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What Is a Call To Action (CTA) in Marketing?

A call to action in marketing, which is often abbreviated as CTA, is exactly what it sounds like — an invitation to the customer to take a specific action. The CTA meaning in marketing is a word or phrase that marketers use to convince a customer to take the final step and make a purchase.

The call to action marketing definition isn’t confined to just persuading someone to part with their cash, though, as it can also be used in marketing to encourage someone to subscribe to a newsletter or download a free eBook or course.

On a website, the CTA should be easy to recognize as it’s designed to be bold and eye-catching. It often appears as a button that directs the reader straight to a landing page or a sales page. A typical example would be a button that reads ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Subscribe’.

As such, there are soft and hard CTAs. Soft CTAs encourage a next step, while hard CTAs encourage a final step — often a purchase. As you can imagine, the type of CTA determines the wording you should use. 

The way you use a CTA is critical for converting leads into sales, and one of the most common ways to land on the right wording is to rely on A/B testing. This form of testing uses several different approaches to see which has the highest conversion rate

For example, if you’re not having much success with ‘Subscribe,’ then you might also try something along the lines of ‘Get Started’ to see if this has more of an impact.

Further reading
blog post

The Definitive Guide to Data-Driven Marketing

blog post

The Top 3 Trends in Digital Marketing for 2021 & What They Mean for Marketers

What are the benefits of the right CTA?

While the marketing process won’t necessarily revolve around the CTA, you’ll have a hard time sealing the deal without one. Any sales filter will include at least one CTA, though it isn’t uncommon to have several to lead the customer through the funnel. Each CTA can have different wording, so it’s up to you to pick the right words for the context.

The benefit of digital marketing is that we now have access to a wealth of data. Using this data, you can inform your decisions regarding the wording of your CTAs, and in so doing hopefully land more sales. 

A common formula for CTAs is to begin with a strong verb such as ‘buy’ or ‘subscribe,’ and then back it up with an adverb that lends a sense of urgency like ‘now, and finally the subject if appropriate, for example, ‘course’ or ‘eBook’.