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3 Steps to Writing a Great Call to Action

August 16, 2013

Today, there are plenty of available tools for marketing a small business. However, they can only take you so far if you don’t know the basics of motivating consumer response. Once you’ve captured their attention, how do you get prospects to follow through with action? Here are three things to consider when crafting an effective call-to-action statement.

Call to action:  “Words that urge the reader, listener, or

viewer of a sales promotion or message to take an immediate action…”

– via


By its very definition, a call to action is a statement that impels the audience to do something. Two great motivators are emotion and urgency, so create a call to action that is somehow tied to, or implies, one or both of these. When creating motivators around the concept of emotion, think about your target audience’s wants, wishes, needs, and desires.

Examples of call to actions using emotional triggers:

  • “Keep your children safe by installing our home security system.” - Fear
  • “Get the body of your dreams by using this workout plan.” - Desire
  • “Donate. It can make the difference between life and death for loveable shelter dogs.” - Guilt

call to action SPCA

Whenever possible, create a sense of urgency with your call to actions. Be implicit or explicit in describing a time frame in which you’d like the prospect to act.

Examples of call to actions using time and urgency:

  • “Act now to take part in this limited-time offer.”
  • “Reserve your seats for this exclusive, luxury event. Hurry, only a few left!”
  • “Call within the next 5 minutes to get double the product for half the price.”


Be clear, direct, and simple with the language you use to write your call to actions. The easier it is for the recipient to understand what action they need to take, the better you can direct responders down the sales path. Keep your statements actionable and benefit oriented.

Additionally, take note of effective call-to-action statements. They often start with a verb: call, click, download, act, get, etc.

call to action buttons


Call to actions should stand out from the rest of the copy and design of your piece. Don’t hide these statements within lines of copy or make them hard to recognize among a cluttered design. Effective call-to-action statements are bold and easy to see.

Here are a few things you can try to attract attention to your call to actions:

  • Use a larger font size or different color for call-to-action text.
  • Use a graphic, like an arrow, to direct the reader’s eye to the call-to-action statement.
  • Isolate call-to-action copy within a design element (colored box, border or banner).

lead generating postcard


Each side should be able to stand aloneWrite in a tone and with language the target audience will understand
Place call-to-action and branding elements near the address areaMake an impact with a strong headline
One or two simple typefaces work best for a quick and easy readChoose one idea or goal and drive that point throughout the piece
Use bold colors and strong images that connect with core motivationsBe explicit in identifying the next step or call to action for the reader
Keep it simple and clean – take advantage of ‘empty space’ to guide readersInclude contact information on each piece