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Putting the action in calls to action

We all know that if we’re creating a document trying to make people do something, it needs a call to action. But what form does a successful call to action take?

Plenty of people have done a lot of real world research on this. I think the tip which most agree on is to include a strong action word (i.e. a verb), such as “Buy”, “Read”, “Watch” or “Download”. This may not seem revelatory, but too many so-called calls to action say something like “more information here;” rather than the more powerful read more about the advantages here“.

The latter also tries to provoke enthusiasm from the reader and promises a reward.

Should they go at the top or the bottom? The answer is both. A call to action at the top isn’t going to get many clicks, because it comes before the pitch, but it primes the reader for the identical offer at the end.

I’d bet most of us could probably improve the existing calls to action on our website, and measure the impact too.