How To Do Great Call To Action Writing (With 4 Easy Formulas)

4 easy formulas for effective call to action writing

1. Unload the filler words and fill up your button with action verbs

You don’t have a lot of real estate to persuade your audience for taking the next step. So, start with the desired action. A concise description makes the next step clear for the visitor.

For example: Instead of writing “Would you like to get a quote?”…

Simplify your copy to “Get a quote now.”

Netflix does it in an excellent way. A new visitor might be fearful of getting locked in their subscription plan and regret paying for it. So they make it clear to the user that he can “Join Free for a Month” with their contrasting red CTA button.

Other examples of action verbs include order, call, sign up, subscribe, download, find out how and the like.

Try to use common and easily understandable words. Buzzwords and complex jargon won’t impress the reader. Rather, you run the risk of getting your CTA ignored altogether.

Another example of a CTA that uses action verbs is by ‘my perfect resume’.

2. “TIME” works like a charm

What did the Netflix CTA address in the above example?

It minimizes the risk for the user.

For digital products and apps, offering a “free trial” and letting users “try” your product can be incredibly effective.

That’s what the TIME formula does with CTA phrasing “Try it free for.”

You might have seen TIME examples of Software as a Service (SaaS) products multiple times. Microsoft had one such CTA.

So does Moz.

Asking a first time visitor to buy a digital product on the first exposure to your brand can sometimes be overwhelming. Visitors might drop off, unless you reassure them that they can explore the ins and outs of your product without taking out their wallets.

And that’s how you give people the confidence to buy.

3. Play with reverse psychology

Have you ever tried to convince your friends to go to the restaurant you wanted by talking it down?

“I didn’t really want to go to Chez Fancy. All that wine they serve – I’m more in the mood to take it easy tonight, you know?” you say, to your wine-loving friend.

That’s a classic example of reverse psychology in action.

Similarly, you can attempt to compel more readers to click on your CTA by asking them to “not click” on your CTA. It’s an effective way to compel your readers to do what you want because negative emotions are stronger than positive ones. Wikipedia notes, “This technique relies on the psychological phenomenon of reactance, in which a person has a negative emotional reaction to being persuaded, and thus chooses the option which is being advocated against.”

Neil Patel performed one such reverse psychology test at He told his visitors – “don’t click here if you’re lazy”, instead of the usual “click here” CTA.

The result?

The “don’t click here” button fared 39% better.

Ramit Sethi also performed a similar test on his website

4. This copywriting technique can catapult your sales…

Do you know a great way to motivate your customers and increase their desire to buy your products?

It’s by generating curiosity.

We’re inherently curious creatures. Hence, creating a curiosity gap can pique interest in your brand offerings.

Joanna Wiebe from Copyhackers leveraged this gap to in an A/B/C test.

And she managed to increase the number of clicks on the high-priced gold plan for Mad Mimi by a freaking 927%.

What did Joanna do?

She tested variation 1 by hiding the price of the gold plan. And that made people curious about what the price actually was – so they clicked through. encourages brands to create “curiosity profiles” of their customers. Then take them on a “curiosity journey” feeding information at relevant “curiosity stations.”

Anticipating such an experience that piques their interest also makes the customers happier as compared to anticipating a purchase. So a “curiosity journey” will also foster higher brand loyalty.

While implementing this strategy, it’s important to remain honest with your customers. Don’t make a gigantic offer and later fail to deliver on the customer expectations.

BuzzFeed and UpWorthy are criticized by readers because of clickbait headlines that fail to deliver on their promises. If you’re hit by too many headlines promising “You’ll Be Amazed At What This Baby Does Next” and you are not amazed, you lose interest in the source of those headlines.

Think of an irked customer that has paid you for a product, which then fails to meet his expectations. He’s not likely to do business with you again, and is in fact likely to tell his friends about his negative experience with you.


Don’t discount the call to action button. It’s one of the most important components of your sales funnel. Even changing just a couple of words on it can potentially double your sales.

Always remember that the goal of the CTA is to appear in front of a targeted audience with a relevant message and get more clicks to your sales page.

I’ve covered 3 common mistakes and 4 formulas for writing persuasive CTA copy. But they are only good starting points for testing. Your audience preferences and personal results may vary.

Are there any other call to action writing techniques that you’ve used to increase your sales? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by Chintan Zalani

Chintan is an ROI-focused content marketing consultant. Join him at Elite Content Marketer and learn how to grow your business through content.