How to craft a call to action button to generate more leads

17 August 2015 Karan Vidal

The call to action (CTA) button on your website is one the most important aspects of lead generation. It’s how you convert curios visitors into leads and then customers. It’s worth putting in the extra time and effort to find out what makes your website visitors tick (or click) when it comes to CTAs.

Work with your web designer on all aspects of your CTA. Their job is to design your website to spec. Your job is to make sure your site generates as many leads as possible. Study what makes an effective call to action and keep tweaking and testing until you find the one with the highest conversation rate.

Incorporate the information below to suss what makes the best converting CTA.

1.Have it figured out

A CTA for maximum lead gen starts before the design stage. You need to work out what you’re offering to your audience and what you want them to do. Are you after an email address or a phone call? Will they get a newsletter or a free eBook if they provide their details?

You also need to decide what you want to achieve. High click rates are a good start but clearly defining what a lead means to you will increase your rate of success.

2.CTA design brief

The Von Restorff effect states that you are more likely to remember things that stand out like a sore thumb. For CTA, this means using buttons that contrast to the colours on the page.

Here’s a complimentary colour chart courtesy of Forbes top 10 online marketer, Angie Schottmuller:


As well as complimentary colours, include these design tips for successful CTA button design:

  • Size matters. Assume that people will use a touch screen to access your CTA. The rule of thumb is to size as though people would use their thumb, so 45 x 72 pixels should do the trick.
  • Code is the way to go. Avoid graphic buttons as they can be difficult for people with disabilities to access. They also don’t show up in emails. The smart money is to make buttons that are built like links using HTML and CSS.

3.Write on the button

Now that your users’ eyes are attracted to your CTA button like a moth to a flame, it’s time to keep them there long enough to take action.

The whole point of a CTA button is to get your site visitors to do something. There’s a clue here in the type of language you should use. Choose verbs that explicitly explain what to do.

The WYLTIWLT (“Would you like to? / I would like to”) test

The WYLTIWLT (pronounced WILTY WILT) test was designed by the interactive editor at the Guardian, Jonathan Richards.
The basics of the WYLTIWLT test is that after using a verb, the words on your CTA button should make sense if you add these phrases:

  • Would you like to?
  • I would like to

In essence the wording on your buttons should be grammatically correct in both the voice of your user and the voice of the website. For example, if the text on your button is “download a white paper”, you would say “Would you like to download a white paper?” and “I would like to download a white paper”. The text works in both instances so it has passed the test.

Facebook seems to have mastered the WYLTIWLT test:


4.Recognise commitment phobia

It’s handy to recognise that visitors to your website will be at different stages of the buying cycle. Not everyone will be ready to commit to buying your product or service straight away. Cater for those who aren’t prepared to go all the way by removing the psychological barriers associated with big commitments.

Changing the language from “start testing” to “read our summary” gives the impression that less work is required.

The same principle can be applied to buying goods. A “shop now” button may be more effective than “buy now”. Shopping has associations with pleasure and buying with the pain of losing money.

It’s important to test different words on your CTA button. Black and Decker split tested their CTA text for drills. They compared a “shop now” and a “buy now” button. They found that the “buy now” button got 17% more clicks. This could be for several reasons. One of them could be that most people are familiar with the Black and Decker brand and don’t need to be convinced that they want or need their products.

5.Here’s looking at you CTA

Your CTA button colours and words are just right. You now have to figure out where it should ‘sit’ on your site for the best conversion rates. Remember to think about different device sizes in your design.

Consider placing it in these areas:

  • Above the fold/scroll – this is where your visitor can see your CTA button without scrolling.
  • Top right – most suited to blog posts.
  • End of the post – if your visitor has taken the time to read all of your content, you may have them hooked. This is the ideal time to add a CTA button.
  • Bottom right sidebar – this can look like a natural part of your site.
  • Pop ups – tread carefully with this one as they can be perceived as annoying because they block access to content. A tip is to make the cross to close the pop up very visible. If your visitor can’t close the pop up easily, they may just leave your site.

As you can see, there’s a lot more to designing a lead generating CTA button than meets the eye. The only way that you’ll know which CTA button generates the most leads is to test and test again. What has worked for one website might not work for yours. The tips in this article will give you a good basis to start thinking about what you want to include in your CTA button and what to rotate for testing.