How you present a call to action (join a list, make a purchase, etc.) can significantly impact your success rate. Make sure the request is clear, articulate, personal, and appeals to what the reader wants. Test different phrasing to determine what works best for your audience.

10 Case Studies To Help You Get More Clicks

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Regardless of whether you want people to join your email list, make a purchase, follow you on social media or read the rest of an article, you’ll most likely need them to click on something. This “something” is how you call your visitors and readers to action.

There are many ways to do this, and the words you choose can have a big impact. You’ll need to do some testing to find what gets the best response from your audience. To give you an idea of where to start, here are 10 case studies you can learn from.

1. What Role Does Relevance Have?

Unbounce reported on a test WriteWork ran on button text:


“Read Full Essay Now” is the winner; “Get Instant Access Now” decreased conversions by 34%. This is most likely an issue of relevance – people are reading part of the essay and want to read the rest of it. “Read Full Essay Now” satisfies that need better.

2. Are You Asking or Telling?

ABTests reported on a test Rypple ran on the text in their buttons:


“Respond Now” brought in a 13% more clicks than “Give Feedback.” This might be because “Respond Now” sounds more direct, and influences the person to act promptly, especially with the exclamation point added at the end. “Give” also tends to entail more sacrifice, i.e. you give gifts to people.

3. Does “Free” Trump “Try?”

ABTests reported on a test Firefox ran on their button text:


“Download Now – Free” had 4% more conversions. This might be because of the word “free.” Other tests have also shown that using “free” can bring in more results.” It’s possible that the results were close because “Try Firefox 3″ sounds less intimidating than downloading something – the next study will show why that might be the case.

4. Do Your Words Scare People Away?

We posted on our blog about a test the Cabot Heritage Corporation ran on their sign-up form buttons:


“Start my free subscription” decreased conversions by 22.9% in just two days. The word “subscription” entails more commitment, and that can scare anyone away. Notice the winning text also has the word “Free” in it.

5. Is It Clear What You Want To Happen?

ABTests reported on a test Dustin Curtis ran on his link text:


The former brought in 172% more clicks. This could be because it was more clear what was happening. “I’m on Twitter” could have just been linked to Twitter’s homepage, which wouldn’t be very helpful. The winning link makes it obvious you will be set up to follow Dustin Curtis on Twitter if you click that link. It’s also more actionable; it tells you what you should do.

6. Does “Free” Always Win?

ABTests reported on a test InDefero ran on navigation bar links:


“See plans and pricing” had a 52% increase in clicks. “Free Hosting” is certainly desirable, but it doesn’t communicate that a lot of information would be shared. It would be interesting to run this test somewhere other than the navigational bar; visitors may be looking for specific information in navigation links, so a special offer may be better in a different spot on the page.

7. What Does Your Audience Want?

Visual Website Optimizer reported on a test Veeam ran on a link in their sidebar:


“Request pricing” brought in a 161.6% increase in clicks. It’s actually pretty easy to determine why this happened; Veeam surveyed their audience and found that most people wanted an easier way to find pricing on the site. This test confirmed by changing “quote” to “pricing” that people were looking for that word.

8. Are You Using the Right Vocabulary?

ABTests reported on a test Gamesforlanguage.com ran on their button text:


“Instant Demo!” increased clicks by 83%. While “play” sounds more fun, “instant” means it will be quick and less time-consuming. “Demo” has a helpful connotation – I’ll learn what it is I’m getting into before being thrown into it.

9. Is It Better To Be Personal?

ABTests reported on a test Xemion Web Designer Directory ran on their navigation link text:


“Add Your Company” increased clicks by 43%. Both of these communicate the same goal, but “Advertising” doesn’t speak in terms of “your company.” This personal touch makes it feel like Xemion is speaking to you, not at you. “Yes, I would love to add my company to your directory,” might be the answer in the visitor’s mind.

10. Do Multiple Requests Impact Each Other?

Sometimes the words of other calls for action you have included can influence click-through rates.Visual Website Optimizer reported on a test by Artsy Editor that demonstrated this:


Artsy Editor’s goal was to get people to their pricing page. The first one had the best result – 47% increase in click-throughs to that page. The second one brought in a 17% increase and the last one had no improvement. Having the price in the button could have created more friction; people weren’t thinking about the cost until they saw it in that button. Artsy Editor might want to test different price points, but it’s clear that people prefer a demo/trial offer over a pitch to buy something.

Don’t Forget To TEST!

Researching case studies and experiments done by other companies is a great way to figure out what you should test. Keep in mind that you won’t necessarily have the same results – your audience is your audience and they might respond differently. These results are not rules you should be following; think of them as inspiration to run your own split tests.

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