In marketing, a call to action (CTA) is an instruction to the audience to provoke an immediate response, usually using an imperative verb.

The Design Dilemma … and Opportunity

The Call to Action (CTA) is often considered to be the most important thing on the webpage. And that’s true, but there’s more.  The power of the primary, simplistic CTA is that it is straightforward.  But if I’m not convinced just yet, then I may be looking for more compelling arguments.  I could still have questions, like “What is this thing?” or “Why should I care?”

Interaction design is a dialog with the audience.  Our primary agenda is to get our message out there. We also need to anticipate the audience’s response.

As an Interaction Designer, I am reluctant to clutter up the presentation.  As an Information Architect, my tendency is to explain everything.  It can be a struggle.


Here are examples of what I mean by useful redundancy:


s.a. “Call Now!The Button is the primary – and loudest – CTA.  It’s short. Usually only one or two words (often followed by an exclamation point).  There’s extra credit when it indicates what action you’re taking.  A generic CTA like “Do it” is certainly a call to action, but … what action?

The Value Proposition

s.a.”Make more money” This secondary CTA answers the question What’s in it for me?  It’s usually a single concise statement somewhere near the the primary CTA.  It tells me why I want to do this.


s.a. “Start your own business.” This is a explanation – usually in a larger body of text – that provides a memorable, explanatory soundbite.  It tells me what will happen when I do this.


These 3 examples demonstrate what I call useful redundancy.  It’s different from mere repetition.  Each CTA urges you to act.  Each does so using a different message.

  • Note:  This is not the same as having multiple different CTA choices on the same page (i.e. “Do this”, “Do that”, “Do the other thing”).  That’s a whole different issue.

Each of the CTA’s – and I consider each of them to be CTA’s – should be “live” and actionable, because I may decide to act at each of those points in the interaction.


 “Saying yes” should be as easy as possible.


the TakeAway

Path mapping (how I got to closure) can be valuable in terms of determining which CTA-hooks are most effective with which groups … and possibly why.

These insights enrich the “customer relationship”.