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Killer Call-to-Action Phrases That Will Drive Conversion

Call-to-action phrasesPaid search is one of the most effective ways to grow your online business, and call-to-action phrases are one of the most important elements of successful search engine marketing. But search engine results pages (SERPs) are highly competitive arenas. With all these businesses going after the same customers in the same place, it's more important than ever to refine your call-to-action phrases so they're irresistibly clickable.

The Call-to-Action Phrase

The best known call-to-action phrase (CTA) is "Buy Now." But while this may be exactly what you want a visitor to do, it's not a very enticing message. In a search engine marketing (SEM) context, you must consider that when your ad appears, it will appear as one of many others. Design and page placement matter, but the difference between being passed over and actually getting your customer to "Buy Now" lies in the wording of your CTA.

The Psychology of Search

Why is the phrase "Buy Now" so prevalent if it's not very enticing? At the heart of this CTA is an appeal to the impulse purchaser (according to, that's 5 out of 6 consumers). This is useful if your product costs less than $100 (that same survey reported that only one in four consumers made an impulse buy of more than $100 over the past three months) or doesn't require much in the way of a time commitment. For items that fall outside these limits, it's important to understand why people are searching for them online in the first place.

Of course, people search for things they want to buy — but no one's chief motivation is to give companies money in exchange for goods. Every individual conducting a search wants to solve a problem. The CTAs that convert are the ones that help solve problems, like Evernote's click-worthy "Remember Everything." So how can you take advantage of phrases that make sense for your business?

1. Be Timely

By gently invoking a ticking clock, you can help activate a sense of urgency that just might lead to an impulse purchase. Instead of the vague and easily overlooked:

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2. Help Them Save

People love saving money. So, by default, if you help your customer save money, they'll love you for it. There are many examples of phrases that help consumers identify savings.

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3. Offer a Solution

You're in business for a reason. Present that reason to your customers plainly, so they can see how your product or service will help them solve their dilemma. Avoid generic phrases that don't speak directly to your customer, such as

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With these general guidelines for writing CTAs, your SEM will garner not just more clicks but more conversions as well.

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