Designing CTA buttons that convert

I admit, I don’t think about call to actions as much as I should. I know they’re important, but my day-to-day draws my attention toward the bigger UX picture for myself and for my clients.

And then I learned that the right call to action can lift conversions by over 100%. What?!

So without further ado, here’s the skinny on designing CTA buttons that convert:

1) Color
The data is inconclusive on what background colors work best for call to actions, though it should be something that sets it apart from the rest of the page. I like to design sets of CTA buttons for my clients with color schemes that allude to action hierarchies (primary actions, secondary actions, tertiary actions…).

2) Font
Serif or sans serif? Well, neither one offers a clear advantage during the conversion process. Though most digital designers (myself included) favor sans serif for CTAs because they’re easier to read in tight, digital spaces.

3) Size
Not much information here, either. But obviously, it should be touch friendly, with enough margin and padding (or whitespace, if you speak print) to support readability.

4) Shape
Alright, now we’re getting somewhere. Studies have shown that the more a button looks like a button, the more users will click said button. That means implementing rounded corners and drop shadows (if you can swing it). And incorporating gradients and and 3D interactions (if they work with your overall design).

Studies have also shown that users click on buttons more often than text links.

5) COPY*
*Yes, the bolded-all-caps-plus-asterisk means THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT. When it comes to conversions, conversion copywriters have proven that your button copy owns the show.

  • Words like “Sign Up” and “Download” are okay, but vague
  • Affirmative, first person calls to action, such as “Show me my quotes” work well
  • Affirmative, first person calls to action that work WITH the headline work really, really well

[ headline ] Quickly get your UX back on track
[ button ] Show me how

Note that changing a headline alone had minimal impact on conversions. Your button copy really is where it’s at.

As always, make sure to test, test and test some more until you find what works.

I honestly cannot believe that color has no true bearing on conversions, but I guess that means more color choices for you and I. Bright side, baby.

Until next time,