Increase Clicks with these 12 Call-to-Action Phrases

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If nobody clicks on your call-to-action phrases and buttons, you don’t get any leads, nor do you generate any revenue.

That’s the opposite of the point of using CTAs, which is why I tell business owners and marketers to take the time to refine their phrasing.

A poorly-written CTA negates all the hard work you do for the rest of your marketing campaign. Someone who visits your website might be with you up until that point, then decide to bail right before the conversion.

What if you knew the exact call to action phrases that entice people on the fence? You’d get more customers for the exact same amount of work and marketing spend.

These “magical” phrases do exist.

Before we get to the specific words that you should use, we need to understand the psychology that makes them work.

What is the Psychology Behind CTA Phrases?


From the day we’re born, we’re taught to follow orders. That’s why you might learn that definitive CTA phrases work better than others.

For instance, compare these two call-to-action phrases:

  1. Are You Ready to Subscribe?
  2. Subscribe Now!

Which one catches your attention? The second one. That’s because the phrase proves definitive and authoritative. It tells the reader exactly what to do.

Consumers have also come to expect CTAs. They predate the internet. From billboards and television commercials to brochures and flyers, advertising creative always includes a CTA.

  • Call this number now to get our low-low price!
  • Want more information? Call 888.555.5555!
  • Like what you see? Visit us at the corner of 1st and 2nd Streets!

See what I mean?

On the internet, though, the call-to-action phrases can become far more dynamic. Not only can consumers click them with the mouse or tap them with a finger, but the CTA buttons’ colors, fonts, and other visual elements can influence conversions.

Consumers who are internet-savvy know what a call to action looks like. Consequently, they’ve become psychologically influenced to click.

That doesn’t mean the click’s automatic, though. The specific call-to-action phrases you use and the placement of those CTAs can also have a psychological impact.

12 Effective Call to Action Phrases to Get More Conversions (And Why They Work)


We know that CTAs are important for conversions, but certain types of call-to-action phrases work better than others. It all depends on your specific business and audience.

Every audience responds differently depending on their personalities, desires, pain points, and other characteristics. That’s where A/B testing comes in. You can’t just assume that a well-written CTA will resonate with your audience.

Always test.

But let’s take a look at some CTA phrases that work well in a variety of situations.

1. “Yes, I Want X!”

This is one of the most common affirmative call-to-action phrases. It’s speaking in the voice of the consumer.

In other words, when readers see this CTA, they read it to themselves as though it were their own original thought.

“X” could be anything: a free download, a discount, free shipping, or any other incentive. That doesn’t matter. Your goal is to affirm that your reader wants whatever you’re offering and will therefore convert.

Why the CTA phrase works

Affirmative CTAs like this one work because they plant a seed. Your reader might not know he or she wants your offer, but reading that phrase creates a positive connection between the offer and the consumer.

2. Snag/Grab/Seize/Score/Gain X Now!

Your high school English teacher told you that thesaurus would come in handy one day, and now look where you are! When you use unique words in your call-to-action phrases, you call (pardon the pun) more attention to it.

You could say “Get X Now!” with “X” being the incentive. But “get” is a boring word. It’s almost passive. Other words add more interest to the phrase.

Why the CTA phrase works

People prefer to receive than to give. Every Christmas card will tell you otherwise, but in commerce, consumers are out for themselves.

When you start your CTA phrase with a word that implies a benefit for the consumer, you’re more likely to attract clicks and signups.

Additionally, the word “now” adds some urgency to the CTA. It suggests the consumer needs to hurry up and act or risk losing out on the opportunity forever.

3. Start Your Journey Toward X

Some of the best call-to-action phrases expressly mention a direct benefit of clicking on the CTA button. They tell the user what he or she will get in exchange for providing an email address or buying your product.

In this case, X represents a result.

  • Start your journey toward successful weight loss
  • Start your path to greater wealth
  • Begin your adventure to improving your speaking skills

Notice that I’m pulling out that thesaurus again. The good call-to-action phrases listed above are each variations on the primary formula. Feel free to get creative.

Why the CTA phrase works

A results- or benefits-based CTA allows the consumer to imagine his or her own success. It suggests that a dream or goal lies just behind their reach, and all they have to do is click on that button and get the incentive.

It’s also a little motivational. If you can excite your readers and make them anticipate whatever lies on the other side of your CTA, you’re doing some good marketing.

4. Do You Want to X? Yes or No

In this case, I’m combining a headline with a CTA. The headline is “Do You Want to X?” And the CTA is “Yes,” but we’re also providing a “No” alternative.

For instance, you might use a headline like this: “Do you want to lose weight?”

If your site is geared toward people who want to shed excess pounds, you can pretty much guarantee your readers will feel compelled to click the “Yes” button. If they click “No,” the action feels discordant with their true beliefs and desires.

Why the CTA phrase works

As mentioned above, people are averse to aligning themselves with a value or statement that they don’t believe in. If you ask someone a question in a headline, your CTA becomes more appealing because the user knows the truth.

He or she can still click “No,” but it won’t feel right. Next time, he or she might click “Yes.”

5. Activate X Today!

Maybe you’re offering a discount on products or a free demo of your service. Using a CTA like this one puts the visitor in the driver’s seat and motivates him or her to take action.

  • Activate your 30-day free trial today!
  • Activate your 20% discount now!
  • Activate your free shipping offer today!

See what I mean?

Why the CTA phrase works

The word “activate” sounds impressive and momentous. It’s unique in comparison to words like “get” or “start,” so it’s more likely to draw attention, and it can build excitement. Plus, when you add “now” or “today,” you inject that urgency factor into your call-to-action phrases.

6.  You’re Running Out of Time!

This is a classic CTA that has worked in numerous types of media. It’s heavily rooted in urgency and scarcity — two psychological principles that can work extremely well when used in moderation. You don’t want to hammer into your readers’ heads that they need to act now! However, a little goes a long way.

Variations on this CTA could include the following:

  • Act before it’s too late!
  • Get your discount before it’s gone!
  • Don’t miss out!
  • Limited quantities available!

Why the CTA phrase works

Consumers respond to urgency and scarcity because they don’t want to miss out. When they know a deal is going away or a limited run of products might sell out, they want to get in on the action.

This means they don’t have time to ruminate. Given enough time, many consumers will talk themselves out of purchasing things they really want. If they’re forced to make a decision faster, though, they’ll likely act.

7. Add to Cart


I thought I’d throw this one in because it’s unexpected. We often talk about call-to-action phrases in terms of their uniqueness. For instance, using stronger, unique verbs can improve conversions.

However, sometimes it’s best not to invent the wheel.

Huge websites like Amazon use the CTA “Add to Cart” on their sales pages. If it didn’t work, they would have switched them by now.

ctas in right place free trial crazy egg

Why the CTA phrase works

Sometimes, simplicity is better than creativity. Sad, but true. Consumers know exactly what “Add to Cart” means. They understand that they’re filling up their digital shopping carts for future purchases.

When you use a familiar CTA like this one, your prospective customer doesn’t have to think too much. It becomes as easy as grabbing a product off the shelf at Walmart and tossing it in a real basket.

8. Add to Wishlist

While we’re on the subject of simplicity, I thought I’d include this one, too. Wishlists are the step before the purchase — showing intent on the part of the consumer to eventually buy a product.

If you run an ecommerce store, consider adding wishlist functionality. Not only will wishlists remind your leads of what they want, but those leads can share their wishlists with their friends. Suddenly, purchases start pouring in when birthdays and other holidays roll around.

Why the CTA phrase works

There are two primary benefits to adding add-to-wishlist CTAs on your ecommerce website.

One, the customer doesn’t have to make any commitment. A wishlist isn’t a checkout cart. It’s just a list of desired products.

Two, users who want to add products to their wishlists have to create an account. That means you can collect their email addresses. Instead of attempting to snag them as leads in some other way, such as with a lead magnet, you can let the wishlist do the talking.

9. Join X Other [Category] as Subscribers to My Email List

Here’s a form of social proof. There are several ways to structure CTA phrases like this:

  • Join 233,000 other marketers and subscribe to my email list.
  • Become one of the 23,451 people who subscribe to my emails.
  • Join the club! Over 500,000 fitness enthusiasts request my emails. You could, too!

Why the CTA phrase works

When you have a big email list, you might as well use it to your advantage. After all, you did the work to collect all those addresses.

Consumers see numbers like those and think, “What am I missing?” They wonder why hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people are so interested in what you have to say.

So they join.

10. Get Your Free X

I encourage you to find synonyms for the word “get,” but this is the simplest form of this type of CTA phrase. You’re inviting your website visitors to get something for free.

And it better be something of value.

You might offer a cheat sheet, a checklist, a toolkit, or a pack of free templates. These are called lead magnets. They’re designed to convince people to join your email list in exchange for something they want.

Why the CTA phrase works

“Free” is a double-edged sword. In some cases, consumers translate “free” as “worthless.”

You have to prove them wrong.

When you fill in “X,” make it sound as valuable and information-rich as possible.

For instance, you could say, “Snag your free, comprehensive guide to getting more clients now!”

The value is built into the description. Of course, the download needs to back up your claims.

Free can also work to your advantage. Consumers appreciate generosity, so when you’re giving of your time and knowledge, they might reciprocate by buying products or investing in your services.

11. Reserve your spot now!

Exclusivity is a powerful way to convince people they want whatever you’re offering. There are lots of things for which you must reserve a spot — things people covet.

Attendance at a major event. Access to an exclusive club. Tickets to a private concert. You get the idea.

If you’re offering a free webinar or other virtual event — or if you’re inviting people to join you in the “real world” for an event — use this type of CTA. It subtly communicates that few spots are available.

Why the CTA phrase works

Why do you think secret societies, fraternal organizations, and clubs exist? They’re exclusive. You have to be accepted to join, and there are usually limited spots.

You know you’re not vetting registrees to your next webinar, but you can still use this psychological principle to your advantage.

12. Start the quiz

Quizzes have an almost magnetic pull. They’re fun to take, they reveal something about yourself, and they allow you to compare yourself to others. Using a quiz as a CTA can pull people farther into your sales funnel by exposing them to more of your brand.

You can then end your quiz with a final CTA.

The quiz should relate specifically to your business. For instance, if you sell fitness supplements, you’ll want to ask what the user’s goal is, what he or she has tried before, and what types of supplements he or she is interested in.

At the end, use a CTA that recommends a specific product.

Why the CTA phrase works

Call-to-action phrases aren’t always linear. In other words, they don’t have to transport the prospect from Point A to Point B immediately.

Your quiz might only contain a few questions, but you want to use the answers to guide your prospect to a solution he or she will appreciate. At that point, the prospect is eager to see what you’re offering.

How to Test Different Call-to-Action Phrases to See Which One Is Better


As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, a call to action might be beautifully worded and still not work on your audience. It doesn’t mean your website visitors are stupid or inept. It doesn’t mean your website copy is lacking. It just means that your audience members have their own unique responses to stimuli.

Testing different call-to-action phrases will give you hard data about which one is better. You can them decide what types of CTA phrases to use in the future so you’re more likely to convert people who visit.

Start using a user behaviour tool to identify the clicks and test

User behavior tools, such as Crazy Egg, enable you to collect actionable data about how your CTAs perform among your website visitors. You can see where you get the most clicking activity, whether people scroll down far enough to even see your CTA, and whether there’s a better placement on the page.

Once you’ve nailed down that information, start running A/B tests. Compare two versions of the same page, changing only one variable — in this case, the call to action. The one that outperforms the other is the winner.


Calls to action don’t seem like a big deal until you start to collect data. Then, you realize how much they truly matter.

Poor CTAs hurt your lead generation efforts as well as your revenue. That’s the last thing any business owner wants.

Paying attention to your audience and testing new call-to-action phrases, however, can improve both metrics and make your business stronger.

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