By Gil Dekel.
A Call to Action (CTA) is a line of text, a phrase, or an image that evokes a response from a user.
How to develop and write a Call to Action?
I had the the idea of a ‘DEFINE/ALIGN’ method, which I think will be useful to you. You will need to follow 2 steps in the process:
- Define the benefits, so you are specific about what is useful for the learners
- Align the benefits with a response, so users take action.
Let us suppose you want users to click a link on your Articulate Storyline tutorial. The link will take users to a specific website (the target website).
First, start with DEFINING the specific benefit of the target website. In the following example, the target is the Skills4Study Campus website. You have identified a useful page on this website, which offers students advice on how to write assignments for different tasks.
The benefit can be defined as: ‘Skills4Study covers guidance on writing for different tasks.’
This sentence alone does not necessarily call users to a specific action. It does not require that users ‘do something’… The users may read the sentence and may be left asking themselves ‘so what do I need to do now?…’ or they may ask ‘where is the link to click?’
To help users take action, you need to take a second step. You will need to ALIGN the benefits to actions. This means that the benefits should now be written (or designed) in a way that inspire users to take action (to click a link, in our case).
To do so, start with a verb, and then add words that relate to the website’s benefit. In our case, students will need to read the content in the target website, so the words ‘read more’ are aligned to what they need to do in order to benefit from the target’s website resource.
You could therefore use the CTA ‘Click to read more.’
If the target content is a video, you could say ‘Play video.’
‘Read’ and ‘Play video’ are standard words in CTAs. More inspiring words and phrases to motivate users into actions are ‘click for tips’ or ‘show me how’.
CTAs are made of short phrases that take little time to read. As such, they reduce overload of information, and can ‘stick’ to user’s short memory easily, making it easier to follow. Being short they are also easier to work with when you want to ‘convert’ them into graphics. CTAs also fit small screens better.
What is Call to Action?
CTAs ‘inspire’ learners to take actions. For exampls, ‘actions’ might include clicking a web link, doing a quiz or watching a video.
The first word in a CTA is usually an imperative verb, for example: ‘click’, ‘download’, or ‘call’.
If you are trying to get users to do something, then you want to be specific and make it clear what you want them to do, and how they can do so. A CTA is a form of communication that is both specific and directive.
Gil Dekel. 14 February 2017. Update April 2017.
Megaphone photo – by GraphicMama-team/Pixabay. Used with permission. Edited by Gil Dekel.