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Be Bossy: Use These Call To Action Examples to Move Readers to Act

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

Readers expect to be told what to do. But writing an Ask can feel awkward – like you’re being bossy or salesy. 

When you have some call to action examples to use as a template, you can have confidence to ask with clarity. 

You know how it is: your reader has a need. You’ve addressed that need in an engaging letter … email … landing page … blog post. Then you reached that point in your writing when you’ve got an icky feeling. 

You need to tell her what to do.

If you don’t give your reader clear directions, she will toss the letter or click off the page without taking a step. Yet you’re about to give directions to a complete stranger.  Why should she trust you?

With some simple call to action examples in hand, you have a place to start. Even better is a simple formula that you can customize any time you need to write an Ask.

A simple formula: 1 + 1 = CTA

This quick call to action formula helps you move beyond the cringey feeling of selling. Get started by writing down just two words. The formula looks like this: 

1 (verb) + 1 (reward-based word) = CTA

1. Start with a verb

Start with a verb – the action you want your reader to take. When you use an action word, you cut through all the noise demanding your reader’s attention and point her in the direction she should go. A verb shows her exactly what’s expected: buy, click, register, share, swipe, tell.

Use these call to action examples to make an Ask. With Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #copywriting #WritingTips

2. Add a reward-based word

Add a reward-based word to your verb. By reward, I mean a benefit. Show your reader she can save time (now, today, immediately), save money or aggravation (yours, more), gain special access (here, this, how), or build relationship (us, me). 

Our human brains are wired with a reward system in our circuitry, says science writer Deborah Halber. When you offer a “reward,” you add a bit of anticipation or urgency or longing. “It’s not the reward itself,” says Deborah. “But the expectation of a reward that most powerfully influences emotional reactions and memories.” 

1 + 1 = CTA. The formula is really that simple. One verb. One reward-based word. Let’s look at an example.

Put the formula into practice: call to action examples

Imagine you operate a website for saltwater aquarium enthusiasts. You are offering a free PDF on your website that explains how to clean a personal saltwater aquarium. 

You’ve teed up your reader by addressing his need: debris accumulates and the water gets cloudy in the tank, but cleaning it is messy and takes time. Your landing page content explains the offer. Owners can have a sparkling clean tank in just 30 minutes if they follow the easy instructions in the freebie.

Now it’s time for you to invite readers to hand over their email address to receive the free PDF.

Look at the ways you can create a call to action entirely from two little words. Simply combine a verb + a reward-based word (1 + 1).

  • Click + Here = Click here
  • Claim + Yours = Claim yours
  • Download + Now = Download now
  • Get + Yours = Get yours
  • Download + Today = Download today
  • Grab + This = Grab this

You can also use this template as a jumpstart to customize your call to action.  For instance, let’s say you decided to use “Download now” as your starting point. You could add to that further with, “Download now and clean your tank before dinnertime.” Or what starts as "Grab this" can expand to “Grab this today so your fish stay healthy.”

Start with a verb. Add a reward-based word. Dress it up if you like. Bottom line: you’ve got a call to action.

Call to action examples

Here’s a list of call to action examples that use this simple 1 + 1 formula: a verb plus a reward-based word.

1. Act now

2. Activate immediately

3. Add yours

4. Adopt yours

5. Apply here

6. Buy now

7. Call us

8. Check this

9. Claim yours

10. Click here

11. Complete yours

12. Discover yours

13. Donate now

14. Download yours

15. Email me

16. Explore more

17. Find out

18. Get yours

19. Give here

20. Grab yours

21. Join now

22. Learn more

23. Like us

24. Open immediately

25. Order yours

26. Post this

27. Repost here

28. Retweet this

29. Read more

30. Refer a friend

31. Register now

32. Reserve yours

33. Respond now

34. RSVP today

35. Schedule yours

36. See how

37. Share this

38. Show us

39. Signup here

40. Snag yours

41. Start yours

42. Submit now

43. Swipe here

44. Tell us

45. Tweet this

46. Visit us

47. Volunteer now

48. Write us

Reward-based words to use in your call to action

Not sure what reward-based words to use? Refer to this list.

  • Here
  • How
  • Immediately
  • Me
  • More
  • Now
  • This
  • Today
  • Us
  • Yours

It’s okay to be bossy

Remember this: your reader expects to be told what to do. It’s okay to think you’re being bossy. In reality, you’re helping her. A simple call to action gives her clarity about what to do next.

Go ahead. Act now. Write yours.

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