5 Tips for Using Compelling Calls-to-Action to Help Drive Your Community Engagement

5 Tips for Using Compelling Calls-to-Action to Help Drive Your Community Engagement
This blog was originally published on December 3, 2015.

One of the most important aspects of encouraging members of your community to take action and provide input and feedback on your next plan is crafting powerful and captivating calls-to-action.

Strong messages are those that are concise and connect with people on a deep level. Here are some tips to help you craft powerful messaging and compelling calls-to-action to help drive public engagement for your project:

Tip #1: Experiment with Different Calls-to-Action

Your campaign is competing for the attention of your potential participants. It’s critical to use the right language in order to motivate people to participate. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Different demographic groups will respond to different messages
  • Try to connect with people on an emotional level
  • Stories and images are more powerful than stats
  • Ask questions to keep people engaged
  • Calls-to-action need to register in about 7 seconds

Listen to your target market early in the process to identify the types of messaging they respond to best. You can use this valuable insight to test a variety of strong calls-to-action to help determine what works for each audience.

Tip #2: Make Sure Your Calls-to-Action are Positioned Front and Center

Calls-to-action are worthless if no one can see them. Make sure your calls-to-action are highly visible and positioned front and center so your audience can’t miss them.

To help your call-to-action stand out, I recommend using a bold, contrasting colour so it doesn’t blend in with other elements on the page and using a larger or different font. The design of your call-to-action should also look clickable so that your audience immediately knows to click in order to take action. 

Here’s an example of a clear CTA we use here at MetroQuest:

Watch Webinar CTA



Tip #3: Create a Sense of Urgency

Let people know that there is a limited time to provide input. You can incorporate words like “now” or “immediately” to help create an irresistible call-to-action and encourage people to provide input right away.

Tip #4: Be Clear & Concise

Complicated calls-to-action are bound to fail. Your calls-to-action and the messaging around providing community engagement should be clear and concise so that people know exactly what is expected of them. For instance, instructions on a MetroQuest Priority Ranking screen should be something like “Rank Your Top 5 Priorities”, rather than “Please Let Us Know Which Potential Community Directions You Would Prefer.”

Tip #5: Stay Relevant and Add Value

Relevance + Value = Increase in Public Participation

Ultimately, everything boils down to one simple message: the more value and relevance you can convey in your calls-to-action, the more people will participate. Time spent honing this message to attract your target audiences will pay huge dividends for your project. The strongest calls to action lead to dramatically higher conversion rates, and ultimately more participation.


While calls-to-action can have a major impact on participation rates, they’re often easily overlooked. By implementing some of these simple tips, you can improve the promotion of your public participation opportunities and get more public input on your next project!


Looking for more tips to increase your community engagement? Check out our recent webinar:

Webinar: How Online Public Engagement Takes Off: Lessons from a Bikeway Study in NC

How Online Public Engagement Takes Off:
Lessons from a Bikeway Study in NC

How can you reliably engage participants regardless of the size of the project? In this webinar, our dynamic panel shows us powerful community engagement tactics, helping planning teams reach 1000’s for projects big and small!

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