Michael-Hyatt

Once you click the CTA button, this optin form appears.

Michael-Hyatt-2

Yes, there’s a lot of text in this optin which I would reduce to make it seem less overwhelming. However, notice this sentence: “You can’t buy Shave 10 Hours Off Your Workweek. There’s only one way to get it – by subscribing to my free email newsletter.”

It makes the eBook seem that much more exclusive and all I really want is to get my hands on it after reading this.

The eBook itself also provides a lot of value, because who doesn’t want to shave time off their work and spend more time with family and friends?

Moving on… Here are a few more templates for you.

Sports

Headline: Want to improve your football skills?

Text: Get our brand new “How to become a better football player in 4 weeks” eBook, and rise to the top of the leaderboard. The eBook is exclusive to our newsletter subscribers, so all you have to do is enter your email address below, and we’ll send it to you immediately.

CTA button: Yes – I want to improve!

Lead generation

Headline: Want to grow your email list?

Text: In this eBook, we’ve gathered 101 ways to grow your email list, so you never have to worry about coming up with new ideas. Get your hands on the free eBook by signing up for exclusive insights and hacks from leading e-commerce experts.

CTA button: Grow my email list today!

Health

Headline: Looking to become healthier in the new year?

Text: Get our exclusive new recipe eBook filled with inspiring healthy dishes that will make eating healthy the easiest thing in the world. Subscribe to our newsletter and the eBook is yours.

CTA button: I want to be healthier – send me the recipes!

Social proof

Social proof doesn’t have the same firepower as it did 3-4 years ago.

So why use it?

Social proof can still be very effective when used along with other incentives. Just be careful not to contradict yourself by saying something like: “Join the 3076 other subscribers and be the first to know about XX”.

They’re obviously not the first to know when 3076 other people get the exact same email at the exact same time.

Here are some examples of how I would use social proof.

Headline: 10% off your first purchase!

Text: Join the 4235 people who already receive great offers and insights, and get your 10% discount today.

CTA button: Join and get the discount!

Headline: Brand new Apple Macbook Pro up for grabs!

Text: Join the 945 other businesses who use [your product], and enter the competition to win the brand new Apple Macbook Pro.

CTA button: Yes – I want to join and win!

Headline: Ready for your next running adventure?

Text: Don’t miss out on the chance to participate in our half marathon on the [date]. 5439 people have already signed up so hurry up if you want to claim your spot. Sign up through our newsletter and get a 10% discount on your ticket.

CTA button: Send me the discount code!

Email course

If you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field, you can benefit a lot from doing email courses.

Email courses are a series of emails where you share your knowledge on a certain topic, and help participants overcome a problem.

Besides creating the email course itself, the most important thing is to promote it and get people to sign up for it.

Here are some examples of how you can do that.

Saas business

Headline: Learn how to skyrocket sales with very little effort!

Text: We’re now offering a free email course where we share our experiences and give you the tools to skyrocket your sales in no time.

CTA button: Get free email course now!

Pet store

Headline: Take control over your dog today!

Text: With our new free email course, we’ll send you training videos to show you how you become the pack leader and regain control of your home today. Sign up for our email course now.

CTA button: Regain control now!

Hobby store

Headline: Want to improve your knitting skills?

Text: Sign up for our new email course where you’ll get the how-tos for knitting your best work yet, along with new sewing pattern all for free.

CTA button: I want to improve my knitting today!

Loyalty program

A loyalty program is a very effective method of customer retention. When you reward your customers, they will keep coming back as long as your program has value. An example of a very successful loyalty program is Starbucks. Starbucks has a reward system, where you get points each time you buy something. When you have a certain amount of points, you get a reward which would typically be a free drink.

Your loyalty program should, of course, be related to your products and have the purpose of increasing sales and retaining customers.

Headline: Get 50 points for free!

Text: If you sign up for our loyalty program today, you get 50 points for free to get you started. Simply enter your name and email below, and your points will be added within minutes.

CTA button: Get 50 free points!

Headline: Collect points and redeem rewards!

Text: Why not collect points every time you buy something? Join our loyalty program, and use your points to redeem awesome rewards and great offers.

CTA button: Yes – I want to earn rewards!

Headline: Want a free gift today + on your Birthday?

Text: Sign up for our loyalty club today and get a free gift. As a member of our exclusive loyalty club, you also get a free gift on your birthday, along with exclusive event invites, offers, and much more.

CTA button: Get free gift now!

Charity

Getting people to subscribe to your charity newsletter doesn’t just get people engaged with your business, it also increases chances of these subscribers stepping up and donating or volunteering when you need them to.

Here’s how you can convince people to subscribe to your charity newsletter.

Headline: 3 hours = food for 28 children!

Text: We need your help on the [date]. Give 3 hours of your time, and help save more children from starvation. Enter your email below to sign up, and we’ll send you the details.

CTA button: Become a collector and save children!

Headline: Follow the lives of everyday heroes!

Text: Sign up for our newsletter and follow the lives of our volunteers who risk everything to help others. We offer weekly insights and amazing stories from all around the world.

CTA button: Yes – send me insights!

Headline: $10 a month saves 1 child a day!

Text: Help us save the world one child at a time. Donate $10 a month and you’ll secure the lives of hundreds of children. Just enter your email and we’ll send you the details directly in your inbox.

CTA button: Donate and help save the world!

Need some inspiration?

Uncovering inspiration for high-converting calls-to-action is a time-consuming activity (I should know—this post took 12+ hours to research).

To save you time, I’ve included a swipe file with 16 of my favorite calls-to-action so you can begin optimizing your pages right away (#5 is my favorite).

Free Downloadable Bonus
Get access to our personal swipe file of high-converting calls-to-action and start converting abandoning visitors into subscribers.

Wrap up

Writing the perfect CTA can be very challenging and it all depends on your business, your product, and your message.

I hope this post has given you some inspiration to get you out of that writer’s block and begin to convert your visitors like a true pro.

Remember that the most important thing in writing an effective CTA is to answer the “what’s in it for me” question.

Now I want to hear from all of you. What are the worst and best CTAs you’ve seen? Share in the comments below, and let’s learn from each other.

Rikke Thomsen
Rikke is Head of Email Marketing here at Sleeknote. Her expertise lies within copywriting, content marketing, and email marketing. When she’s not busy wearing down the keys on her keyboard, she loves getting creative in the kitchen, binging on Netflix series, and skiing in the Alps.

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  1. I love the gif’s!

    Thank you for a helpful post and all the inspiring templates. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    • Rikke Thomsen

      Thanks Johan. Really glad you like it 🙂

      Reply
  2. Great stuff. Very helpful.

    Reply
    • Rikke Thomsen

      Thanks Harris. I appreciate your kind words 🙂

      Reply
  3. Great post Rikke. Very comprehensive. Really clear and lots of templates. Will use it as a reference at daily work. Thanks a lot

    Reply
    • Rikke Thomsen

      Great to hear Mario 🙂

      Reply
  4. Great post Rikkie!
    Love the gifs 🙂
    Will be saving this as a ref

    Reply
    • Rikke Thomsen

      Thanks so much Amanda. I’m a big fan of GIF’s myself. They just make everything more fun i think.

      Reply
  5. There’s a typo in the first creative 🙂

    Reply
    • Sam Thomas Davies

      Thanks for the heads up, Ramona 🙂

      Reply
  6. Great Stuff.

    Reply
    • Rikke Thomsen

      Thanks Uday 😊

      Reply
  7. I got more lessons in just one lesson than I have reading for days on other sites. Now I need to go and apply it to all my posted emails so I can real in the monetizing. I have left too much on the table that should have been in my bank account. Thank You Rikke, you’re awesome.

    Reply
  8. Rikke Thomsen

    Hi Randy,

    Thanks! Great to hear that you learned so much. And good luck with everything 🙂

    Reply
  9. You give a lot of information and I love how your blog is not boring but fun and shares great tips Thank you

    Reply
  10. Rikke Thomsen

    Thanks Anna. I’m glad you like it. We always try to make our content fun to read and full of concrete take aways.

    Reply

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