Are Your CTAs Making Customers Feel Like Converting or Bouncing?

by Sid Bharath

Last updated on July 31st, 2017

MailChimp has this really annoying little feature where they show a graphic of a big, red button and a monkey’s hand hovering over it when you’re sending out a campaign. You can see the hand shaking in trepidation, and drops of sweat falling down. The words, “You are about to send this campaign to 10,000 people” are printed below.

It freaks me out.

My first reaction is to press ‘Cancel’ and go back to double-check my campaign. 5 repetitions and 25 minutes later, I throw my hands up in exasperation and hit ‘Send Now’.

It’s all because of that one image and the copy. If, instead, they had an image of a monkey on a hammock with the words, “Send the campaign already and go relax” things would be much different. I’d feel reassured, and not scared, sending campaigns.

Of course, they did that by design because it’s a good thing to double-check your email campaigns. But imagine if they did the same thing on their marketing site. Imagine seeing this – “Are you sure you want to buy MailChimp???” – just as you’re about to convert.

No thanks, MC. You keep your frightened monkeys and I’ll keep my money.

These little things matter. When you want your visitors to take an action on your site, what is your copy making them feel? Does it make them anxious, or does it reassure them?

As a conversion rate marketer, your job is to remove any objections or nagging doubts that visitors have. Much like my suggested copy for MailChimp, your copy should banish negative emotions and evoke positive emotions that drive visitors to click your CTAs. Let’s see a few examples of this and how it can boost your conversion rates.

Free Shipping

One of the biggest causes of cart abandonment in eCommerce sites is a price increase on checkout. This happens when the store adds on a shipping fee right at the very end, causing the total cart amount to balloon and turning customers away.

Consumers have started to expect this when they shop online, to the point that it causes them to hesitate when they see a product within their budget because they know the shipping fee will take them over.

By reassuring them with a message of free shipping on the product page, you can increase the click-through rates to checkout. In fact, studies show that 93% of customers would be encouraged to buy more products online if they knew shipping was free.

However, before jumping to make your shipping free of cost, you need to make sure that it is profitable for you. Here are a few suggestions from Kissmetrics:

  1. Test the conversion rates with and without the free shipping.
  2. Test increasing the minimum order value for free shipping, and compare.
  3. Test offering free shipping for specific products only.
  4. Increase your prices to make up for shipping

When NuFace, a skincare eCommerce store, did research to find out why their conversion rates were low, they saw that their visitors were actually interested in buying but didn’t feel reassured enough to complete the purchase.

To add some incentive NuFace decided to test free shipping above a certain threshold. They placed the message prominently in their header so that visitors could see it on every page.

NuFace CTA copy

The results were outstanding. They saw that adding a simple message of free shipping lead to a 90% increase in orders.

Remember, it’s not enough to offer free shipping. The point is to let visitors know so that they don’t hesitate in adding products to their cart. Where you place the message is as important as what the message is. If they can’t see it, it won’t solve your problems.

Apple mentions free shipping next to the CTA along with estimated delivery dates. This lets customers know that they won’t have to pay an additional $200 for an already expensive product.

Apple cta copy

Amazon mentions free shipping just below the product title, and again above the CTA with their Amazon Prime upsell.

Amazon cta copy


Guarantees are a great way to assure customers that your product or service is worth the money. You’re essentially removing the risk they take on when buying, by allowing them to reverse that decision without penalty.

When Neil Patel tried increasing conversion rates on his QuickSprout course, he tested a 30-day money back guarantee offer. He would refund customers anyway, but he never actually mentioned that to visitors. With the test, he made it clear that customers could get their money back if they weren’t satisfied. He saw an increase in the sales of 21%.

Ramit Sethi does something similar by offering 110% back. It proves to customers just how much he believes in his products. The surprising part is people don’t take advantage of it. The guarantee exists to remove their risk, not for them to make money off it.

Zappos actually offers a money-back guarantee for 1 year! You might think that this would encourage people to return products after using them for a year, but it turns out that fewer people return because they don’t feel any urgency to do it.

On the other hand, Amazon offers a lowest price guarantee. If customers buy a product and it gets discounted the next day, they can get a refund for the difference. This assures them that they’re getting the lowest price, sale or no sale.

Many stores also offer a price-match guarantee, assuring customers that they need not look at other stores to find a better deal.

For SaaS businesses and subscription products, a free trial without a credit card works like a guarantee. By mentioning that a credit card is not required when doing the trial, customers are assured that they won’t get charged if they forget to cancel.

Privacy Policy

It’s so easy to create a site in a day and start scamming people by the next morning. This is one reason why privacy has become a huge issue. People want to know that the information they give you, from an email address to credit card details, will stay private. Just look at the recent scandal to see how negatively it can affect a company and their customers when privacy is violated.

By assuring customers that their data is secure, you’ll overcome any concerns they might have. On any product page on Zappos, you’ll see that they have a ‘Safe shopping guarantee’. This lets customers know that their information is encrypted and any unauthorized transactions will be null and void.

Zappos CTA copy

As always, with anything related to conversion rate optimization, it’s best to test first. tested 4 different privacy policies on a sign-up form to see which one increased conversion rates the most. The original sign-up form had no reassurance copy around the CTA. During the experiment, they tested these lines:

  • 100% privacy – we will never spam you
  • 100% privacy. We keep all your personal information secret.
  • We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared.
  • We guarantee 100% privacy. We will never spam you!

They found that using the word ‘spam’ in the privacy policy actually decreased conversions by about 18%. Even though the privacy policy was meant to assure visitors that their information was safe, the word spam triggered alarm bells.

At the other end of the scale, the third variation performed the best with a 19% increase in conversions. The wording makes it sound powerful and clear, assuring visitors that their data will be private.

BettingExpert CTA copy

Other Approaches

The act of clicking on a CTA evokes a feeling of finality. It’s the no turning back action. So it’s natural for people to have a few last-minute questions. It’s kind of like when you’re just about to leave your house for the day and you wonder if you switched off the microwave or put the milk back in the fridge.

Anticipating those questions and answering it with the appropriate copy in or around your CTA can help in increasing conversion rates.

Here’s an example of how Mozilla Firefox does this.

Firefox CTA copy

They include the version number, operating system, language, and file size on the CTA. It makes it easier for users because they don’t need to go back and check those details again before downloading.

Another way to convince users to click on your CTA is to leverage the psychology of instant gratification. This technique works well for software and digital products businesses, but it also has applications in eCommerce if you offer fast or next-day shipping. allows customers to share files. Their CTA reflects the fact that it’s incredibly quick and users can achieve their goal of sending files within minutes.

free trial cta filesharing


Look at your site through the eyes of your customers and try to understand what they’re feeling just as they click your CTA. Are they anxious, or comfortable? How can your copy make them go from one to the other? You won’t get the answer right the first time, which is why it’s important to test different copy.

Let us know what changes you made to your CTA copy and how it affected your conversion rates.

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Sid Bharath

Sid is an entrepreneur, growth hacker and writer. To find out more about him or get in touch, check out his personal site.


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