A Call to Action or “CTA” is a specifically constructed statement designed to urge a website visitor to perform a certain action.  Calls to Action are commonly used as a Conversion Optimization technique in Internet Marketing to entice someone to “convert” from a visitor to a desired classification based on the action performed.  Such actions commonly include clicking on an advertisement, purchasing a product, contacting a service thus generating a business lead, subscribing to a newsletter or other publication, among a variety of others. 

CTA's Include 3 Main Elements:

Calls to Action usually include some form of time-related statement plus the action the advertiser wishes the individual to perform and commonly the benefit to be obtained by doing such.  As an example an advertiser selling a product on an ecommerce website may institute a particular sale and place this information into a Search Engine Sponsored Ad.  The advertiser then states in the ad that there is a “25% of sale today only.  Click here now to save!”. 

The ad included all three elements.  The action desired was for the person to Click-through to the webpage; the benefit to the person was to save 25% and there were two time-related statements (one stating that the discount was only good for today and the other included the use of “now”).   Although the ad included both an action, a benefit and two time-statements, the actual CTA was “Click here now to save!”.  The ad “calls the person to act” by stating what to do (“click here”); the benefit of doing it (“to save [money, time, etc]”); and when to do it (“now”).

Calls to Action set in the mind of the person a feeling of urgency:

Benefits in a CTA can be either positive or negative in description but in both cases they represent a benefit to the user.  If an advertiser wants people to sign a petition banning something then they are portraying that which they want banned as a negative.  The user would perceive a benefit by banning that thing.  Negative benefits are as effective as positive ones and can be more so if the user has a personal incentive to become involved.

Time-statements can vary in form but commonly utilize terms which impel the user to take action immediately.  Such time-statements are specifically designed to do so as the user is more likely to take action while reading the benefit statement as they are actively thinking of the benefits to them.  Such “striking while the fire is hot” techniques yield excellent results, thus making urgent Calls-to-Action the most used and most successful type of CTA.