Are you making these common call-to-action mistakes?

A Call To Action (CTA) is one of the most important functions on a landing page.

call to action mistakes

Written by Smokeylemon Team

4 October 2017 | 5 Minute(s) to read

A Call To Action (CTA) is one of the most important functions on a landing page. Usually shown as a button, image or text that prompts your website users to take action. Their purpose is nothing less than guiding customers to do what you want them to do. In this article, we’ll show some of our work with our client’s CTAs.

Creating a CTA may sound easy, but there are many factors that take part during the customer journey and can make a CTA absolutely useless., the world leader in the SEO industry, published a study that indicates CTA optimization drives the best results to keep a landing page cost-effective.

What they found in the study called “Psychoanalysis of Top 100 SaaS Landing Pages CTAs” is that most CTA issues fall under one of four categories:

1. Clarity

Some CTAs aren’t clear due to ambiguous text or lack of information. If you want to generate effective CTAs, make sure that the user has enough information on your service and finds reasons to take action. When creating content and CTAs on your landing pages, always think as an “early-stage searcher” that doesn’t have previous knowledge about your business.

Smokeylemon built and wrote the following landing page for Spotswood College:

Spotswood College call to action example

The CTA invites people to download the prospectus after they read information about the added value they can offer to Year 9 students. Click on the image to see the full landing page.

2. Timing

The study shows that many landing pages were offering CTAs that were not appropriate for where the users were in the buyer's journey. For example, if someone lands on your site for the first time, it’s not accurate to show them an automatic pop-up message asking them to “Subscribe now” to your email list. Give the user time to engage with your content, see what you have to offer and find reasons to subscribe.

We built the Studio 18 online store recently:

Studio 18 newsletter signup

Instead of automatic pop-ups, the email updates sign-up field can be found below their products. If the user liked the products and wanted to keep up-to-date with new collections, the ability to join the email list is consistently below whichever product or range captures their eye.

3. Friction

Friction is anything that gets in the way of conversions. Anything that annoys the customer and raises the probability to bounce or not take action. A good example of friction are contact forms: the more information you ask for (name, email, business, competitors, etc.) the more friction you're going to force on your landing page. 

In the example below a customer is presented with a form that helps them calculate the price of a home - that's a great idea for anyone wanting to know how much they need to budget for a new home, right! But wait… Firstly the home price is a given they know this from the fixed price to build the home provided on the page, what the user is expected to do now is fill out some extra costs that they are likely to incur, no problem, unless you have never built a house before, which we are guessing is the majority of their customers.

Example of a bad online form

Question 2 - Cost of section - they probably have an idea of that, so far so good.

Question 3 - Cost of site scraping… er… the website suggests $3000 as a minimum so I guess I’ll add a little more?

Question 4 - Services to site, again an approximation given but really I’m guessing at this point

Question 5 - Floor coverings, allow min of $55 per square meter, Ok, makes sense, now what’s the m2 of this house … um … it doesn’t say on the page, oh man now I have to do maths!!!

Question 6. Council fees - these vary widely so contact your reps …. Are you kidding me… now I have to ring someone!!!!


If the poor suffering user is still on this page they deserve a free house! This is a great example of friction.

4. Placement

Your CTA should be highlighted, visible and as obvious as possible. It should be easily noticed in a quick scan. Many landing pages have CTAs that get lost among the content of the page. They are, of course, ineffective.

Hooker Pacific’s homepage shows their current promotion on Self-Storage and invites people to get a free quote. This covers the majority of the home page and can be immediately spotted.

Hooker Pacific call to action

How to create a compelling CTA

To create a compelling call to action (CTA) that will engage the reader and work as a lead generation magnet follow the steps below. Remember they want to know what’s in it for them.


  1. Who the users are and what drives their needs?
  2. What will they get?
  3. How to take action?
  4. Where to take action?
  5. When to take action?
  6. Why to take action?
  7. [BUTTON TEXT] that summarises the above

For example:

  1. Are you a first home buyer but worried you don’t have enough to buy in good areas?
  2. Find out what areas are up and coming and still affordable
  3. Leave your name and email
  4. In the form below
  5. Today
  6. And download my insider report on New Plymouth’s hottest affordable homes
  7. [Send Me The Hottest Homes Now]

Are you getting the number of conversions that you expect?

Do your website’s CTAs scream CLICK ON ME or are the meekly asking for the privilege of being touched? 

Are you a website owner wanting more customers to contact you over your competition?

A Call To Action (CTA) is one of the most important functions on a landing page.

We can help you generate more leads to come from your website. Just click on the button below and start your first step toward getting better leads.

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