Make your call-to-actions a true conversion machine

For one writing comes easy, the other really struggles with it. Let's assume you have written a great blog for your website. It’s so good that you’d like to share it with your contacts in a newsletter. Only to the contacts that have given permission for you to send them a newsletter, of course.

You pour your whole heart in to creating your newsletter, completely in line with the corporate identity of your website. You have introduced that great blog in a short yet attractive text, placed an appropriate, royalty-free image (yes, that works!) And place the link in a button. But then ... How do you write the call-to-action in that button?

Reading time

4 minutes


Online Marketing




A call-to-action (CTA) is a text - usually in a button - that persuades your visitor to perform an action. This CTA links to other content and indicates what someone can do or expect after clicking on it.

A CTA consists of 2 elements: copy & design. If you know how to combine these 2 well, then call-to-actions can be a true conversion engine. It will increase the number of clicks in your newsletter or on your website.

Use Copy copy

But how do you write good copy for your CTA buttons? Although I’d like to give you the golden formula, this differs per company and per target group.

What you have to make clear is the action that will take place after the click. When it is obvious what action is performed with a button, visitors will click the button more easily. One way to do this is to write benefit-driven copy. Unlike a static "Sign up" or "Read more", you really enable your contacts to click through with active call-to-actions, such as "Save on your purchase", "Learn to invest" or "Start losing weight". You can also introduce your call-to-action with a question. "Do you want to know more about ...? [Read more]".

A strong example of benefits is given by Neil Patel about the call-to-action of ContentVerve in their newsletter subscription form:

“One of Aagaard’s website goals is to build his list of newsletter subscribers. He ran a test with two different “sign-up” form variations. The first was a simple “sign-up” call to action. The second articulated the benefits of signing up for ContentVerve’s email list.”

With this simple adjustment to make their registration form benefit-driven, has managed to realize 83.75% more registrations.

The clearer you introduce the content behind the CTA, the more realistic the expectations of your contacts/visitors will be. In addition to more clicks, this will also lower your bounce rate - the percentage of people who leave your website without further action. So, don't use the text 'Read more' by default, but think carefully about the copy in your CTA.


In addition to the textual content of a call-to-action, we are also (unconsciously) influenced by the shapes and layout of buttons. The design of a CTA can have a major influence on its effectiveness.


Ideally, choose a colour to match your corporate identity. On the other hand, you want as many clicks as possible on your CTA, right? Experiment with colour. The best colour for you to choose depends on your branding and your target audience. The combinations must fit. Have you ever heard of complementary colours?

Complementary colours are two colours which have the maximum contrast with each other. By using complementary colours, your CTA button will jump off the screen. Film producers often use complementary colours to make their film posters stand out. This is known as the orange-blue contrast. In this way they try to attract your attention and let the poster come to life.


Usually you have a choice of 2 shapes: a round/rounded and an angular CTA. Although The design of your CTAs must match your corporate identity, research shows that there is indeed a difference in the way we process forms. How this works?

  • Rounded corners attract attention to the inside of the button, where pointed corners actually shift the attention to the outside.
  • Round shapes are considered to be friendlier. By nature (primordial reaction) we are "programmed" as human beings to avoid sharp things, because they can be a potential threat to our well-being.
  • Did you know that it takes longer for our brain to process angular shapes? Researcher Jürg Nänni writes: “A rectangle with sharp edges take indeed a little bit more cognitive visible effort than for example an ellipse of the same size. Our “fovea-eye” is even faster in recording a circle. Edges involve additional neuronal image tools. The process is therefore slowed down”.

Although round shapes seem to be a lot more attractive, this does not mean that you always have choose round buttons. Use sharp corners cleverly, for example to communicate risk in the unsubscribe link in your newsletter.

Tips for A/B-testing

The effectiveness of a CTA will have to be tested, because beautiful and effective are two totally different things. You can do this with A/B testing through your newsletters, for example. A/B testing is the preparation of 2 versions of your newsletter (version A & version B) and testing them against each other. Send version A to a part of your recipients and do the same with version B. In this way you can test which version works best for your company and for your mailing list.

A number of elements to test in your call-to-action are:

  • The use of colours;
  • Benefit-driven copy;
  • Do you communicate formally or informally? Dutch or perhaps English?
  • The height, width and rounding of your buttons.
  • Let’s learn together

In my previous blogs I always ended with a contact request like "Do you want to know more? Please contact me." In a blog about call-to-actions, this has to be something more creative and more specific.

Let's look at your call-to-actions together. Two people know more than one. So, which would you choose?


Yes, I want to achieve more results

No, I want to read more first

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