Call to Action (CTA) best practices: 6 strategic places to use your CTA

CTAs! They’re everywhere, sure, but are they in the right place(s)?

Truth is, everyone’s still figuring it out.

Like all things digital, it’s a matter of ideate-create-iterate-repeat. You brainstorm and decide you’re going to put a CTA right there, place the button, and improvise based on engagement.

And then you do it all over again.

But if you’re not sure where to start the whole exercise, don’t worry—there’s help around.

The real estate of a website lends itself to a number of strategic spots for lead generation. In this blog, we’re looking at six:


Sticky header

Sticky header showing on a webpage

A sticky header is a navigation bar which sticks to the top of your webpage. It stays there without getting affected by your visitor’s scrolling. In the image, you can see how the CTA in the header stays at the top even when we’ve scrolled to the bottom of the page.

This CTA is particularly useful when there’s a lot of important content on your page, you don’t want to interrupt the reading experience, but you want to keep nudging your visitor to sign up or subscribe. You’ll also notice the CTA isn’t the only element in the sticky, but it’s the standout element. That’s the intent here: offer visitors multiple navigation options, but keep a prominent call to action around.



Sidebar highlighted on a blog's homepage

Commonly seen in blogs, the sidebar draws the viewer’s attention to one side of the page. It contains a value proposition, which is usually a quick description of what the visitor can get from the blog, and it’s a good opportunity to explore creative design elements, humor and even animation.

The call to action in a blog’s sidebar is very focused. It wants visitors to subscribe with their email ID. Avoid packing the sidebar with many fields; it’ll quickly turn into a signup form, and people hate signup forms.



A lightbox popping up in a blog's homepage

The lightbox is a pop-up that dims out the rest of the webpage and assumes center focus. It typically appears when the visitor has scrolled through at least 50% of your page. This timing is key, because it’s a reasonable indication that your visitor is interested in the content, and is therefore more likely to respond favorably to a signup/subscription request.

Remember that you’re interrupting the user’s experience when a lightbox pops up. Always let the user choose to dismiss your request, through a Close button and a second CTA that says “No” or equivalent.


Inline text

Example of inline text CTA

Inline text CTAs blend into the copy, to the point where they’re inconspicuous and almost part of the body of text. The only differentiator is they’re highlighted with the hyperlink. Inline text CTAs work best when you’re not pushing aggressively for a click. The intent is to take visitors to a page that offers supplementary information about the topic in context. That’s the reason why you’ll find inline text CTAs using copy like “Read more” and “Learn more.”

Rule of thumb while writing the copy? Keep it cohesive with the preceding text, and use anchor text that contributes to SEO. In the image, the CTA is optimized for the “email management” keyword. Don’t waste precious anchoring opportunities with a plain “Read more” or “Click here.”

In the strictest sense of lead generation, inline text CTAs don’t give you lead details like a signup form would. But if you’re tracking visitor behavior on your website, inline text CTAs can help you identify which leads are interested in what kind of content—which is precious knowledge to have, especially when your business is starting out.


Standalone strip

A CTA appearing in a strip in the middle of a webpage

This is a bit like the lightbox, except the rest of the page doesn’t dim out. It’s the direct antithesis of the inline CTA because there’s no subtlety here: the strip demands the reader’s undivided attention. But like the inline CTA, the strip CTA stays consistent with the context. Like in this image, where the visitor is invited to sign up for a CRM tool after being educated about CRM’s benefits.

Because the strip practically barges into the visitor’s vision, you’ve got to be extremely judicious in its placement. Random strips across the page annoy the visitor and lead to high bounce rates.



A CTA showing in the footer of a webpage

This is located at the bottom of your page. The visitor has a fair idea of what you offer, and now is a good time to reinforce that value. A decisive message that’s consistent with the rest of your page in particular and your brand in general—that’s what you need here.

Can you use all these options on the same page? It depends on many factors, including page length and type of content on page. If your page is only two folds long, you don’t want to stuff it with 6 calls to action. If it’s educational content about your domain and you’re not explicitly promoting your business, a single CTA placed smart can do the trick.

To find out how successful your CTAs really are, in terms of lead generation, there are no easy ways around this: you’ll need to find that thin line between opportunity and overkill.

Know any other ways to place a CTA? We’d love to know! Tell us in the Comments.

Happy selling!

Freshsales is sales CRM software that removes the need for multiple sales tools. It works for both ends of the spectrum: large businesses frustrated by enterprise CRM software, and small businesses who want to quickly organize and scale their sales. Check out how Freshsales can help your business.

Thank you Udhaya Chandran for designing the cover image.