10 Case Studies To Help You Get More Clicks

Regardless of whether you want people to join your email

case studies

Regardless of whether you want people to join your email list, make a purchase, follow you on social media or read the rest of an article, you’ll most likely need them to click on something. This “something” is how you call your visitors and readers to action.

There are many ways to do this, and the words you choose can have a big impact. You’ll need to do some testing to find what gets the best response from your audience. To give you an idea of where to start, here are 10 case studies you can learn from.

1. What Role Does Relevance Have?

Unbounce reported on a test WriteWork ran on button text:

case studies
“Read Full Essay Now” is the winner; “Get Instant Access Now” decreased conversions by 34%. This is most likely an issue of relevance – people are reading part of the essay and want to read the rest of it. “Read Full Essay Now” satisfies that need better.

2. Are You Asking or Telling?

ABTests reported on a test Rypple ran on the text in their buttons:

case studies
“Respond Now” brought in a 13% more clicks than “Give Feedback.” This might be because “Respond Now” sounds more direct, and influences the person to act promptly, especially with the exclamation point added at the end. “Give” also tends to entail more sacrifice, i.e. you give gifts to people.

3. Does “Free” Trump “Try?”

ABTests reported on a test Firefox ran on their button text:

case studies
“Download Now – Free” had 4% more conversions. This might be because of the word “free.” Other tests have also shown that using “free” can bring in more results.” It’s possible that the results were close because “Try Firefox 3” sounds less intimidating than downloading something – the next study will show why that might be the case.

4. Do Your Words Scare People Away?

We posted on our blog about a test the Cabot Heritage Corporation ran on their sign-up form buttons:

case study
“Start my free subscription” decreased conversions by 22.9% in just two days. The word “subscription” entails more commitment, and that can scare anyone away. Notice the winning text also has the word “Free” in it.

5. Is It Clear What You Want To Happen?

ABTests reported on a test Dustin Curtis ran on his link text:

case study
The former brought in 172% more clicks. This could be because it was more clear what was happening. “I’m on Twitter” could have just been linked to Twitter’s homepage, which wouldn’t be very helpful. The winning link makes it obvious you will be set up to follow Dustin Curtis on Twitter if you click that link. It’s also more actionable; it tells you what you should do.

6. Does “Free” Always Win?

ABTests reported on a test InDefero ran on navigation bar links:

case study
“See plans and pricing” had a 52% increase in clicks. “Free Hosting” is certainly desirable, but it doesn’t communicate that a lot of information would be shared. It would be interesting to run this test somewhere other than the navigational bar; visitors may be looking for specific information in navigation links, so a special offer may be better in a different spot on the page.

7. What Does Your Audience Want?

Visual Website Optimizer reported on a test Veeam ran on a link in their sidebar:

case study
“Request pricing” brought in a 161.6% increase in clicks. It’s actually pretty easy to determine why this happened; Veeam surveyed their audience and found that most people wanted an easier way to find pricing on the site. This test confirmed by changing “quote” to “pricing” that people were looking for that word.

8. Are You Using the Right Vocabulary?

ABTests reported on a test Gamesforlanguage.com ran on their button text:

case study
“Instant Demo!” increased clicks by 83%. While “play” sounds more fun, “instant” means it will be quick and less time-consuming. “Demo” has a helpful connotation – I’ll learn what it is I’m getting into before being thrown into it.

9. Is It Better To Be Personal?

ABTests reported on a test Xemion Web Designer Directory ran on their navigation link text:

case study
“Add Your Company” increased clicks by 43%. Both of these communicate the same goal, but “Advertising” doesn’t speak in terms of “your company.” This personal touch makes it feel like Xemion is speaking to you, not at you. “Yes, I would love to add my company to your directory,” might be the answer in the visitor’s mind.

10. Do Multiple Requests Impact Each Other?

Sometimes the words of other calls for action you have included can influence click-through rates. Visual Website Optimizer reported on a test by Artsy Editor that demonstrated this:

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Artsy Editor’s goal was to get people to their pricing page. The first one had the best result – 47% increase in click-throughs to that page. The second one brought in a 17% increase and the last one had no improvement. Having the price in the button could have created more friction; people weren’t thinking about the cost until they saw it in that button. Artsy Editor might want to test different price points, but it’s clear that people prefer a demo/trial offer over a pitch to buy something.

Don’t Forget To TEST!

Researching case studies and experiments done by other companies is a great way to figure out what you should test. Keep in mind that you won’t necessarily have the same results – your audience is your audience and they might respond differently. These results are not rules you should be following; think of them as inspiration to run your own split tests.

Do You Have Test Results To Share?

We love to hear about test results! Please share what you’ve found in your own testing – be it emails, sign up forms or website pages.


  1. Ti Roberts

    3/11/2013 2:11 pm

    Oooo, I love a good case study and these are definitely interesting ones. I’ve bookmarked this post for future reading later this week. I’m sure there are tons of great info shared. I appreciate you sharing this post with our community, Aweber!


  2. HT Lee

    3/12/2013 5:14 am

    Very interesting case studies and the outcomes. I already have a few ideas for my blog design and keywords. Thanks.

  3. Lee

    3/12/2013 11:42 am

    Really interesting I have been looking at awe eras a tool when things get going and having a quick sneek peak at some case studies has been very helpful.

    So for that thanks

  4. Julie

    3/12/2013 2:09 pm

    Oooh, these were so interesting to read! THanks!!

  5. Rae

    3/12/2013 2:26 pm

    I love these ideas and results that you show here. I already changed the wording one of my web forms and I’m looking forward to share the results!

  6. Cindy Reynolds

    3/12/2013 2:26 pm

    What a fantastic article. I can already see that a split test (or several) might increase traffic to our online ballroom lessons. We have had nearly 2 million views with great feedback and many requests for more lessons, but our marketing efforts for our more robust site need a boost. I have some work to do! Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. Laura

    3/12/2013 2:31 pm

    Very interesting! I guessed wrong on several of them. I guess I know what I need to work on, LOL. Going to share this with my readers, very helpful case studies. Thanks!

  8. Randall Magwood

    3/12/2013 2:46 pm

    I’m not surprised by number 3… “Does “Free” Trump “Try?”

    A 4% boost in Firefox downloads is pretty good. I lead alot of my campaigns with the word free.

  9. Wendy

    3/12/2013 3:35 pm

    It would seem to me that you don’t really know what results you would have gotten had you sent the same message to every subscriber. I guess it’s just difficult for me to totally understand split testing. I do understand different results for different words or word groups though.

  10. Roy Ware

    3/12/2013 3:46 pm

    Just surprised how many I missed. Testing is a must! I am convinced!

  11. brody

    3/12/2013 5:12 pm

    Thank you for the tips as we are just getting started with all the SEO and Traffic on our website

  12. John

    3/12/2013 6:30 pm

    So for the case study on Firefox (3.), I’m guessing “Try Firefox Now – Free” would’ve nailed it.
    Thanks for the article, Crystal.

  13. Jen McGahan

    3/12/2013 7:36 pm

    Oh, I was going to read this article anyway. And you MADE me choose a button. Clever you!

  14. Crystal Gouldey

    3/13/2013 7:25 am

    Thanks for all the great comments! I’m glad this has inspired so many of you.

    Wendy – If you sent the same message to all subscribers, you wouldn’t have anything to compare. You would just have the clicks for that message alone. If you have enough subscribers (over 100), a split test lets you see if slight changes might yield better results by sending version A to 50% and version B to 50%. If version A is the winner, you can infer that the majority will prefer that to version B. Of course, there’s always room for error, so you might want to test for things like statistical significance. Hope that helps!

    John – Good call! That should definitely be something they test next.

  15. Rob Tepper

    3/19/2013 1:39 am

    Excellent content in this article. #5 says the latter was the winner but it is clear from the rest of the info that the former was the winner. Not intuitively obvious, once again highlighting the need for us to be continually split testing… and learning from great articles like this one!

  16. Crystal Gouldey

    3/19/2013 7:06 am

    Good catch, Rob. Thanks!

  17. Alexander

    5/3/2013 11:25 am

    Some interesting case studies here.

    I thought #1 was one of the most interesting… I think we tend to forget that “FREE INSTANT ACCESS” Doesn’t always come out on top… and that “FREE INSTANT ACCESS” To WHAT is often the thing to remember.

    Oh.. even when it’s obvious to the internet marketer what the next step should be, even when it’s apparently extremely obvious, the readers still get lost.

    KISS goes a long way

  18. Ian

    7/2/2013 2:05 am


    Good article but I’m left a bit confused. I thought I’d make a start with item 8 – changing the text of my button on my form. It seems that only “some” of Aweber’s buttons allow for this. I couldn’t find an Aweber button gallery or similar. Is there such a thing? Can you please direct me there, or point me to resources where I might get aweber-compatible “get instant access” & other buttons.

    I’m getting around 1 in 5 people who hit my site as signups. It would be great to improve on this.



  19. Crystal Gouldey

    7/2/2013 7:35 am

    Ian – Some of the form templates have a set image for the button, which is why you can’t edit the text. For those particular templates, you can use a different image for the button as long as you have the URL to that image. At this time, there is no gallery of buttons, so you would need to create your own (I will certainly pass that on as a suggestion, though). You could also use one of the templates that doesn’t have a fixed image for the button.

  20. Tom Phillips

    9/18/2013 4:31 am

    Thanks for the informative article. It has left me realizing that I have a lot of opportunities to increase the response rate on my websites.

    Really helpful on getting the basics right.

  21. watch test0r0r0

    3/15/2014 3:50 am

    A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you should publish more on this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people do not speak about such topics. To the next! Cheers!!

  22. Robert Jackson

    7/5/2014 1:03 am

    Ohh.. really wonderful article. happy to read and obey to say that your mentioned strategies are effective.