What’s the best text to use on your “Buy Now” buttons?


This question was raised during our teleconference call on landing pages yesterday.

It’s a good question.

There are times when simply saying “Add to Cart” on the button works just fine. But this is the case only with very simple and familiar purchase types.

For instance, if you are on Amazon, have found a book, read the details and reviews, and seen the cover…their button which says, “Add to Cart” will do the job.

Why? Because what you are buying is so familiar and so self-evident. You see the book, you want to buy it, and you “add to cart”.

But what if you have a landing page or offer page selling something a little more complicated and unfamiliar, like a free trial subscription to a new online publication or service?

In these cases, and in the case of selling many kinds of products too, the text on the “buy” button should become the “tail of the headline”.

What do we mean by the tail of the headline?

Let’s say you write a great headline that clearly communicates your value proposition and includes a strong promise that appeals to your visitors.

The text on your buy or sign up button needs to repeat the core benefit from the headline.

So if your headline is offering a 15-day free trial of a valuable publication, your buy button might say something like, “Start Your FREE TRIAL Now…”

Or if you have collected their credit card information, and a core value in your offer is that it is risk free, you might try, “Start Your RISK-FREE Trial Today…”

Or. “Download Your First Issue Now…”

The exact wording will depend on the core value you express in your headline.

And as you can see, each of the examples above also includes a sense of urgency and immediacy. Does it make a difference? Fifty years of testing in the direct mail industry has provided an unequivocal answer: Yes.

All of these lines are longer than “Add to Cart”. And your designer may kick and scream a little.

But if nothing else, run some tests. Test some buttons on which you add the “tail of the headline”.

When you do that, you are maintaining the sales flow of your page from the first word to the last.

And those last few words, on the button itself, are critical to converting all those “I’m not quite sure” readers.

By repeating the core message, you increase conversion of the fence-sitters.

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  1. Michael Whitaker says

    From my perspective of the Yahoo! Store platform I can attest to the importance of the “Buy Now” button. The default button text in the Yahoo! Store editor is “Order”. Just changing this to “Add to Cart” increases conversion rate. “Add to Cart” conveys the notion of being able to change your mind, whereas “Order” implies too much of a commitment.

  2. Ken says


    I think it’s great to change the wording of the “buy now” button, but how do you change the color of the text and background of the buy now button?


    Ken Wiessler

  3. Gabe Larsen says

    I think you are absolutely right about the “buy now” needing to tie into the core message of the offer. When you lead someone through your “call to action” page and then leave them “hanging” right before they purchase, I think you will have customers back out of the purchase. I don’t however, like the call to action being worded with “download.” Too many executives get warned by their IT dept. to be careful when downloading software on the internet. For this reason I would avoid using words like “download” in your call to action.

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