CTA mythbusting

A call to action (CTA) is the most important part of any marketing campaign. But it is often overlooked and poorly implemented. Here we look at the biggest myths and how to avoid them. 

A call to action is a well-known and often-used phrase in sales and marketing. But what is a CTA, and why is it so important?

Simply put, a call to action is an instruction to your reader, user or buyer. It tells them what action they can take – or what action you recommend they take. It is designed to move them closer to the final point of sale. 

However, as well-known as they may be, there are some myths that surround both them, and their usage, that mean they are not as effective as they could be.  

1) People hate being sold to

(Image sourced from Google)

They estimate that average person is subjected to approximately 3,600 sales messages every day. Radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, blogs, social media, billboards – it’s a never-ending stream of ‘buy mine’. 

It’s easy to see how the good old call to action has become a scape goat. The problem with these calls to action in advertising is that they are generic. They are aimed at as wide an audience as possible and are, generally, focused on ‘buy now’ or ‘find out more’. They don’t take the buyer journey into account. 

If you are asking your prospect to ‘buy now’ and they are still in the research phase, then the call to action will go largely ignored. 

When people are in the market to buy – or take action – they want to know how to. If you aren’t providing clear calls to action on your website, you are creating a poor user experience.   

Make sure that the action you are asking people to take is relevant and will deliver the result they are after. 

2) Calls to action are old fashioned

(Image sourced from Google)

There is a school of thought that suggests a call to action falls into the old-fashioned 
form of traditional marketing – alongside direct mail sales letters and fax mailers. But the reality is, they are the foundation of every marketing campaign. Without action, marketing cannot drive results. The call to action itself is not old fashioned. Sometimes how it is presented can be. 

Calls to action on social media are often forgotten because of this old-fashioned misconception. But a “Shop Now”, “Subscribe” or “Download” button can refocus the goal of the page. Social media, while great for engagement, should also achieve results. 

3) Calls to action should appear at the end 

(Image sourced from Google)

Another common misconception is the positioning of a call to action. There is a school of thought that you need to make a full and compelling case before asking the reader to take action. 

The problem with this approach is that is does not take the buyer journey into account. 

Not only that, but we live in an age of ever decreasing literacy. Readers scan, they don’t ready every word. So, assuming they will make it all the way to the end is a mistake. 

Think about where they are in their buyer journey, what information they require and what action they will likely need or want to take next. 

Use these calls to action at all stages in your content – right at the beginning, throughout the main body and, of course, at the end. 


4) A call to action should be a button

(Image sourced from Google)

This is probably one of the most common misconceptions. A call to action does not need to be a button. In fact, the right text call to action within a blog can be far more effective than an emotive button. 

It’s not just about getting in touch. It’s about taking the desired action from that particular page, advertisement or point in the content. 

If your head line and lead in copy has made a compelling enough case, the reader may prefer to take an early action – particularly if that action is another soft stage in the sales process. If the CTA was to buy something, then its positioning may need further consideration. 

A marketing activity without a CTA is a little bit like a vehicle without wheels – not fit for purpose. 

If you’d like help better defining your CTAs, then get in touch.