6 Proven Ways to Boost the Conversion Rates of Your Call-to-Action Buttons

6 Proven Ways to Boost the Conversion Rates of Your Call-to-Action Buttons

Reader Comments (75)

      • You know I am a huge admirer of you and what you do … and her article is terrific … but using language like that is unprofessional and offensive — at least to people in my generation.

        • It’s ridiculous that that was your takeaway from this whole article. I think a real professional adult can deal with pseudo-profanity. Everyone in my office drops f-bombs like a mofo and we still manage to get the job done and make profit. Seriously, get over yourself.

        • Bob, how cool to see you read my article! Sorry “mofo” offended you. I’m a big U2 fan, and I suppose I’ve used that word since they wrote a song with that very title — so it doesn’t seem like profanity to me at all. With cool startups like VinoMofo – and my own biz – openly using the word, it seems to me to be losing any sense of being ‘a bad word’.

          But I respect what you’re saying and hope the rest of the article worked for you. 🙂

      • Thanks. If it might offend even one in a hundred, why risk it, when you can say the same idea without the profanity?Also, she is using it with her READERS, not her customers, and I am one of them … and I am offended.

        • And on the other side of the ‘what if it offends 1 in 100’ argument . . . what if it attracts an extra 5 in 100?!

          I’m down with the mofo business and ting (that’s slang for ‘thing’ 😉

          • Matt, the answer is their are standards of behavior and foul language violates those standards. And attracts people is the content, not her use of mofo.

    • To avoid the perception of me being a mofo, I try not to come into someone else’s house and tell them how to F#c$in’ talk, but that’s just how I roll … excuse me, that’s just how I conduct myself when frequenting a blogging establishment. Good day sir.

      • Shane, what you are missing is that I did not come into her house. This is a public forum, a free site anyone can visit. There are certain standard for public behavior, and not cursing is one of them? I am curious: how old are you?

        • Manners also belong on a public forum, along with good word choice.

          In my book Mofo is just a word, and a pretty tame one at that. Of course this is subjective, obviously it is something else to others.

          But what’s the golden rule after all? If you don’t have something nice to say, try not to say it.

          I’d rather see “questionable” word choices be glanced over and forgotten than see people draw strong lines of division between one another. It just feels like wasted energy to me, energy which we could be putting towards all of our wonderful projects!

          Word choices and semantics aside, we are all friends here working towards a common goal. 🙂

        • I did not come into her house

          I stand corrected; you came into Brian’s house and corrected his guest. Much better that.

          I am curious: how old are you?

          I am curious: how much older are you? Good day sir.

          • This is not “Brian’s house.” It is a public forum in which profanity should not be used and I pointed that out. I ask your age because the younger generation is increasingly ill-mannered.

  1. Great article, clear with excellent examples. One of the things we are always playing with is our call to action. Thanks for the info.

  2. Great article, Joanna. I recently launched my squeeze page and timing couldn’t be better for these tips. I will definitely test some tips of yours.

  3. WOW, what a collection of useful information. Who knew that changing a lowly button could accomplish so much. I find it really interesting, Joanna, that changing a button to first person can have such a radical effect. As a mystery/suspense writer, I love to write in the first person if my plot allows it. First person adds so much more emotion and really brings you into a story. If I need to write in third person, I go for a deep POV and show rather than tell.
    As an example…
    (Shallow POV) Becky’s skin prickled with excitement.
    (Deep POV) Shadows loomed. The room reeked of ancient secrets. Becky’s skin prickled.

    I think Deep POV might be a useful copywriting technique, especially for long copy. Jill Elizabeth Nelson has a great book in the Kindle store on Deep POV that has a lot of great examples.

    I’ll definitely have to pick up your copywriting fundamentals and test some new call-to-action buttons on my site.

    • Fantastic reference to deep POV. Long copy can do a lot more with that than a button can (usually), but thinking about POV at all when writing your call to action is clearly critical. Thanks, John! (BTW, I too write fiction, and my first novel in a trilogy is being published this Jan. Exciting times!)

      • Good luck on your book, Joanna. Fiction is a challenge, but it’s really a lot of fun. I think you are smart to go for a series. Having multiple books is a major advantage. I’m working to finish my first book in a new private detective series that takes place in the late 80’s on the West Coast of California. My protagonist is like a West Coast Don Johnson. Longish hair, big collars. Mofo was actually a pretty popular term back then. 🙂

  4. Thanks for the great tips and hacks for buttons! The best option is simplicity, while still being able to stand out and be unique. Thanks for sharing your research, it will definitely come in handy!

    • Cool, Annie! Simplicity is always a great goal, and sometimes it even gets you more conversions. Other times, bright “Belcher buttons” do the trick. 🙂

  5. Todd, ignorant comment. Who said that was my takeaway from her great article? I SAID I loved the article. What I object to is the language. Just because you work in an office with foul-mouthed people does not make using such language acceptable for publication. At least not to people in my generation.

  6. Very well done! These are superb suggestions, and I love the illustrations. Too many articles or posts about improve forms or calls to action do not SHOW us what the author means.


    • Yeah, Chris, illustrations make everything a lot clearer, don’t they? In copywriting and teachin’, I’m a firm believer in “show AND tell” (as opposed to the oft-quoted fiction-writing rule of “show don’t tell”).

  7. Joanna you f…ing ROCK! Thank you for this great article. You nailed it. “God is in the details” I’m working on two sites right now where call to action buttons are very important as part of the sites. Now i got facts to back up design decisions.

  8. Great post! I especially enjoy the bit about making buttons look like buttons, ha ha. I mean if the visitor doesn’t notice that the button in present, it probably won’t get that many clicks.

    • Seems so obvious, doesn’t it, Shawn? But it needs to be said. Most of the obvious stuff needs to be said. We’re very busy trying to innovate – especially online – and that can be fantastic… but it can also mean we leave basic practices in the dust, which is less fantastic for users + conversion.

  9. Boy, this is some quality stuff here – I’ll have to come back and read through it again.

    I use buttons on my ESL website and pretty much just stick with the stuff PayPal gives me. I’ve recently started putting copies of the paid buttons from the product pages into detailed blog posts about those products.

    I used to just include a link to the product but, hey, why not just make it easier for my users, huh?

    • Totally, Greg… but if it interests you – since you mention [text] links – we ran a test of “juicy” buttons against a plain ol’ text link, and the freakin’ text link won. That surely won’t always happen, but it did in this one case, and it made me uber-glad that we tested instead of just rolling with best guesses. 🙂

  10. What an incredibly useful article, Joanna! Website projects have been coming my way more than anything else lately, so your information is quite timely. Thank you. I’ve been a respecter of your work for awhile now.

    As I read #2 Focus Visitors on Simple Calls to Action I started thinking about how this might apply to marriage (believe it or not.)

    I’ve noticed how my friends from cultures who practice arranged marriages or live in smaller populated areas tend to have happier marriages and are more content with their marital decision, which on the surface seems amazing considering they had fewer choices.

    Meanwhile, many of my compatriots here in the States are less happy in their marital choices and many end up returning the product (divorce.)

    Does the fact that Americans having a “24-jam display” instead of a “six-jam display” somehow correlate with this?

    Maybe. 🙂

    Personally, I had a “clear, unmistakable call to action” that helped me find a great wife.

    Wow. This article is even more amazing than I first thought…

    • Major comment, Matthew! That’s like a post onto itself — and, actually, it probably warrants a post. (You should write about it!) Choice is a very tricky thing: we think we want it, but is it good for us?

      Interestingly, there’s another box-of-chocolate study where two groups were given a box of chocolates from which to choose a single chocolate. For one group, after a subject chose a chocolate, the lid of the box was closed; for the other group, the lid stayed open post-choice. Guess who was happier with their choice. The group that chose a chocolate and then had the lid closed on their options was happier than the group that got to see everything “they’d missed out on”. So curious!

  11. awesome article! I took notes and hope to apply this testing to a new site launch! I will use this for my own site as well. thank you!

  12. Joanna, as always, you are most brilliant!

    The advice here is killer and it’s a shame people have to scroll through more than too many comments about the use of a word in your bio to find some great feedback on your work.

    Looking forward to your next brainwaves.

  13. This article is like gold!! I love the spin on using “my” instead of “your.” In marketing, it’s been ingrained in me to use “you” but I’m going to switch around to first person and see how that performs. Thanks!

    By the way, I LOVE the jam study. I wrote Blog Design for Dummies and mention that study as well. It’s a perfect example of why having more choices makes choosing something harder (kind of like the menu at The Cheesecake Factory).

  14. Joanna, thanks for such a useful post!
    As we only testing our site I found many ideas!
    Now I will have to think how we can add testimonial click triggers withot harm to design.

  15. Great article! Very comprehensive and easy to follow. Definitely motivation for me to do some testing of my own.


  16. Trying to stuff my head full of these great ideas and tips. My ‘to do’ list is growing and the seeds of change are too.

    Thanks for sharing such good info with noobies like me!

  17. Great post and great way to backup your suggestions with real life case studies and research. You can see how this would work and how a lot of conversion optimization relates back to psychology. I have a couple of new client sites that this will definitely go to practice on. It is so simple yet so much more compelling.

  18. I’m with Bob Bly on the use of profanity.

    Yesterday I was reading a site where the owner offers to “unf&%k” your marketing. Then goes on to make a virtue of her use of language.

    I was genuinely looking for someone to buy a service from.

    It won’t be her!

  19. Wow, these comments seem to have gotten off topic.

    I love the post though. Crazy amount of info. Ill have to give our call to action buttons a makeover. Thanks!


  20. This is awesome stuff! I knew that such tweakings make a huge difference but these small revisions tips are amazing and these could possibly make a huge difference on call to action buttons for sure!

    Thanks for sharing.


  21. Hi Joanna,

    A latecomer to your post and the comments section, I get TREBLE the benefits.

    First, the benefit your post – absolutely superb blend of the conceptual and the down to earth. I love the real life examples. With changes this simple to apply and benefits this proven, it’s a no-brainer. In the words of others before me, your post is worth its weight in gold. A big thank you for sharing it here on copyblogger.

    Second, additional fun – if this post’s comments section doesn’t make you smile, what will?

    And finally a vivid demonstration of choice. You don’t choose critics – they’re a given. All the choice is in how you respond. My take on this is all you need is love, even though it does have its critics, too. All the more so.

    It’s not too often that I get rewards for being late. So thanks to everyone! :-]

  22. I think the youth have a lot of energy to them. This is why cursing and disregarding elders is not something taken into consideration. What’s that saying? Young, dumb and full of fun?

    I think the use of “mofo” attracts more young people than offends older. But as Bob said, that’s not really that smart for making money considering the older generation is where the $ is.

    For me the takeaway is that younger folk are more interested in attention and popularity amongst their peers than making money. The secondary takeaway is young people believe that with attention and popularity comes money – just like at Snapchat, a company that turned down a 3 billion dollar buyout. Snapchat has no revenue model – it’s a house of cards thats value is based on having a lot of young users.

    • Being in my mid-30s, I can’t help but love all this “young” talk you guys are throwing around. 🙂 I haven’t felt like a punk in a long time!

      Just to be clear – because I haven’t said much about my word choice and didn’t really want to – when it comes to my use of the word “mofo” in the Copy Hackers tagline, it’s not accidental and it’s not to be irreverent. I’m writing for my audience, and I’m kinda surprised to hear copywriters commenting here as if they’ve never heard of writing for a niche.

      “Mofo” is le mot juste for my audience…

      …it is an audience I know very well…

      …and it is definitely NOT comprised of wealthy peeps nearing retirement. 🙂

      I work primarily with bootstrapped and newly funded tech startups. Most of my readers are 25 to 40 years old, but some are in their 50s; all are pursuing their passions; none want to be bored to death by some uptight copywriter-chick who’s so scared of offending that she says nothing memorable at all. My readers need to be inspired to write differently and memorably – and, frankly, my tagline is memorable. Don’t like it? Then it’s not for you. And I’m 100% cool with that. I’d much rather have a small audience of fans I can be myself with than a large audience of people who couldn’t pick me out of a lineup.

      • Joanna: writing mofo in a public blog or forum doesn’t make you cool. It makes you rude, You say you work with young people, but I am not the people you work with. I am a reader of with blog, and I have a write to be spoken to in polite language. Your attitude is immature.

        • I loved the last two points in your latest blog entry, Bob:

          9–Correcting people does not endear you to them. My #1 rule in life is: do not give unsolicited advice. People think free
          advice is worth exactly what they paid for it: nothing.

          10–Be less argumentative. Contentious people are not fun to be around. Be more easygoing. If you are chomping at the bit to prove yourself right and others wrong, ask yourself: why?

    • What works for some won’t work for others and you can never make everyone happy. I think history shows us that those aren’t taking risks, however, will be left behind. And boy do I wish more people would put making money as #2, or even lower.

  23. I wish more business owners spent more cash on optimising for conversions rather than blindly chucking it at SEO and PPC.

    Some good tips here. I’d like to see something about how to do CRO with a low traffic site though for people who don’t get much traffic which makes statistical significance harder and test times too long to run.

  24. Call to action buttons are one of the easiest things that can boost your sales so it should be a priority to optimize the wording and feeling of the button. I’ve already contributed about this topic in conversion blogs and here a few tips.

    Go for the orange color. it generally contrasts with the white background and red bullets that are frequently used in pitches.

    Use words of interest: Get, My, You, Instant, Now, Free

    avoid at all costs “negative” words like risk, try, fear…

  25. Greg, obviously you think I am violating these rules. I do not agree. If a bum comes up to me in the street and spits on the sidewalk in front of me, I will say something. If a neighbor plays his radio loudly at 3am, same deal. This is no different. Joanna is an intelligent woman, and she can write an article about digital marketing without cursing. And she should. If I were to write mojo in my column in Target Marketing magazine, Melissa Ward would edit it out. I think the moderator should have done so here.

    • Just to interject before I close comments, “mofo” is not a curse word that we feel would require editing out. It is, at worst, a euphemism for a curse word, which is by definition a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt. As it stands, this particular euphemism has evolved into a term that means something other than its purported source, which gives it extra protection in our editorial view.

      So, that’s how you bring an off-topic discussion back to writing and language usage, which is what we generally talk about around here. See everyone next week. 😉

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