Whether you own a salon or fitness studio or work as solo massage therapist or tattoo artist, you know the thrill of getting a notification when a new client booked an appointment online.

Online scheduling is a beautiful thing — there are no phone calls to return, fewer mishaps (re: double booking), and of course, those automatic text reminders to make sure clients show up when they say they will.

But maybe the best feeling?

When someone “just finds you” online — no word-of-mouth or Instagram hashtag strategy required.

In most cases, those totally new clients book through what marketers refer to as a call-to-action or CTA.

You see them everywhere, and you use them whether you’ve heard the term “CTA” before or not. 

Call-to-action examples include: the Book Now buttons on salons’ Instagrams, the pop-up banners you use to advertise holiday sales, even the spot on your site where you invite people to sign up for your newsletter.

But just because they’re everywhere doesn’t mean you’re using them to your advantage. 

A great CTA done right can double or triple your new client sign-ups, package purchases, or studio memberships.

That’s why we’re breaking down some best practices for writing CTAs. We’re sharing handy call-to-action words and examples that will make a person totally unfamiliar with your salon, spa, or studio want to book an appointment with you ASAP. 

In this article:

How to Write Call-to-Actions (CTAs) + Banners That Customers Love

Make them Time- and Cost-Sensitive 

The best CTAs make someone want to book an appointment or class (or purchase a product) right now.

That means they should include clear language that tells someone these deals will not last forever.

One of the main reasons Book Now buttons work so well is because the word now feels urgent. The same goes for limited time offers or “one-time only” sales. The less time someone has to hesitate, the more likely they’ll be to jump in. 

Speak Directly to Your Audience

When writing calls-to-action, always use active voice. It gives your CTAs authority and urgency, and active voice feels less formal — like you’re talking directly to the reader.

As a rule, we typically prefer copy that speaks directly to us. It’s more personal and makes us feel like we’re seen. 

Also, you want to make sure the CTAs clearly describe what the person is supposed to do next. Think about buttons like JOIN NOW or SIGN ME UP versus CLICK HERE. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative 

Get playful or clever with your CTAs, especially if they include a custom discount code. After all, your salon or studio isn’t boring, right?  

Pro tip: Schedulicity has a Deal Manager tool for both class-based and service-based businesses, where you can customize a deal to share directly with clients via email or social media.

At some point, you’ve probably noticed certain CTAs when visiting retail sites because they’re fun. Those are the ones that stick with you.

Take the fashion brand Madewell, which always does a great job with clever calls-to-action. 

This Cyber Monday sale, which they extended into Tuesday (hence the “one more day” language), features playful and unique copy the whole way through.

Check out the discount code in the banner up top: YAYINTERNET. Because why not? 

The best CTAs don’t always follow the rules. 😏

After all, we see the usual “GET 30% OFF” language so often, we start to overlook it. Try switching your copy up often, and play around a little.

(P.S. Notice their CTA button in the main banner? SHOP NEW ARRIVALS tells a site visitor exactly where this call-to-action will take them.) 

Only Use One CTA at a Time 

This is just a fact: If you include more than one CTA in an email or on a site page, each CTA will get fewer clicks because you’re splitting your audience.

That’s fine in a newsletter where you want people to click on multiple articles from your blog or to explore all the services you provide, but if the goal is to get clients booking appointments ASAP, keep it simple.

Make the CTA or Book Now button the biggest, boldest, and (ideally) only option they see. 

Partner (or Bundle) Up 

Most CTAs are pretty straightforward. You offer a site visitor one link and hope they take the action you want.

Like our last tip, you want to keep things simple because those are the most effective CTAs. That said, there’s power in the art of the upsell. 

Have you ever received a cart abandonment email from a brand after you left something in there?

Or bought something extra after seeing things “Similar customers also bought”?

That’s an upsell, and you can do it, too, with your CTAs. 

Let’s say you’re a stylist, and you allow clients to book online for your hair salon. Why not offer them their favorite hair products while they’re scheduling an appointment? You can have the goodies waiting for them when they arrive.

Same goes with class management.

Once someone books a class, consider offering them a discount if they purchase a package instead. (You can do all of this with Schedulicity’s customizable package management and our built-in payment processor.) 

The main takeaway: Once you got their attention with a brilliant CTA, you can still get creative with how you finish the process to make more money per transaction. 

Examples of Good and Bad CTAs 

Now that we established best practices for writing great calls-to-action, let’s talk through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Take these two examples — which one sounds more urgent to you? 

Option A: 

Until 12/27/19 at 12AM ET, try a monthly membership for only $150. [REGISTER HERE]

Option B:

Only 23 hours left to get $50 off a monthly membership. Use the code NOWORNEVER at checkout. [BUY NOW] 

If you prefer Option A, we’re not judging — but the truth is that most people wouldn’t.

If the goal is to get the most people to sign up for a membership, go with Option B. Why? 

  • “Only 23 hours left” or any “only X amount of time left” gives you FOMO. It implies that if you don’t book now, you’re going to miss out. 
  • $50 off makes it clear how much money they’d save. In Option A, you assume someone knows how much a monthly membership costs — but why would they? Instead, they look at the copy and think “$150 is pretty expensive.” Not if it normally costs them $200 — that’s a 25% discount, which is a steal. Use the language that makes the offer look best.
  • Option B is also playful with a custom discount code that ups the urgency even more.
  • A button that says [BUY NOW] is a lot stronger than [Register Here]. In fact, get rid of [Here] from any of your buttons. It’s superfluous. 

How to Use CTAs and Book Buttons on Social Media 

Adding buttons to social media is a snap as long as you have a partner software, such as Schedulicity. Here’s a quick explainer, then we’ll dive into adding Book buttons and CTAs to your website as well.

Adding a Book Now Button to Instagram 

If you’re ready to add a Book button to Instagram for your hair salon or fitness studio, all you need is a Schedulicity account. We’ve built one right in. Here’s how to add a book now button to Instagram now and start getting new clients right away.

Adding a Book Now Button to Facebook

Facebook makes it really simple to add a Book Now CTA right to the top of your business page. Head to your Facebook business page. Just below the cover photo, press the “Add Button” to get started.

How to Add a Book Now Button to Your Website (with Schedulicity)

If you’re a Schedulicity user, we made it easy for you to offer appointment scheduling through your own website (because fewer steps to booking is a better customer experience!). 

Here’s how to allow people to book appointments with you directly through your website:

  1. Login to your Schedulicity account. 
  2. Head to the Marketing section of your account, then click on the Widget tile. 
  3. You can choose from two types of CTAs (or use both!): 
    • Book Now button: Choose the size and style of button you want to put on your site. This button will bring clients from your site to your booking page on Schedulicity.
    • Scheduling widget: Add the booking process right into your website. It’ll be a section built into the page (called an Embedded scheduling widget) or a CTA that hovers on the right edge of the page and triggers a pop-up booking screen (called an Overlay scheduling widget). 
  4. After picking the widget you want to use, copy the code generated below, and paste it into the body section of your website.

See examples of both here

Need more help getting clients to book with you? Or want to get started with our online scheduling app?

The Schedulicity support team is here to help with more tips.