Chapter 78. The Call-To-Action Formula

Tiny changes in copy can make huge differences in results. The more important a button is, the more you should consider the details.

You can follow this formula for text on anything you want people to click:

Verb + Benefit + Urgent Time/Place

I have personally increased clicks on a button by 400% just by changing the text, and let me tell you: if you want your boss to think you’re a wizard, this is the lesson for you.

Verb

The verb is the action word: get, buy, see, try, upgrade, download, register, win, lose... whatever. This should be first, because it gets to the point immediately and turns the button into a command.

Benefit

Sometimes the verb and the benefit are the same thing, like the word “upgrade”; it is both the action and the benefit. But in a phrase like “Download Version 2 Now!” the new version is the benefit. In the phrase “Lose 5 kilograms today!” the benefit is losing five kilograms. You get the idea. Just make sure the benefit is a benefit to the user, not the website. A phrase like “Become a Member” has no clear benefit for the user, but the person who owns the site thinks it sounds great.

Urgent Time or Place

Words like “now,” “today,” or “in 1 minute!” provide a time frame that is urgent and feels easy. Words like “here” or “this” tell users that the button itself is what they are looking for. “Like This” or “Start Here” are common examples.

On a button that says “Start Here!” you get an action, a benefit, and a place. In my experience, ...

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