I'm experimenting with different messages/Calls-to-Action in our product to see which specific CTAs are most successful at prompting our users to take specific actions we want them to take.

Besides testing different CTAs quantitatively (through A/B testing, or by tracking email open rates & task completion rates—where each email has a different CTA), does anyone have experience testing this sort of thing qualitatively?

In usability testing, I'm going to ask people to paraphrase the CTA in their own words. But in terms of testing whether a CTA prompts users to take certain actions, have any of you tested that qualitatively?

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It seems you already know that the best way to get the info you want is to use A/B testing or tracking, but you still want to evaluate CTA qualitatively?

The problem is people don't know how they will really behave. They think one message will affect them a certain way, but then it turns out what they rejected is more effective. Consider The Dunning-Kruger Effect, Stumbling onto Happiness, The Paradox of Choice, etc. They all play on the mismatch between what people think and how they behave.

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