Call to Actions: You’re Doing them WRONG

What is a Call to Action?

One could loosely define call to actions as brief instructions for proceeding. Really, a call to action (CTA) is any sort of request or guide, instructing a prospect to take next steps. These can — and should — be given face to face, on the phone, in an email, or even in a blog.

CTAs can range from downloading an eBook (a great way to get contact information for someone you don’t yet know) to calling or filling out a form for more info (which gives you a defined reason to contact your prospect and helps you understand what they’re looking for).

CTAs could have very positive results- generating a lead, setting an appointment, or even a sale.

Why You Need a Call to Action

Call to actions are important and very necessary in order to move forward in a relationship with a prospect. Often times, prospects aren’t sure what steps to take next or they aren’t committed to the process enough to go out of their way to figure out what those should be. CTAs provide a clear, actionable next step that can encourage and help a prospect to move the relationship forward.

Elements of a Good Call to Action

· Give your prospect clear instructions

· Limit their options

· Offer an incentive (often a free download)

· Make it visually pleasing and attention grabbing

· Make sure it stands out

· Provide an expectation on time

· Keep it interesting by using unique CTAs instead of generic “Subscribe”

Common Call to Action Mistakes to Avoid

1. Providing too many choices

Prospects should receive two choices at most — anything more forces them to make unnecessary decisions and makes it harder to advance the sales lifecycle. Providing a limited amount of choices also builds an environment where the prospect feels in control, while still allowing you to control the direction of the relationship.

2. Not showing value-add

Is the value a prospect gets from taking action being put on a call list? If the prospect doesn’t know that they’ll benefit from taking action, they are less likely to do anything.

3. No urgency

If there is no forced sense of urgency, prospects will likely pass it up. People are motivated to take action if they think they’re going to miss out.

4. No landing page on company website

The only thing worse than sending a prospect to a generic services or homepage instead of a landing page is giving them a broken link. Make sure your link works and send them where they need to be to take next steps.

5. No follow up

Once you have their information, now it’s your turn to take action. Following up with a prospect after they have downloaded an eBook, or submitted an online injury is your chance to show the prospect your listening skills. Have a conversation with that prospect about ONLY what they inquired about. People listen better about things they want to know! Having a sales tool like LeewardBA’s StratusCompass allows you to tailor your CRM database of customers to track things like product interests, to favorite sports teams. Using StratusCompass CRM can also enable your team to send automated birthday emails, gifts, and more.

6. No call to action

I think you understand this one…

Best Examples



This e-mail came from Hubspot as a follow-up to their Social Media Video Week. At the end of the e-mail, they provide a single call to action. While it isn’t very visually pleasing, it does stand out in their brand’s signature color. This CTA is simple and clear. Hubspot ties in their last engagement with me, participation in their Video Week, by inviting me to add them on a platform where they post videos.



Buffer really knows what they’re doing on the web and their CTAs almost always hit the mark. This pop-up is visually pleasing and attention grabbing, without being annoying since it was found in the corner of the page. The user’s gain is evident- getting to amplify Instagram marketing- and their next step is clear-just start planning.


This is UpWork’s home page of their website and using call to actions they’ve been able to make it clear what users should do next. This entire page is very visually pleasing and the coordination of the composition is well thought out. The “Get Started” button is placed in the center of the page and eyes are drawn to it. Users know what their gain from clicking the button is, even if they’re not positive exactly how to get there.

These are just a couple examples…

What are some of your favorite examples of CTAs? Do you have an engaging CTA on your website or newsletter that makes you proud?Tweet your best CTA example & your worst CTA miss! Call or e-mail us for help improving your CTAs!

About Leeward Business Advisors

Leeward Business Advisors is a Wisconsin-based corporation that provides business strategy planning, business improvement implementation, and full IT operational support. They offer world class Cloud Computing services, Cloud brokerage, Managed IT services, and a full US based Support Service Desk (called Quick Answers). Michael Polzin, CEO has 20+ years of enterprise business and technology experience gained while working at Allstate Insurance and Microsoft Corporation. Jason Klein, CTO has 15+ years delivering effective and efficient technology to Midwest companies.

Winners of KABA’s 2016 Fast Five Award




Gen Z Marketer Passionate About Communities

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Cass Polzin

Cass Polzin

Gen Z Marketer Passionate About Communities

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