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Published on May 27th, 2010 | by Janine Popick

27

Use Buttons Instead of Links and Increase Your Clicks

There has been some research around whether using “buttons” on your website and in your email marketing campaigns as a call-to-action instead of words with links drives more clicks. It’s one of those things that every company really has to test for themselves.

For businesses that market to consumers, you’ll probably find buttons like “Sign Up Now” or “Buy Now.” If you’re marketing to businesses and you offer a white paper you might use the text “Download Now” or if you’ve got a tutorial for your viewers to watch it might be “View the Demo.” At any rate, an “actionable” word will usually work better than a passive one on your button. Instead of saying “Free Trial” you might try something like “Start Your Free Trial.” All of these things might seem subtle, but they also might get your readers doing what you want them to do.

Find Out More!

Read More!Download Today!

Our marketing team developed a few buttons for us to use internally. Feel free to grab ‘em or copy them if they’ll work for your business!

In the end, it’s all pretty scientific, so as always we suggest you test both and see what works for your own audience!

Some great resources I found for creating buttons:

Best Practices for Using Buttons

35 Creative call to action buttons for inspiration

How to Make an Effective Call to Action Button

Are you seeing a better response with buttons?

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About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.



27 Responses to Use Buttons Instead of Links and Increase Your Clicks

  1. Colleen C. says:

    Hi Ellen!
    Thanks for using our web button builder! You should be able to download the button to your desktop and insert it into your email using the “Image” icon. If for any reason you’re having troubles, you can always contact our free support team, and they’ll be able to help you step-by-step! http://www.verticalresponse.com/support

  2. Ellen says:

    I had no trouble creating a button, but cannot for the life of me figure out how to put it into my email. I tried inserting it as an image and that didn’t work. i couldn’t find any information on the VR site about this. Can someone help? Thanks.

  3. Abigale Mullins

    Awesome blog article.Much thanks again. Really Great.

  4. Pamela Pearl says:

    We have found that buttons that include a call to action combined with a great offer especially if it included the word FREE convert at least 60% better than a normal text link. Don’t forget to add the full hyperlink in your text based version of your newsletter though.

  5. We found that the use of persuasive language within the copy with a clear call to action typically have more influence on conversion rates when A/B testing our landing pages, but a buttons (specifically button colors) are a close second. We certainly consider the color of the button in contrast to the rest of the site’s color scheme – in other words a blue button on a site that uses blue as their primary colors may not convert as well as orange button on a site that uses blue as their primary color.

  6. Ford Jordan says:

    I actually work with a website that has an extremely large email list and we find that actually having pictures of videos with a play button in the email (like you see on YouTube)entices are readers to click on the video like you would to watch it, but they instead go to our site and the video is played on our site. This send a lot of traffic to our site which is good for advertising and our users don’t seem to mind. So it is a win win for both of us.

  7. A short article on whether buttons or links perform better on your page as a call to action.
    Personally, I think your actual content will matter more, but assuming that you have something interesting and motivating on your page, then you can mess with things like links vs buttons or which pretty colors you want to use.

  8. Filippo says:

    Interesting but i always feel a bit joked when i push a button and it’s an ad, instead of another page of the same site.

  9. I have tested both way and without doubt buttons work best,I have changed many of my site resently to make use of buttons.

  10. Mike: Can you just save it as a .jpg and upload it into the system?

  11. Mike Genrich says:

    Am I missing something? When I right-click to save the buttons on this page the only option I have is to save it as a bitmap. Then, when I attempt to upload the .bmp to VR, I’m told that .bmp’s are not valid!? I guess I can download buttons elsewhere or edit these with Photoshop and save as a valid file extension, but isn’t this a rather glaring oversight by VR?

  12. This is something I read about a while ago and then forgot about before implementing.
    Thanks a lot for the reminder! I will have to go through and apply it to my sites :) see if it will drum up some more business!

  13. Ivan Walsh says:

    Hi,
    Research also how that RED buttons are clicked on more than Green and blue.
    Ivan

  14. Samantha S. says:

    Interesting theory. I would not have thought about links vs. buttons.
    I will definitely keep it in mind for when I really enter public relations after graduation. I think that it has merit.
    I know when I go to websites a lot of them have buttons instead of links now. I never really considered the why.
    Maybe if I can figure out how to put buttons on my blog I will try it out and see if more people comment, or go to websites I would normally link to.
    Have you found anything out about pictures with links attached to them? That is kind of like a button minus the action words.

  15. blinky signs says:

    I will try using buttons on my site to increase click through rates. Thanks for the info. Blue won’t work for my scheme but nice to offer.

  16. Jashryn says:

    Most people don’t want to download the pictures in the email. Find that they are used to “regular” looking links with words. Besides so many are now looking at emails on their phone and it is text more than HTML.
    Have to watch carefully the placement of pictures. I think VR got it right when they say 20% pictures and 80% text.

  17. Jeff says:

    The buttons are definitely more eye-catching, so your concept makes sense. And apparently studies show the same. Thanks!

  18. Given Twitter’s official collab with tweetmeme, I’d say there’s a major value in substituting buttons for text.
    With the large amount of reading we all do each day, it’s quite easy to overlook the text, but icons and images jump right out at you.

  19. Interesting theory. Definitely worth a try.
    I like your suggestion to test it out and see which works better for your site. With all the testing tools available these days, it is easier than ever to test different things in your marketing.
    However, whether you use a link or a button won’t matter at all unless your article, video or whatever catches the attention of your visitor and interests them enough to follow through on the call to action.
    A call to action, without a good “why” is a weak call to action.
    Once you have this down, then you can mess with links, buttons and colors.

  20. Joseph Gomez says:

    Could I add a CTA button in a video email? I have an area where I can input text and I also have an area where I can add attachments, so how would I go about this? Can I just add the button to the body of the email and somehow input the link code in the button?

  21. Try cooltext.com for free buttons. Select the style from the menu, and type in your preferred text and format, and voila! I open them in paint, and save as jpg. That way they will load as an image in VR … then just add a link as you would for any other image.

  22. Hi Jerry -
    We use the new canvas tool as well for our Newsletter. If you wanted to use the images in this blog post you simply save them as images to your desktop, then upload them into your library within your VerticalResponse account. Then you will insert the image into your email where you would like the button to be. Then link the button to the page you would like people to visit.
    Don’t forget the Alt Text on your image that way if people cannot see the image they will still see your text call to action.
    Here is a link that explains how to add images using the canvas editor: http://help.verticalresponse.com/site/index/adding_images_to_canvas/

  23. Dror Zaifman says:

    Thanks for sharing your test results. We will also test and see which has better conversation rates. It’s interesting that text did not get as good results as buttons but perhaps this is because buttons are larger, colourful and this attracts the eyes leading to higher CTR.

  24. Jerry Blank says:

    I’d love to add buttons to my email blasts but how do we add them.?There are no prompts (that I can see) to add buttons to an email blast. I’m using the Canvas format for my blasts.

  25. Shad says:

    I’ll test it, however I am a little leary on if the results will increase as our audience is behind in computer ages and probably receive most of our enews in text based versions and/or aren’t downloading the actual images via Outlook as they don’t know they can, unless we are on their safe senders list. I think text based links in combination with the picture button link would be best suited to avoid the “No Clicks” disease ;)

  26. Faye says:

    I like call to action buttons. Do you know who can design these buttons?

  27. Amber Cleave says:

    CTA buttons vs. text links is indeed a great way to increase click through rate in your email! We just ran this test for the VR Buzz weekly newsletter,and overall we saw a 6% higher CTR% in the version with CTA buttons. Give it a try for yourself and let us know how it goes!

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