5 Tips for Persuasive Copywriting and Effective Calls to Action

Posted by Rowland Marsh on 21/06/16 17:51
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Successful marketing requires good content. In digital marketing, the content needs to engage the customer with persuasive copywriting, bold visual impact and effective calls to action, in order to drive conversions. Whether the goal of your call to action (CTA) is a sale, email sign up or to direct customers to a piece of content or webpage, your customers need to be encouraged, nudged or instructed to click.

Enchant has compiled 5 top tips for persuasive copywriting and effective calls to action with examples from well-known brands:

1. Encourage customers to make a choice

Charities are very successful at persuasive copywriting, as they have the advantage of being able to tap into their audience’s emotive and empathetic tendencies. So their job is to tell a story, pull on the heartstrings and encourage customers to make a pledge or donation to a particular charity, using language which suggests customers’ money would be well received and will make a real impact on those in need.

It feels a little odd talking about customers in relation to charities, but charity marketers are looking for conversions just like any other business – it just happens to be for worthy causes. Charities often use the tactic of nudging customers towards a call to action and a particular set of donation amounts.

See examples from Macmillan and Sports Relief below. Whether you agree with the tactic or not, it is certainty effective. It is easier to click a preselected amount and it makes donors wonder if donating less than those amounts is enough.

macmillan logo

macmillan cancer support calls to action

You can see how Macmillan have highlighted the £25 button in the middle of the other preselected donation amounts, encouraging this 'optimum' amount and portraying the impact this can have on the eventual recipient of care from the charity.


sports relief logo

sports relief charity calls to action


The Sport Relief example is more straightforward, with the steeply rising donation amounts. This is mainly due to the nature of Sport Relief being dominated by an annual push and televised event. However, they do make clear the option for donors to input a custom amount.

2. Create visual storytelling

As we mentioned, charities are in a great position to be emotive with their copywriting. They do not need to sell the idea of donations, but instead let the cause do the talking and persuade the reader to donate because they want to make a difference. Visuals are a big part of bringing the cause and its story to life.

The following example from Oxfam is perfectly pitched, as it shows the progression and impact of different sized donations, which naturally leads the reader/viewer to make a conscious and emotive choice. Readers naturally consider the adequate donation amount compared to what they think they can afford to give.

Oxfam copywriting and calls to action


3. Use strong colours and clear CTA buttons

From the subtly persuasive to the big and bold CTA tactics of sportswear retail company Sports Direct. Owner Mike Ashley is not many people’s cup of tea, but his unabashed brand is bold with its sales and marketing approach. Sport Direct’s calls to action are unsubtle, but hugely effective.

The company has made its millions through promoting the themes of the fire sale, clearance, slashing prices and unbeatable value. Their target market is not overly concerned about the company's brash marketing, and customers are more than happy to be led to CTAs with bold colours and clear directions.

See the email example below, which has a big visual impact and hammers home the idea a not-to-be-missed giveaway:

sports direct email subject line

sports direct email marketing offer

It is also worth looking at their website and their product profile area. This image below demonstrates the power of colour and positioning on CTA buttons. The website has a lot of white spaces, allowing the bold colours on their offers and CTAs to really stand out.

sports direct cta button

4. Promote generous offers and incentives

Sports betting companies are great at generating conversions through incentives and offers – some of which seem too good to be true – especially around big events, such as Cheltenham, the Grand National, the PGA Majors and the Euros.

They often have a two-pronged approach to customer engagements, one for new customers and one for existing customers. This offer from William Hill (for new customers) shows the value of a £10 rewarding new customers with a £20 free bet. There is a clear CTA button and nice graphic showing the quick and easy process of the transaction.

william hill offer calls to action

The following email from Ladbrokes states a bold offer of a £30 free bet, both in the email subject line and the CTA button. The offer is actually three sets of £10 free bets (when you place three £10 bets), but they have hooked you in with the total potential free bet tally. The key to the copywriting is to show the customer the incentive and the reward, whilst offering information about the current odds.

ladbrokes email subject line

ladbrokes email marketing calls to action

Something that has become a popular trend for sports betting companies is price boosts. It is a clever way of giving incentives to existing customers to place bets, whilst appearing to give customers extra value. See an example of price boosts from SkyBet below:

skybet price boost offer

5. Highlight urgency and utilise FOMO

As social creatures in the digital age, we are in constant fear of missing out (FOMO). Whether it is events, trends or offers, no-one likes to feel they have missed an opportunity. Brands know this and it is a behavioural trigger that many marketers like to exploit for increasing conversions. The tourism industry thrives on FOMO and effective copywriting from brands in this area focuses on highlighting the need to book early, to avoid disappointment, or grasp a good offer whilst it lasts.

This easyJet email shows a hard-to-miss offer and an accompanying banner carrying the words, "HURRY WHILST SEATS LAST."

easyjet email marketing offer


The following busy-looking webpage snapshot from Booking.com seems hectic, but the visually active page provokes a feeling of the need to move quickly before hotels are booked up. As you can see, there are so many pieces of information around the CTAs that all promote this 'last chance' vibe.

The website shows customers which hotels are in high demand, which are running low on rooms, and how many times rooms have been booked on a particular day. All these 'real time' updates and offers are in red, to further push the warning signs to encourage bookings.

booking.com logo

booking.com website offers


There are many different techniques involved in copywriting. Whether your content is bold and visual-heavy or more focused on subtle nudging and storytelling, the key is give people reasons to take actions. Copywriting is an art, which is often underestimated in digital marketing strategies.

Learn more about writing effective copy and delivering calls to action that convert, with Enchant's free downloadable guide, How to Create Persuasive Digital Marketing Copy & Compelling CTAs, and start improving your marketing performance now!

Download Digital Marketing Copy & CTAs Guide

Enchant is a customer lifecycle marketing agency, based in London, which helps brands reach their full potential and create impact fast with customer-centric marketing strategies. If you need help with your marketing campaigns or planning, get in touch and see how our experts today. 

Topics: behavioural triggers, call to action, calls to action, content, copywriting, CTA, CTA button, CTAs, digital marketing, easyJet, Email Marketing, FOMO, Incentives, Marketing strategies, Marketing strategy, Offers, Persuasion tactics, Persuasive copywriting, SkyBet, William Hill, Charity, marketing campaigns,, live content

Rowland Marsh

Written by Rowland Marsh

Rowland is the Marketing Manager at Enchant Agency. He is a writer, content marketer and former film reviewer. Rowland studied Literature and Philosophy at UEA and has a background in promotions, marcomms and print media.

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