How to Create Effective Call-to-Actions and Why Marketing Isn’t as Sleazy as you May Think

Look, there isn’t much to online marketing.

At least that’s what I’m starting to (re)discover the more I put myself and my business out there.

See, the typical negative associations with marketing—like over-the-top email popups designed to make you feel bad for closing them or overly sensationalized copy in general are only one side to what marketing can be.

Love ’em or hate ’em, these kinds of things actually work. You wouldn’t see them all over the web if they didn’t and the truth is morality doesn’t matter much when it comes to getting the one thing a marketer cares about:


…and despite your own differences in approach, that is the one thing you and these “sleazy” marketers have in common.

In fact, you’ve been a marketer your whole life whether you’d like to admit it or not.

I know I couldn’t admit it

Think about the last thing you wanted — what did you do to get it?

Or, try this — before you go out for an interview or a date, what do you do?

You spray cologne to smell nice, put on nice clothes to look your best, clean out any of the junk in your teeth from your last meal, and run through those weird rituals that only you know about to get ready.

You get the best version of yourself ready so you have, in your eyes, the best shot at getting what you want. You’re marketing yourself (the product) to a person (the consumer) to get it (the result).

Marketers love complex formulas, but I think we can all agree that’s pretty basic.

Now all of this is no different than the hours you spend studying for an exam or even the time you put into working your body in the gym — creating the best version of yourself gets you the best results.

On a certain level we all know this, but most of us don’t make the mental leap back to marketing.

In a shortsighted tweet I sent out a couple of days ago, I made this mistake too:

Admittedly, I sent that tweet out on an emotional high as a customer of mine had just left an encouraging comment and it didn’t take long before good friend and Kolakube Legend™, Sean Davis, set me straight (as he so often has in the past):

And he was right. Technically speaking, I only really do this stuff through my newsletter and Twitter account. But a lot of what I do here at Kolakube can also be tied back to marketing.

Whether it’s the way I word my headlines to how I arrange the layouts of my pages, I can trace it all back to my desire to put out my best work to get the results I want.

Yes, I try to get you to do things I want you to do.

Buy my products.

Leave more comments.

Join my newsletter.

Whatever it is, everything you see around Kolakube has a strategic meaning behind it with the intent to get you to do something.

Now don’t feel played because you know just how persuasive you need to be on your own site to get your readers to click through to your blog posts or buy your own products too. We’re on the same team, I promise.

But if you’re not clear about telling your readers what to do, how can you expect to get results?

As I already mentioned, you can still be persuasive without shoving a bunch of popups and annoying nags down your readers throat. It turns out the reason people pay attention to you at all is because they want something from you too.

All you have to do is give it to them.

The Art of the Command: How to Create Effective Call-to-Actions (With Examples)

I should preface this by telling you no matter how beautiful or captivating your call-to-actions are, they will be utterly useless without giving your readers a reason to signup.

See, the road to creating an effective call-to-action doesn’t start with picking a color to make your button. It starts a lot sooner than that at a much deeper level.

It’s not necessarily in the form of a free eBook and it’s for damn sure not in any perfectly timed popup. It’s in the trust you build with your readers and whether or not they left your site a better person than they came.

I can’t tell you what problems you need to solve for your readers, that’s where your expertise will shine, but I can give you a few tips I’ve learned over the years to make your writing more persuasive:

Agent Chris Funnel Lead
  • Explain how you help people solve a problem
  • A good design can “WOW” your visitors at first glance
  • Immediately link to the most valuable pages around your site
Effective call-to-action #1

Get Straight to Business With Agent Chris

The first thing you know when you get to Agent Chris is, well, exactly what you need to know.

Agent Chris makes it crystal clear what his site is about and how he can help you with a commanding, concise headline at the top of the page.

Top if off with a well placed background image and it’s hard not to be “wowed” when you first get to this page.

To finish off this commanding homepage, Chris adds 3 text boxes beneath his headline to (most importantly) direct readers to the most valuable pages of his website.

He keeps these boxes simple with a small headline, a little more description text, and a clear button to links to each page.

Apart from the great design, the main takeaway from Agent Chris is to put your most important and potentially useful content in your reader’s faces as soon as you can.

Don’t hope your readers find what they’re looking for, give it to them.

Web Hostings World
  • Write useful content to help your readers make informed buying decisions (through your affiliate links)
  • Every page has earning potential — maximize it
  • Experiment with different types of offers and see what works best
Effective call-to-action #2

Keep Your Readers Well-Informed to Make Smarter Affiliate Purchases

I hardly know where to begin with this one as Web Hostings World has so many great examples of effective call-to-actions throughout their site.

As soon as the site loads (pretty quickly too, they must know their stuff) you’re presented with a clean layout that lists the best reviews of different hosts from around the site as well as a button that directs you to their top web host review.

Going through just about any review, you’ll notice different strategies behind their call-to-actions. After a thorough review here, you’re given review highlights and a buy button to make a purchase through the author’s affiliate link at the end.

Even in the Beginner’s Hosting Guide, you get all the information you need to make a buying decision, then get different options on where to purchase hosting from.

They key takeaway here is clear — every page of your site has earning potential and can be maximized by not just an attention-grabbing call-to-action, but with useful content that leaves your readers feeling more confident and informed purchasing through your affiliate links.

Gutsy Geek
  • Add personality to your writing — authenticity is important
  • Scarcely add buttons throughout your page to jump readers down to your call-to-action
  • Ease the potential anxiety of choosing between purchasing options with a little personality
Effective call-to-action #3

Inject Personality into Your Products to Create Better Buying Options

Rami Nuseir uses his own geeky personality at Gutsy Geek to connect with his readers and now sell his eBook.

When I say sell, I actually mean he sells copies of his book. It’s no surprise, he has a great product with a solid sales page.

On top of Rami’s entertaining writing style, he uses custom made pixel art to add even more of that personality you’d find throughout his site to his sales letter.

What makes this page so smart is his use of buttons throughout his copy. He adds a “buy” button to the top and middle of the page, but what these buttons link to are the most masterful part of the entire page.

Click either buy button and you’re brought to a pricing table at the end of the page with tiered pricing options.

…but it’s not just another boring pricing table, Rami gets creative and comes up with humorous taglines to describe each plan.

Sure, these small details may not make or a break a sale, but they certainly make you feel more connected to the person selling to you.

The Ultimate WordPress theme for bloggers

…and last but not least, my own call-to-action.

The truth is that as much as this post was for teaching, it has a lot to do with me selling something too.

Don’t look so shocked over there.

But the article you read wasn’t just pulled out of thin air, my advice here came from my own experience building online businesses for myself and others through my own product, Marketers Delight.

Not only did I bundle my experience from building and designing fast, SEO optimized websites, I tailored the features of Marketers Delight around the one thing I want you to take away from this article:

Getting results with an effective call-to-action.

In fact, the 3 sites I showed you are sites built with MD using the Page Leads feature to easily create custom call-to-actions on any post or page from the comfort of their WordPress post editors.

Alongside Page Leads, MD has a ton of useful features and styles to help you setup a solid WordPress blog and lay your articles out just like this one.

Marketers Delight is my product that myself and more and people believe in. I’m always releasing new updates + features and writing new tutorials to show you how to use MD to sell your products, services, or grow you email list through your blog.

check out the Kolakube blog to see my latest posts about MD too.

Between you and me, I love using MD to write articles like these because it lets me see for myself how my own product works to help improve a business. So if you like what you see around here, I suggest you try it out too. I can say from experience MD works.

See? There really isn’t much to online marketing.

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About Alex

Alex is the 29 years old creator of Marketers Delight.

3 comments add your comment

  1. If inspiring case studies, thorough guides, consistent updates, and visual demos aren’t excellent marketing, I don’t know what is.

    There is the “please believe me” marketing style which is weak and becomes sleazy out of desperation, but when you show exactly how your product can truly help someone, that’s where you win.

    I’ve had a golden experience with MD so far, and even without a consistent message for my site or vlogs I’ve been able to keep growing. Once I fine tune that, things will blow up.

    This was an epic post and thank you for doing what you do!

  2. Dude, talk about post formatting! I love how you format your posts, and thanks for the shout out man! Couldn’t do it without you and MD4

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