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Marketing 101: What is a CTA?

And why are they so important?

If you’re anything like me, there will be several baffling acronyms that you’ve been confronted with in the workplace over the years, dropped casually into office conversation like they are the most natural thing in the world. As the perpetrator continues talking, completely unphased, you try to subtly Google the cryptic letter combination in the hope of breaking the code and being able to retrospectively piece together what on earth they’re talking about.

Sound familiar? Well, I can’t promise that it will never happen again, but what I can do is shed some light on the marketing world’s most commonly-used three letters; CTA.

So, what does CTA stand for in marketing?

As always, let’s start with the definition. CTA stands for ‘call to action’. It’s a marketing term referring to a statement that gives the reader instruction as to what to do next. CTAs will usually be placed inside a clickable button for extra clarity and usability. ‘Add to basket’, ‘Get the offer’ and ‘Buy now’ are common examples.

Where should I used CTAs in my marketing channels?

You can and should use CTAs across all of your marketing materials, both digital and physical. This includes your website, landing pages, email campaigns, social media posts, ads and printed materials like flyers.

Wherever a customer or client is in the sales funnel, CTAs help direct them towards completing a certain step in their journey.

Why are CTAs so important?

Calls to action move the customer through their interaction with your business and encourage them to take a particular action to complete a process (e.g. signing up, adding contact details or buying a product).

Without solid CTAs, your customer may be confused or lose interest, causing them to abandon your website or platform before performing the desired action.

How can you write persuasive CTAs?

Writing solid CTAs (and copy, for that matter!) is all about understanding customer psychology. As marketers, we often overestimate how obvious certain actions are because we are the ones creating the customer journey. To write truly customer-optimised copy, you have to put yourself in their shoes.

Head to the next slide for tips on how to write engaging CTAs that drive your customer to take action.

Top tips for writing effective CTAs

  • Use strong, active verbs like ‘save’ or ‘learn’

  • Outline the benefits of taking the action, for example ‘Sign up now to get your first month free’

  • Make it easy for the customer to know what they need to do; avoid confusing or vague CTAs. There is no room for ambiguity or clever word play here!

  • Create a sense of urgency such as ‘Don’t miss out’ or ‘Buy now to save 25%’. But exercise caution with this one; if used too frequently, the message will lose its impact and cheapen your brand.

Need help writing customer-focused copy?

Get in touch to find out how I can create persuasive copy and effective CTAs for your brand. Simply fill in the contact form below, or email me at, and I'll get back to you ASAP!

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