What is a Call to Action and How Do I Use Them?

Your website is a critical component to the growth of your organization. It builds trust, helps you communicate your mission, and most importantly, helps you generate revenue from donors and your services. Part of your marketing strategy is likely pushing traffic to your website so people can learn more. Once they’re there, are you guiding them with the best next step for them? Even though you aren’t there 1:1 with them once they visit your website, you can still be their guide!

The best way to do this is using calls-to-action!

What is a call-to-action (CTA)?

A CTA very simply, is prompt you give people to take that next step. You might be encouraging them to donate, buy a ticket to your event, join your email list, or even just learn more.

You’re probably very comfortable with this in your offline fundraising. It might look like:

  • raising your paddle at an event.
  • scheduling a follow up call after a coffee chat.
  • asking for an introduction to someone.

In the online space its no different. You don’t get what you don’t ask for so we want to do the same on our social media, websites, in our emails, etc.

How do I use CTAs on my website?

There are SO many types of CTAs you can include on your website. These can include:

  • donate buttons.
  • email newsletter sign up.
  • social share buttons.
  • contact forms.
  • learn more – directing them to the next best place.
  • giveaway.
  • quiz.
  • register for an event or service.
  • buy tickets.
  • announcement bars.
  • pop ups and slide ins.

Before you go crazy and start putting things everywhere, here are a few things to consider.

Reverse engineer your customer journey.

Be thoughtful about what CTA you use where. Remember that people are bombarded with so many different messages and are likely scrolling your pages. Your CTA should be the most important element so they don’t have to think too hard about where to go next. The best way to think about this is really understanding the purpose of the page and how it fits in to the customer journey.

For example, if it’s a blog post meant to introduce people to your organization, you would want to guide them to join your email list or another post where they can diver deeper. You probably wouldn’t send them right to your donation page.

This doesn’t mean you can’t use multiple CTAs on one page. Just pay special attention to the purpose and make sure it makes sense.

As another example, if you have a longer post, it might make sense to put a CTA in the middle of the post guiding people to a downloadable or save it to their Pinterest board for future easy access! Then you will probably have another CTA at the bottom that’s different and takes people to the best next step.

On your home or services page you’ll probably have multiple CTAs in the frame of buttons guiding people to pages where they can dive deeper.

Make a list of the CTAs that will be helpful.

As your organization grows so will your CTAs. You’ll also find that certain elements will come and go as you test what your audiences likes. You might also have some that are time sensitive like events or registration for your programs.

Create an easy spreadsheet that has your CTA listed and then has the pages that it’s on. That way when you make a change you know where on your website you need to make adjustments. It will also help you have a clear picture of where things are and if you’re making the most important actions the priority.

Get the right tech tools to help you

Some ways of creating CTAs are easy, no matter the platform. The most obvious is a hyperlink in your text. Another easy one is creating buttons to call out the action you want them to take.

In order to do some of the other elements, tech tools are required. Since there are so many different platforms out there, we don’t know ALL the solutions that are out there.

Here are a few of our favorites when it comes you Divi by Elegant themes*.

  • Social Shares are made easy using Monarch. You can see that right here on this page with the social links that scroll on the side.
  • Email optins can be made beautiful and also tracked easily with Bloom. This easily syncs with your email service provider so when people sign up they are automatically added. We also use this for pop ups and slide ins.

We love a good announcement bar to have at the top of your website. Hello Bar is a great free option and can also allow you to do things like slide ins, alerts, etc.

Want to connect more people to your social media? Setting up your social feeds using something like Spotlight, makes it super easy you showcase your beautiful Instagram feed on your WordPress site!

The options are endless so don’t stuck going down the tech rabbit hole. It is more critical that you take a look at what you actually need and then find the solutions to showcase them on your website.

Test type and text of your CTAs.

The words you use will also impact how people are clicking through and taking that action. For example, donate vs give today or join us vs register. There is no right or wrong here, it’s all about testing with your audience. Some tech options will have A/B testing built in but you can also do it more manually if need be.

Similarly, think about how you’re providing value. An email optin that say, “sign up for our email newsletter” isn’t going to convert as well “get first notice of new cats and dogs available at our location” or “receive monthly stories of impact from the families we support.”

Pop ups are a great way to get people to take action. You can choose. how you want them to show up (ex. after a certain amount of time or scroll, exit intent.) Testing how this shows up will be critical to conversion. You don’t want to be too in visitors face while also making sure they see it before they leave your website.

Other places to use CTAs in digital marketing

Social Media

A call to action on your social posts is going to most likely be text asking them to do something. People are more likely to take action like commenting, sharing, liking, if you ask them to! Always remember to go back to the purpose behind the activity you’re doing.

  • ask them to share their experience.
  • how do they feel with a GIF.
  • ask a question.

You can also add the CTA into the graphic you’re creating to add to your post.


Your email signature is a great place for CTAs. Again keep the priorities front and center knowing that it can always be changed and adapted.

When it comes to your newsletter, think about it as one BIG call to action. The purpose of a newsletter isn’t to tell them everything, but to peak their interest and encourage them to learn more.

Again, a combination of hyperlinks and buttoms to help people see what to do while they’re scrolling can make a big impact.


A well created, purposeful call-to-action can help make the most of the marketing that you’re putting out there.

Pin It on Pinterest