The iconic “I Want You” poster was part of America’s recruitment effort during World Wars I and II, and now, decades later, it still serves as an incredible example of marketing’s power to inspire action.

Today’s marketers have a much easier task than the U.S. military during wartime, focused on sending people to a web page instead of boot camp. But the correlation between a strong call to action (CTA) and an enthusiastic response is evident in both cases.

There are several keys to crafting an effective call to action, but we’ve selected our top 5 – one for each branch of the military, in honor of those who bravely fought for our freedom!

  1. Learn the rules of engagement.
    Boring copy is the enemy of engagement. For instance, words like “submit” and “enter” don’t do much to rouse excitement. On the other hand, CTAs that start with strong action verbs like “learn,” “discover,” and “download” tend to be more effective – and the word “free” is a crowd-pleaser, too! Just be sure that your CTA links to a webpage that delivers the promised content.
  2. Don’t camouflage your CTA button.
    While it may seem like a trivial decision, a CTA button’s color must be strategic. Research shows that buttons that stand out are most likely to get clicked. So, a red button on a predominantly blue webpage far outperforms the same exact red button on a page that already features a lot of red. Also, adding bevels or shadows elevates CTAs from boring to button-like. In fact, one study found that simply making CTAs look like actual buttons boosted clicks by 45%!
  3. Think red, white and BOLD.
    A CTA button’s copy should be short, with the words displayed in a bold, easy-to-read font. Trying to cram too much copy onto the button is a big mistake, one that could cost you valuable clicks and conversions. Aside from being concise, copy should be written in the first person (“my” instead of “your”). Sound insignificant? One study reported a remarkable 90% increase in clicks for button copy written in first person vs. second!
  4. Create a sense of urgency.
    Make consumers feel as though they’ll miss out on an incredible deal if they don’t click RIGHT NOW. This principle is used frequently in marketing – and with good reason! One case study saw a 27% revenue boost by adding “urgent language” to their web page. Think of phrases like, “Last chance!” or “Only 2 days left!”
  5. Test your tactic – then adjust your plan of attack accordingly.
    A/B testing allows marketers to accurately assess a CTA’s effectiveness. To perform it, two versions are created, with only one variable changed at a time (button color, shape, location, copy, etc). The two versions then go head to head to determine which gets more clicks.

Roger that?

If you’d like to learn more about M2’s philosophy on CTAs and digital marketing, get in touch! Email or call 843.856.7322. We’d love to dazzle you with a few samples of our work – just don’t exhaust all your “oohs” and “aahs” on Fourth of July fireworks!