Best practices for call to action buttons

Usually, the finer details are what determine if an email marketing campaign is successful in turning subscribers into customers. Many designers have a tendency to get excited and get overly preoccupied with producing amazing designs that have stunning images and attractive typography. However, if you really want to nudge your subscribers towards taking the correct action when they read your email, there's a lot more to it than that.

Focusing on interactive components that encourage subscribers to take action, such as call-to-action (CTA) buttons, will help your business generate more leads and clients. However, it's one thing to create a compelling call-to-action button but quite another to convince people to click it. So, in this article, we'll go through how to develop CTA buttons that are effective and motivate subscribers to take the desired action you had in mind.

CTA buttons defined

You might ask, “What are call-to-action buttons?” The answer to this question is simple: CTA buttons are the buttons you use in your email campaigns that link to somewhere outside of the email, typically to a website or online application.

These buttons are quite important because they boost click-through rates by letting subscribers know exactly what to do next.

Remember, getting subscribers to notice your brand, product or service is the main goal of email marketing. Even if you have excellent copy and a strong message, what use is it if your subscribers ignore it all and simply move on? So, cracking how to best use CTA buttons is a must.

Attributes of CTA buttons

CTA buttons typically have some attributes that set them apart from linked text. These are:

  • Size: Since CTA buttons are typically much bigger than linked text, they draw the reader's attention.
  • Design: Design features like gradients, shadows and other effects are usually included in buttons but not in links.
  • Colour: Buttons often have a contrasting colour from the backdrop and text, which pulls the eye and encourages the reader to pay more attention to them.
  • Whitespace: When a button in an email is positioned away from other elements, the whitespace around it creates a space free from distraction, directing the reader straight to it.

Now that we know what CTA buttons are and what they consist of, let’s discuss a few CTA buttons best practices.

1. Use action-packed copy

The copy on CTA buttons should be bold and action-driven. Replace uninteresting verbs like "submit" and "enter" with verbs like "redeem," "book," and "try."

So, in a button, this is how the copy could possibly be:

  • Redeem your voucher
  • Book your seat
  • Try our free trial

It's a good idea to include copy on your CTA button that specifies precisely what will happen when the reader clicks on it because, as humans, we like as little uncertainty in our daily lives as possible.

Another thing to be aware of when it comes to your buttons’ copy is to avoid using friction words. Friction words are words like:

  • Buy
  • Submit
  • Download
  • Order

Nobody wants to download or make a purchase. They merely desire the advantages of purchasing or downloading your product.

So, instead of prompting your readers to buy your book on copywriting by having a button that says, “Buy this book now,” try having a button that says, “Learn to write copy that sells.”

2.Use colours that pop out

You have to give careful consideration to your buttons’ colours. In general, it's said that green and orange buttons work the best. However, it will ultimately depend on the look and feel of your email campaign, as buttons that stand out are most effective when they are made with contrasting colours.

Check out our guide on the psychology of colour in emails —it’s interesting how different colours inspire different emotions.

3. Choose simple shapes

The shape of your button is the other important component you need to consider.

In order for your buttons to be recognised, they must, first and foremost, stand out from the rest of your content.

You must decide whether you prefer a button with square edges or one with a more rounded appearance. It's difficult to say which approach performs better in this situation because both are widely used and both can succeed in various contexts. In the end, you'll have to experiment with shapes to find which ones suit your business the best.

The idea is to avoid the temptation to get too fancy, as people might not realise it’s a button they can click. That is why the more rounded and square edged buttons are safer options.

4. Use button copy to highlight value

You may have noticed that the word "free," as in "Book my free appointment," appears on a lot of buttons. Free is a compelling term and using it in your buttons highlights the value of your offer. Think about the value of your offer and how your CTA button might best convey it.

5. Position them strategically

Positioning the CTA button towards the top can enhance conversions if the product or offer you are presenting in your email campaign is simple to understand and the reader would feel no hesitation about accepting your offer. Readers don't have to read lengthy paragraphs that try to persuade them to do something they are already persuaded to do because the CTA button is clearly displayed near the top of the page, making it simple for them to locate and click the button.

It's important to get CTA buttons correct because they serve as the main drivers for click-throughs to your website, product or other chosen location.

It's important to test with CTA buttons. CTA buttons are an excellent place to start if you haven't done much A/B testing before, as even simple adjustments can have significant effects.


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