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Five Unique Calls to Action that Will Make You Click Twice

The call to action is the “Holy Grail” of every marketer.  Get it right, and you’re swimming in sales.  Get it wrong, and your traffic tends to stagnate.  You may get lots of visits, but little to show for it.  To help inspire you, here are five unique calls to action that have resulted in everything from millions of subscribers, to millions of dollars in sales.

Address Customer Reluctance Upfront (LightCMS)

LightCMS does this wonderfully, although you have to scroll all the way to the bottom of their page to find it.  Their call to action button includes numerous statements that propel the hesitant customer forward:  Try it yourself. It’s free. No Commitment. No payment information required. Takes less than 60 seconds.

speaklight call to action example

Think Outside the Rectangle (Storenvy)

Most call to action buttons are simply rectangles, but some of the highest click-through rates have been reported on buttons that break outside the box.  Unusual shapes or even rounded buttons, such as Storenvy’s Join Now, give the appearance of an actual button to be pressed.  With more and more people browsing on touch-screen smart phones, making buttons stand out with a slight beveled edge or shadow gives the appearance of “pressability”.

storenvy call to action example

What Happens After I Push It? (Mozilla Firefox)

As enticing as your graphics look, many people don’t convert because they don’t know what will happen after they click.  One call to action button that solves this issue beautifully is Mozilla Firefox’s own download button.  Not only does it tell you the approximate size of the download, but correctly guesses the language and operating system from the browser you’re currently using. Having a small downward arrow icon beside “Free Download” immediately lets the user know what will happen when they click.

firefox download button

Pique the User’s Curiosity

You’ve probably seen those “Weird Old Tip” ads splashed all over the internet.  They usually show an image of a heavyset woman who magically morphs into a beautiful, thin lady by way of some “weird old tip” to cut down belly fat.  While the ads prey on the weakness of women who want to lose weight, they also prey on their pocketbooks by enrolling them in a continuity program for a weight loss drink or pill or some other “celebrity endorsed breakthrough”. The program then continues to bill them until they wise up and try to cancel (which is just about impossible to do).

Flat Belly Tip

Although the nature of the business is borderline illegal (and certainly unethical), you can’t deny the pull that these ads have over people.  Countless forums and answer sites ask “what is the weird old tip?” as if it is some magical recipe tucked away in your grandmother’s cupboard.  The bottom line is that this call to action pushes all the right curiosity buttons, but falls short of delivering on its promises.

Apply Continuity to Your Pages

Before you think I’m trashing the concept of continuity – I’m not.  It can be used for good as well as evil. MarketingLabs has a wonderful set of case studies about landing page optimization that every serious marketer should read.  In particular, the idea of creating continuity at the end of the page – where the user asks themselves, “Now what?”  You should always be thinking of ways to get them to take action – not just on the first page – but on every page.

Below is the example of one of the sites MarketingLabs shared in its optimization roundup. Notice how the first (on the left), lower-converting page leads the user to a handful of photos with no real idea of where to go next.  The second version (on the right), with a 103% higher conversion rate gave the user an action to perform after reading.  Because the “Activate Your Free Trial” included a form field for credit card details, an added note lets the user know that they can cancel anytime within their free trial and not be billed.

marketinglabs landing page optimization example

What Pushes Your Buttons?

Have you seen a particularly unusual or convincing call to action that made you jump at the opportunity?  Share it with us below in the comments!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps businesses improve web design, performance and conversions at

  1. Great article. Do you know of any comprehensive studies dealing with people and their response to certain shapes, particularly with digital responses? It would be great to get some data on which shapes people respond to most often.

    • great thoughts concerning products. is there any recommendations for users to click to “bitch” or “brag” about an experience? this experience being a past/present church experience.

      working on adding this engagement with users on our site to gauge their experiences.

  2. Patrick Garmoe Oct 15, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Great post Sherice,

    As Alex suggests, it would be great to see if a study has been done quantifying what kinds of calls to action work best. But of course, it’s a moving target as well. The more people use a certain kind of call to action, the less effective it would gradually become, I would think.

  3. Hey guys —

    Here are two of the best answers I’ve seen to those questions:

    Regarding button size/icons:

    Some interesting results on which CTA buttons work best:

    Hope this helps :)

  4. John Sullivan Oct 27, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Great article. I’ve been using different colors (as opposed to the overall color scheme) as the base for buttons. Seems to work well in A/B testing. What I’m most surprised with is how many high-traffic websites hide their buttons… on purpose or not, they are hard to find.

  5. Well written Sherice. Thanks. I learnt something new today.

  6. Kamil Skrzypiński Nov 16, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks for good article and comments.

  7. I always see that “weird old tip” ad! I’d guessed that it was something spammy so have never clicked on it, but it has got cut through and catches attention.

    This article also reminds of a similar one on kissmetrics referring to how the different colors used can also impact conversion rates.

    I am still working on this for my site…

  8. Just read Sean’s comment above re the colors affecting conversion rates and could not find a search area on your blog to find the article he mentions, a conversion tip for kissmetrics perhaps? Will try Google and see how I get on but if you get a chance to reply to this comment with the link that would be much appreciated :)

  9. Christine Seib Feb 03, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Thank you for the great examples. I’m glad you included the last one. Blogs largely ignore these scammy types of ads because they don’t want to endorse the scam, but these are highly effective because they have to be. When you don’t have the ability to deliver on your promises, you have to get as many people down that funnel as possible. They tend to be VERY persuasive.

    • Very true… these ads do appear to be a bit spammy, but they indeed work really well. That’s why you see stuff like that so often. It’s hard not to click it.

  10. I think there is also some good info around the web as it relates to colors of call-to-action buttons. It would really be nice to have a cheat sheet of what combinations of shapes and colors work best!

  11. Great suggestions!

  12. There’s nothing more satisfying than clicking a button that just looks like it has to be clicked! (Storenvy example) I’m sure some of that satisfaction would carry over to the following page.

  13. I think storeenvy did a good job; The call to action + USP’s kill it.. we tried the same thing at and worked like a charm..

    @Neil do colors affect conversion rate on landing pages?

  14. This article could be a lifesaver to eCommerce merchants and web designers alike. We might share it with some of our payment gateway clients to increase their conversion rates.

    Kind regards,
    The eWAY Team

  15. Hemang Rindani Nov 27, 2015 at 8:49 am

    With the increased competition it is important to have an engaging website that allow visitors to interact with you. There are certain CMSes that help the cause. WordPress being the most efficient of those, comes with number of themes to create a great design. Plugins works as add-ons which supports the theme and provides right call to action tools. One such theme that WordPress comes with is “Launch”. It is a one page responsive theme that allows visitors to visit website using their email id. It helps a developer to insert call to action buttons or add comments section on a web page which can be customized further for the size, color and shape.

    There are few more themes as such that engages the visitors to a website, however it is important to understand the business requirements and select an appropriate theme to support them.


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