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CTA Best Practices That Work (with examples)

Not to be underestimated, a call to action is brief but powerful if it’s well-executed. Keep your sales emails up to date with our collection of CTA best practices and examples.
Rocco Savage
Head of Growth

Used in everything from email campaigns to blogs and landing pages, a call to action (CTA) is an integral piece of the puzzle when it comes to conversion rates. A CTA requests its viewer to take action with a clear path for doing so. Whether you’re requesting that a potential buyer books a demo or simply makes time for you on your calendar, it’s your job to make that request simple to act on. 


When it comes to cold emailing, your first goal is to book a discovery meeting or call. It won’t happen without including a CTA, making it one of the most important structural components of an email. Typically included toward the end of a message, a CTA gives your prospect a next step, making your message actionable in a specific and relevant way. The psychology behind a CTA’s effectiveness is another topic for another time, but here we’ll cover best practices. 

Example

“Let me know if this sounds like something worth exploring for {{!! RECIPIENT COMPANY }}.”

A CTA like this one is meant to establish whether or not your prospect has an interest in your company. Similar CTAs can be more direct by swapping out the words “let me know” with “does this sound like something worth exploring?” The details are up to you, so long as you’re able to pose the question in a way that makes a response logical. 

Best Practice Tip

Include only one CTA. Sales emails need to be concise and to the point. If you have a lot of information to share with your customers, send them a link to a blog post or a video. But when you do use an email for sales, don't overwhelm prospects with too many options. Asking your prospect to schedule a meeting, submit a demo request and answer qualifying questions all in the same message is too much. No one wants to be approached with a to-do list. The only call-to-action in your email should relate to your desired next step. 

Example

“Are you interested in seeing data I’ve put together from our clients also in your industry?” 

Many people might phrase this CTA as, “Would you be interested…” but we recommend sticking with “Are you?” Not only does it make more sense, it takes on a more authoritative tone than the former. Your CTA shouldn’t sound pushy, but it also doesn’t need to sound meek. 

Additional information is often super helpful to potential clients and a great way for reps to add value to their campaigns, but it’s best to ask for permission prior to sending a download or link. On the surface, it communicates respect because you’re not assuming they want to see more, but asking first is also a way to be mindful of the realities of phishing and cyber-attacks. Your initial email will help to establish that you’re who you say you are and your email’s cyber security isn’t at risk and can encourage their response by requiring an answer to whether or not they want more information. 

You can also personalize this CTA by being more specific about the additional information you’d like to send. Think about the value propositions that are relevant to the prospect you’re emailing, and find a way to tie those into this CTA.

Example

“I’ve linked my calendar to make scheduling a 15-minute conversation about [[value-proposition]] convenient.” 

When your CTA requests a meeting, always send a calendar invite. You don’t have to note that you’re sending one every time like this example does, you just have to make sure it’s there. Back and forths about scheduling have become tiresome to almost everyone and you risk losing your prospect’s interest in the process. With a calendar invite, they’re able to comb through your schedule and make their decision right after reading your message. No waiting, no back and forth, just a simple click. 

Best Practice Tip

It’s common for CTAs to request a meeting or call. The best way to do this is by indicating exactly how much time you’re asking for, and by suggesting a specific date and time. Sending a link to your calendar is a great way to make your CTA especially actionable and easy to follow. Never request to meet for 30 minutes or longer though. This is inconsiderate of your prospect’s time and will likely turn them off. We recommend playing it safe with a request for 15 minutes. Some teams even request 5 minutes for their first meeting, which requires very little for the prospect. Again, back and forth about a date and time is not a good look.  

Example

“When’s the best time for us to connect to discuss [[painpoint]]?” or “When could we expand on the topic of [[painpoint]]?” 

If you don’t want to send over your calendar or specify a time and date, using a CTA like this is another way to ask for a meeting. This one may be perceived as more low stakes than a specific date or meeting request, and some prospects might appreciate its more relaxed feel. Just keep in mind that the more specific your CTA is, the more actionable it’s likely to be. You can also ask your prospect to send their calendar, however, doing so puts the onus on them more than on you.

Best Practice Tip

Your CTA should come at the end of a concise, value-packed, personalized email for your prospect. A CTA won’t convince your prospect to take action if the rest of the email hasn’t already convinced them. You’ll need a strong email for your CTA to have any impact at all.

Example

“Which of the following best describes where you’re at right now? 

1. I’m not interested. 2. I’m interested but now isn’t the right time. 3. I’m interested and think we should talk. Reply with a 1 or 2 or 3 and we’ll go from there.” 

The CTA from this example is a relatively newer style and is super easy for your prospect. All you’re asking them to do is respond with a single digit so they can get what they want from you. The text is also easy to swap out for a pain point or value proposition-focused survey, or even a “how do you want me to proceed” question. 

Best Practice Tip

You’ve been told to make your CTAs clear a thousand times. It’s sound advice, but the message can get lost in repetition. It’s worth taking a moment to think about what clarity really means. A clear CTA is coherent, detailed and understandable even out of context. “Let’s discuss next steps,” works as a CTA, but a strong one would communicate what exactly the next step is. Be as detailed as you can, especially with prospects that seem reticent. 

Example

“Is fixing [[painpoint]] a priority for you now?” 

Most of your CTAs shouldn’t be a yes or no question, but occasionally this is the right move. Especially when your email’s body copy has focused on a pain point. You can summarize the information you’ve just shared or the questions you’ve just asked with a simple CTA like this one. 

Best Practice Tip

Your CTA is better when it’s unique. You don’t want the CTA that closes your email to sound like a formality. Your prospect needs to feel that you’re generally interested in them, not just going through the motions, or you have no chance of convincing them. This can be done by honing in on what you need from them and what they can expect from you. Evaluate what your perfect next step looks like and what it will entail from your prospect, then do your best to phrase it in plain, sincere language. 

If Jerry the mouse emailed Tom the cat about a truce, it might look something like, “You’ve broken bones, stubbed every one of your paws and suffered more head injuries than either of us can count while trying to catch me. I myself am exhausted from all the running and booby traps. Should we meet to discuss a weekly armistice every Thursday for the rest of the year?” See how the CTA is specific? It’s not just, “let’s discuss a truce.” Tom will go into the meeting knowing exactly what Jerry is proposing, which makes the ask less abstract. Suddenly Tom is more invested in this hypothetical meeting because he knows what it entails. He becomes more attached and feels he has more stake. 

Example

Have you thought about your top 3 goals for the coming year?”

A CTA like this one is great for the beginning of a conversation, when you’re still introducing yourself and trying to get to know your prospect. It usually closes an email that isn’t about selling at all. Instead, the body copy can offer some helpful information on something relevant to your prospect, a reaction to a LinkedIn blog post they wrote or if you’re congratulating them for an accomplishment. This can even be used when you have a referral. Tailor it where necessary so it’s relevant to the rest of the email and don’t use this CTA on prospects that want cold hard facts from you. Consider this example the social butterfly of CTAs.

Best Practice Tip

This one sounds obvious, but it’s worth saying. Your CTA needs to be actionable. How? Imagine it was sent to you, would you know what to do next? Whether it’s replying with an answer, scheduling a meeting, downloading a PDF or heading over to your company’s website, your CTA needs to tell your prospect exactly what to do next. You should never receive the words “what are the next steps?” from your prospect in their reply because usually if they have that question, you won’t hear from them at all. 

Example

Let’s meet.”

When you think about CTAs on websites or in many email campaigns, they’ll use wording that sounds a bit more alluring or charming than, “are you free on Monday for a 15-minute call?”. Do your best to channel your marketing team’s energy when it comes to a CTA, especially when the tone of your email’s body copy is more lighthearted than serious. Hyperlink your calendar over the words your CTA so your prospect can simply click the text.

Best Practice Tip

Just like you should only use one CTA, your CTA should also only ask for one thing. Don’t give your prospect an entire to-do list or they’ll move on without looking back. They’re doing you a favor by giving you their time, even if ultimately it’s you that’s helping them. A CTA like this one, “Please download the case study I’ve attached before checking out my calendar to find a time to meet,” is technically two CTAs in one sentence. Keep it simple, and stick with one desired action (this will also keep your word count down, which is usually helpful).

Example

“Let’s start a new project together.”

Again, link your calendar over these words for a CTA that has a bit more charm than our other examples. However, you should be judicious about using a CTA like this one, as it’s pretty vague. This example is best used when ongoing correspondance has already taken place or you’ve provided a good amount of information in your email’s body copy. It would be slightly presumptuous to use this CTA right out of the gate. 

Best Practice Tip

Make sure what you’re asking of your prospect in your CTA is easy to do. You’re not selling to people who don’t have much on their plate, so keep their schedule and responsibilities in mind when you write your CTA. Overall, trying to step into your prospect’s shoes will heighten the value of your entire email and the same is true for your CTA. The more you can think like your prospect, the better you’ll be able to address their needs and hold their interest. 

Example

“Experience your free trial today.”

Free trials add quite a bit of value to cold emails, especially if its your only request. Let your product speak for itself by offering it to your prospect for free. The only consideration here is remembering to stay in contact throughout their trial and after. Be there to offer guidance on using your product, receive feedback and answer questions. Not only can a free trial help your prospect fall in love with your product, but it can also give you a solid reason to continue to build rapport until you’re ready to sell. If your team or company doesn’t currently offer free trials, float the idea to the relevant leadership and see what kind of feedback you get. Maybe they’ve considered it before but decided not to offer one. If you can make the option available, you’ll likely see an increase in your sales won.

Best Practice Tip

Follow-up quickly after your prospect has completed your CTA. How long it takes you to follow-up can actually be the difference between a sale won and a sale lost. Whether that means checking your email religiously, making sure all the relevant alerts are set on your phone or ensuring that follow-up messages are automated, you need to answer in your prospect ASAP. Aim for within five minutes of their response. 

However you choose to use your CTAs, just make sure you’re using them. Pay attention to what’s working and what’s not, play around with your phrasing and remember that a strong CTA won’t save poorly written body copy. There’s a lot of trial and error that goes into cold emailing, but if you find feedback in each of your attempts, you’ll have no issue refining the details like a CTA or your approach overall. In the spirit of CTAs, we’ll leave you with one of our own. Head over to regie.ai for your demo of our sequence builder, where every CTA is written for you. 

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