A CTA, or call-to-action, is one of the most powerful tools in a copywriting toolbox. It’s a crucial element of a digital strategy and one that can mean the difference between a successful page that converts or one that bounces the customer away.
Over the past 6 years, I’ve created and written content for lots of clients across different sectors, including the travel industry. In this post, I’m going to share with you 10 tips for writing effective travel-specific CTAs that will help to increase your conversion rate.
There’s also a free smorgasbord of call-to-action examples you can request at the end of this article.
What is a CTA?
A call-to-action (CTA) is simply a nudge to the user to take the desired action. That nudge will take them further down the conversion funnel and lead them eventually to the conversion you want them to make, whether that’s a subscription sign up, buying a product or something else.
Why call-to-actions are important
A well-crafted CTA is a two-way street and can be helpful for both the business and the user. For a business, it’s your chance to persuade someone to do something advantageous. For example, buying a product, downloading gated content, sharing to social media, signing up for your newsletter, or reading more about your products or services.
It increases interaction with your site and the likelihood of a user coming back for more. You gain their trust and a certain level of loyalty, which, particularly when pitted against an oversaturated market, will make your business stand out.
For the user, a call-to-action tells them exactly what they need to do next and the benefits for them. These could be:
- More knowledge
- Perhaps a free download
- A simple checkout.
The fewer steps they have to take to get to the desired goal, the better. They’re more likely to remember their experience with you as being easy and fruitful.
How to write CTAs that convert
There are times when a simple “Buy Now”, or “Click here” are sufficient, but while people like knowing what to do, there’s something a little icky about being commanded to do it. Pushy sales are out and incentive-based direction is in. Leave your customers satisfied and confident in you as a business.
This set of questions can help you to discern what approach to take.
- What is the reader’s goal?
- What action do I want the reader to take?
- What information does the user need to know before they can take action?
- What questions or objections should I cover before the CTA?
- What is the competition – what other solution might they be considering?
- How can I remove any remaining resistance?
The CTA must prompt the reader to take action that fulfils their goal. For example, if they’re on a product page, they’re probably there to buy so directing them to sign up for a newsletter won’t give them what they need.
Once you’re clear on the elements needed on the page, there are lots of creative ways to make your CTAs attractive. Some will work better on certain types of pages.
With this content funnel that shows the user journey, we can also see what that means for the business goals and the type of CTAs at each stage.
10 ways to write compelling CTAs for the Travel sector
1) Short and sweet
Your CTA isn’t the time to woo someone or skip around what you really want. Don’t pose a question or give people time to think about all the reasons they shouldn’t click that button. Avoid lengthy text so that your message is able to stand out.
For example, Kayak’s private deals signup CTA simply states “Let’s do this”:
2) Make it personal
Writing in the first person, using ‘my’ instead of ‘your’ helps to put your audience in the driving seat. Research has shown that clicks significantly improve just using this change in wording alone. For travel companies it can be as simple as changing ‘Book your seat’ to ‘Book my seat’ or, like British Airways, having a ‘Manage my booking’ section.
3) Align with your audience
Contrary to the belief that you should hammer your audience with the opportunity to convert at every possible point, a good CTA works in tandem with great copy.
In fact, research shows that emails with a single CTA perform better than those with multiple ones. If this is a landing page with not a huge amount of copy, then your button will probably appear above the fold. But if it’s a guide or a how-to article, it should probably appear further down and below the fold, once you’ve given the user all the information they need.
In the case of Easyjet, as with a lot of holiday sites, a general search bar often appears at the top of most pages. But as this is a landing page specifically for the destination of Malta, there is information about the sun-splashed Mediterranean islands before any specific recommendations are made, bringing the ‘View holiday’ CTA below the fold.
4) Eye-catching design
Whether it’s bold copy, contrasting colours or larger font size, an eye-catching design that makes your CTA stand out can increase the click-through rate.
On The Beach certainly creates a sense of fun with these banners and cuts through the noise with vibrant colours and clear, large copy to draw us in. Working with your design and development teams to match your buttons with your brand, while also creating ones that stand out is key. A button that blends in will probably be ignored.
5) Use numbers or data points
There are various ways to include numbers or data points in your CTAs, including how many people have already downloaded a free resource, how much a user might save by signing up today or what benefit they might get once they do sign up, like 15% off their next order.
While a lot of businesses shy away from mentioning prices in CTAs, especially if it’s a high ticket item or if costs can vary depending on a number of factors, there can be real value in it. If a user sees your prices and still clicks through, then you know you have a very interested potential customer and a higher chance of a conversion.
If they click through without any indication of price and then get scared off, you may have lost some trust and sent people elsewhere. It’s one to test out, to see if it works for your goals. This example from First Choice shares the benefits and savings with money off deals:
6) Use testimonials and reviews
Social proof is a very valuable tool and by placing it near your CTAs you build trust and increase the chances of converting your reader. Position reviews and testimonials directly below your CTAs to get better results. Just below a CTA for an Italian holiday on Trailfinders is a large Trustpilot validation. The social proof is front and centre.
7) Minimise the risk
There’s a reason so many businesses offer free trials. It works!
Being able to try before you buy is a great way to reduce the risk for customers, particularly for service-based businesses. But what if it’s a physical product? Free delivery, free returns and a clear and easy to access returns and refunds policy will help sway your customers. Virgin Holidays include this set of USPs that help them stand out from their competitors. A clear and risk-reducing set of benefits to help you ‘book your holiday with peace of mind:
8) Reinforce your value proposition
A value proposition is not a slogan, a catchphrase or a positioning statement. ‘Continue reading’ doesn’t really give anyone a compelling reason to take action. It should clarify the end benefit for the user, as TravelSupermarket has done here. What’s in it for the reader? Will they save money, get a freebie, or be inspired? What’s the promise behind the click?
9) Create a sense of urgency
The internet is a place of distraction, so limited-time deals and short discount windows can sometimes help urge people to take action quickly, instead of putting it off.
Last Minute shows offers of the week with a lightning bolt countdown in the top left corner, meaning it’s one of the first things you see and the limited time of the deal is instantly reinforced.
10) Be clear about where your link is headed
There’s nothing worse as a user than clicking through to a page that’s confusing and doesn’t match your intent or what you thought you were being directed to.
For example, if you say “click for a quote” but don’t then send the reader to a page that gathers info to arrange a quote, then you’ll frustrate them and lose their trust immediately. And if you were booking the hotels from the film Pretty Woman, you’d more than likely want to see pictures of them. Not just the cost or the details.
Here, Holiday Pirates does not disappoint, with instantly recognisable interior and exterior shots of movie magic:
Don’t know where to start?
Get yourself our free help sheet of over 50 CTA examples to help you on your way, by requesting a copy here. Our team of digital experts at Evolved Search can help change the way people interact with you online, so if you’re looking to optimise your website copy, increase conversions, and align with your customer needs, get in touch.