July 29, 2016 | Rachel Vaughn

Website Redesign, Step 8: Plan Your CTAs

Calls-to-Action, abbreviated as CTAs by most everyone in the marketing industry and pronounced see tee ay little snake by absolutely no one at all, are a compact and powerful tool to guide user behavior. A well-crafted and executed CTA can produce new leads and, ultimately, increase sales for your business.


A call-to-action (CTA) is any image or text that both asks the reader to take an action and gives them a way to do it. In many cases, CTAs are clickable images, like buttons that say "Click here to subscribe!" or stylish images with a messages. Other times, they're just simple in-text links.

To improve the click-through rates on your CTAs, you have to do more than toss up a generic offer with a form to fill out or button to click. Understanding the Anatomy of a CTA, their purpose, and where and how to use them matters just as much. When implementing a call-to-action, keep in mind the ancient and venerable G.I. Joe proverb: knowing is half the battle.

Cobra Command. Don't take inbound marketing advice from them. For Cobra Command, however, it’s hot fashion. 
Please don’t take inbound marketing advice from them.

During your website redesign process, keep the following in mind when deciding what CTAs to use, how to write and design them, and where they belong both on the site and your visitors’ stage of exploration.

Target Your Buyer Persona

The success of your business’ inbound marketing relies largely on your understanding of the target audience. Who are your services and products meant for? What industries do they work in? What problems do they have that your company is best equipped to solve?

Hopefully you’ve already asked yourself these questions throughout the redesign and proceeded accordingly, so the consideration should extend to your CTAs as well. If not, you can get up to speed quickly with our Buyer Persona Master Class.

Offer Wisely

CTAs with the best click-through and download rates often do two things: offer high value information and provide the best offer for each point of the buyer’s journey. Just as a blog subscription form or ebook would be unnecessary at the Purchase stage, a free consultation or demo offer could similarly put off a visitor at the Awareness or Evaluation stage.

GI Joe being attacked by a snake. Which CTA would you choose?

Which CTA might be more effective at this point in the buyer’s journey: 
“Download Our eBook on Escaping Outsized Mountain Reptiles” or
“Free Consultation with Lizard Co-Dependency Experts?”

Besides selecting the most appropriate CTA for the reader’s progress, it’s important to follow through on your promises. What you claim on the landing page and CTA ought to match up with what your reader receives upon download or contact with your sales team, from the title and the branding to the tone and content. This builds trust in your brand and your ability to deliver on future promises and, eventually, purchases.

Be Content-Conscious

Of course, customer engagement requires more than providing the right offer. You also have to show the reader why it’s right for them. According to HubSpot, the ideal length of a CTA is between 90 and 150 characters. Presumably, you’ve worked your textual sorcery to draw the reader to your landing page and provided some compelling reasons for them to fill out the contact form. Before (re)posting, review the copy to make sure that the tone matches between CTA and landing page, and that the reader gets the information they need.

Design with Purpose

User experience matters, even on an asset as small as a CTA. The color scheme, graphics, typography, and placement must perform the double duty of fitting with your overarching brand aesthetics and standing out enough to draw reader attention. Your designers must strike a balance between blending in and differentiating.

Navigation should be as uncluttered as possible, to minimize distractions away from the CTA and clearly define what visitors should do next. Placement matters, too. Don’t put important visual elements like a CTA, form, or submit button in places where they can be easily overlooked, ignored, or forgotten, like in a nondescript sidebar or at the top of the page far above the call-to-action.

Analyze (and Adapt to) the Metrics

By the end, you ought to have beautifully-designed CTA (or several) that addresses your potential customers' needs, targets a single stage of the buyer's journey, and includes concise and compelling writing. Now it’s time to make it live.

After adding the CTA to your site, pay close attention to who’s clicking on it and filling out the landing page form (or taking whatever action you want them to take) and what path they took to get there. Needless to say, this is much easier with closed-loop tracking from a marketing platform like HubSpot. When you have the data you need to determine what’s working and what isn’t, you can make adjustments to garner better returns. The knowledge you gain will help to make your future CTAs better.

GI Joe helping with your CTA creation by telling to reduce font size by "this much."

“More emojis and reduce the font size by this much.”

Your website design isn’t just an exercise in digitally cobbling together a bunch of words and stock photos, then hoping for the best. Going in without a plan is bound to waste not only your team's time, but a significant amount of company resources as well. And since we’re guessing you aren’t a gold brick factory with budget to burn, trust us when we say that having a comprehensive strategy for updating your site is vital. Every element counts, including your CTAs.

At VIEO, we’ve got years of experience in creating successful see tee ay little snakes (CTAs) that return value to our clients and generate new leads. In fact, there's one at the bottom of this very page!

Quick reminder—if you missed parts 1-7 of this series, here you go:

Website Redesign, Step 1: Benchmark Current Performance
Website Redesign, Step 2: Clarify Your Goals
Website Redesign, Step 3: Inventory Your Assets
Website Redesign, Step 4: Analyze the Competition
Website Redesign, Step 5: Incorporate Your UVP
Website Redesign, Step 6: Design for Your Ideal Customer
Website Redesign, Step 7: Optimize Your Content for SEO

Or, go ahead and read about the whole process at one time in our ebook on THIS VERY TOPIC! What a coincidence.

Free Website Consultation


Rachel Vaughn

Rachel Vaughn

As a content marketer for VIEO Design, Rachel Vaughn brings serious research chops and boatloads of personality to everything she writes for VIEO and our clients. In particular, she spends her time writing blog posts, website pages, workflow emails, and other marketing materials designed to engage readers and help them connect with VIEO and our clients.

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