Call to action buttons: compelling the click

Button, button, who’s got the button?

You do baby, and after this blog post, even more so.

They may only be a few words long, but CTA button copy can make you or break you. Successfully compelling a customer to complete an action is dependent on how tantalising that button copy is.

Here’s an access-all-areas, behind the scenes look at how it’s done…

 It’s only a button, so why bother?

My god. Where have you been?! The CTA button is almost as important as the headline of your page. In fact, 90% of those that read your headline will also read your CTA button.

You’ve invested time and effort into telling users what you want them to do: sign up, download this, buy that, etc. etc. By not investing any time into your CTA button, conversions become bounces because customers simply don’t understand how to follow through with the action.

This is all compounded by a weak-ass button copy, which whithers and dies limply rather than inspiring an impulsive click. Which is what you want…in case you didn’t know.

CTA buttons are LIFE.

Better figure out how to nail them, eh?

Verbs, verbs, verbs

Welcome to my fragrant verb garden, friends. Starting your CTA button copy with a strong, punchy active verb is one of the main ingredients for compulsive clicks. Highest performing CTA button word ever? According to Crazy Egg, it’s ‘get’. You can understand why, right? It’s short, it’s impulsive and it does what it says on the tin.

  • Get my free sample
  • Sign me up
  • Send it now

You can send this tip into overdrive if you combine your active verbs with ‘trigger’ words that drive a sense of urgency in the user. Words like “free”, “join” and “now” are all excellent choices.

Make it personal

This tip tends to hinge on house style and branding preference, but I’ve always found it to be very effective: writing in first-person.

  • Get my free sample
  • Sign me up
  • Place my order

In a study by, an A/B test of “your” vs “my” in CTA button copy revealed a 90% increase in clicks when the button was first-person. This goes back to making the experience personal for the user; seems like it’s the crack cocaine of click compellors.

Choosing between function and style

It’s a call you’re going to have to make at some point: on the one hand, you have the most rad, on-brand, exciting call to action button copy and you’re dying to use it. On the other hand, when it comes to buttons, you know that if it ain’t broke, why you going to fix it?

Much like app or order flow copy, people are conditioned to recognise certain words on buttons. Words like ‘Submit’, ‘Cancel’, ‘Share’ or ‘Publish’ are all recognised words and, as users, we know what the outcome of clicking the button will be.

Nothing hurts the click more than uncertainty or fear.

When you start to get a bit funky with your button copy and stray away from the norm, you run the risk of decreasing your click through rate. Why? Because people simply don’t know what to expect.

The answer to this tricky debate is simple: assess it on a case-by-case basis. If you’re trying to increase newsletter sign-ups and have a button on your homepage, you can afford to be more fun with the button copy, just as long as you make sure the rest of the copy in that section is clear and explanatory. It can’t hurt to test it either; monitor performance and if your sexy word jams are causing a drop in performance, try something new!

If you’re trying to push customers through the order flow to the checkout, the last thing you need is extra friction caused by a funky word. Use your noggin.

Ask yourself…

  • Is the function of the button obvious?
  • Could it be shorter?
  • Does it use active language?
  • Does it communicate the benefit?


Extra factors that affect the click

The size of the button

Don’t wanna hurt your ego, bro. But sometimes size does matter. Especially if you’re ready to buy and can’t find the damn button to go to checkout. Is the button in proportion to everything else on the page? Is it easy to see?

The colour of the button

Many branding palettes establish a specific colour for CTA buttons so that customers can always find them on the page. By reiterating this colour and action association, they’re subconsciously creating learned behaviours in their customers–those guys will always know which one the ‘go’ button is, even if they don’t read it.


Put that sucker in the header of the page then drop another one in the footer. Time spent hunting for that button is extra friction, which is extra reason to drop off. Kill that hesitation dead with ample opportunity and accessibility for the click.


…aaaaand I think we’re about done. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below. Otherwise, perhaps you’d like to hit me up and have me bash the sh*t outta your buttons instead.

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