5 Key Principles of Effective Calls To Action

With the recent addition of Button components in Canvasflow, it’s a great time to offer some advice on how to get the most from Calls To Action.

Liam Handford

Liam Handford

May 24th, 2019 | Reading Time: 4 mins
call to action

Regardless of industry or type of business, we all use calls to action, whether it’s landing pages, ads, or simply to push readers to the next article. With the recent addition of Button components in Canvasflow, it’s a great time to offer some advice on how to get the most from them.

Here are some key principles to remember when creating effective CTA’s:

Show Value

What’s the value to them?

Will they be able to work more efficiently? Will they be better informed? Will it save them money?

Don’t make users have to work to discover the value, make it clear what they’re getting in return for signing up, downloading or reading on.

Digit’s CTA – A clear and concise value, obvious straight away.

Make An Impact

If you’re not enthusiastic about what you’re offering, how can you expect anyone else to be?! There’s a reason why discount sales both digital and physical use bright colours, interesting shapes, bold text and sometimes far too many exclamation points!!!!!

Your CTA’s can have a similar effect without seeming corny or desperate (just avoid the ‘going out of business sale’ feel!).

Bright, contrasting colours makes Spotify’s CTA really pop

Clear, Concise, Action-Oriented Text

Use commanding verbs to not only help make it clear what you want them to do, but to draw them in, ‘Join’, ‘Read’, ‘Try’. Make it sound like something they should want to do, not just an option that they can easily ignore.

Creating a sense of urgency, or playing on peoples fear of missing out can be effective, but it’s a fine line between that and feeling pushy, so it has to feel right.

Which is more compelling?

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Sprinkle On Some Personality

How far you should push the envelope for each CTA is a decision only you can make. Some of the biggest brands have found success in being a little tongue-in-cheek, the limits of every brand are different.

Instead of “Read The Top 10 Morning Tips”, you could add some spice instead with “Crappy Morning? Try this”. It can be refreshing to see CTA’s that step away from the overused ‘Buy Now!’-type copy and don’t mind using language we wouldn’t always expect.

It’s important to remember you’re calling out to real people, so you need to pique their interest and make them curious enough to act on it.

Harry’s Razor’s funny email campaign

Would you be curious enough to click play? I would. Humour is an effective way to stand out from the cookie-cutters. Your audience will dictate just how far you can take it.

Meet Expectations

Before they even click, users should have a good idea of where they’re going, like an article, video or a signup form – they should usually know what the article or video is, and should definitely what they’re signing up to.

Getting someone to click doesn’t do you any good if they’re taken somewhere unexpected or then asked to take an action they aren’t prepared for. A button needs to be in context with the rest of the information on the page, a small section of copy leading up to the button can prepare users for what you’re going to ask them to do.



Keep these principles in mind, but don’t overthink it. There are plenty of cases where simple, minimal calls to action are appropriate and don’t need an edge, and hopefully even those can be enhanced by some of the tips provided here.

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