Crafting an email call to action

6 Tips For Crafting An Email Call To Action

Shane Herring
Shane Herring

Course Developer at Atomic Education

Last Updated: June 21, 2021

As a business owner and marketer, one your biggest email marketing challenges is to catch and keep your reader’s interest and then get them to act.

How?

By crafting a persuasive and engaging call to action (CTA).

Here are some 6 actional tips for crafting an email call to action.

What is a call to action (CTA) in an email?

From address, subject line, and preheader text get your reader to open your email. Then what?

The next challenge is to get your reader to take action. Taking action usually means clicking a button or text link and this, in turn, affects your click-through rate. A good click-through rate and you’re engaging with your reader. Engagement means you’re on the way to higher conversions.

They’re called a call-to-action or CTA. They’re used so that reader knows what to do next. They build trust with our readers. If your reader likes what they’ve seen thus far, they’ll want to know more. You’ve convinced them that you’re worth their time and attention, so a click of the CTA button is bound to come next.

When they take action, they should get a reward. It could be information or resource they can use or a special offer.

Why is a call to action important?

CTAs are an essential tool in your email marketing toolbox. They’re the difference between a good email and a great one. They’re how you drive engagement with your reader and engagement leads to trust.

Every email you send out should include at least one CTA. And preferrably only one.

Unless your reader knows what you want them to do, you’re assuming they’ll work it out. And you know what they say about assuming?

Using well crafted CTAs will increase click-through rates and click-through rates increase conversions and decrease the chances a spam filter will notice your email.

6 tips for crafting an email call to action

1. Identify your objective and plan around it

You need to be clear on exactly what you want your reader to do as they read your email. You may want them to download a resource, read a blog post, or get their discount code.

Your email should be written to draw the reader to and then take action on your most important CTA.

Now that we’ve given you some examples of powerful calls to action, here are five tips for using CTAs effectively in your next email campaign.

2. Stick to the most important call to action

More is not always better. Having multiple CTAs is counter-productive. If your email has too many, your reader may get overwhelmed and not select any of them. Make it simple for them by having only one CTA.

If you must have more than one, give your secondary CTA a different look by using a different colour or placing it somewhere else in your email.

If you think of your CTA as the action, you can include different way to present it to the reader. You could use an image, a button, and linked text.

Just make sure that each CTA achieves the same goal.

Placing a secondary CTA in a P.S. is one solution.

3. Call to action placement

When we talk about CTAs on a landing page, the ‘rule’ is to place it above the fold. This means your reader should see the call to action without scrolling down.

That can work for emails but what if you need to explain the offer in more detail? In that case put it at the end of the copy.

4. Call to action design

Typically, a button works better than linked text. But, some email clients, such as Outlook, sometimes display button incorrectly.

Let’s stick with using a button.

Your call-to-action email button should stand out. That means you should make a few design decisions that encourage subscribers to click. Here’s a list to consider:

Use a button

You can still include hyperlinked text in your message, but don’t use this as the sole call to action. Create a call-to-action button. Using a button rather than a hyperlink can increase click-through rates by as much as 28%.

Make it stand out

Use a button colour that stands out from the rest of your email design.

Size really does matter

Not too big. Not too small. The size of your button should fit in with the overall design.

It should attract the reader’s eye but not distract from the rest of your email content.

Use white space to your advantage

Give your button some room. White space around your button makes it clear to the reader where they need to look next.

5. Use the right words

Word choice is just as important as placement, colour, and size. Design makes your button stand out but it’s the words that drive the action.

Before we talk about what words to use, let’s look at words not to use. Be careful of friction words.

Friction words are those that imply your reader has to do something that they don’t necessarily want to do.

Common friction words include:

Your reader doesn’t want to buy or download something. What they want is the benefit of buying or downloading something.

So, to reduce the perceived effort for your readers, replace these friction words with frictionless words like “Get” or “Learn” and follow them up with a benefit statement (I.e., “Get your free account”).

Here are some tips.

Use action words

You want reader to take action so make sure your text reflects that. Use action words such as “shop”, “book”, or “order.” Tack on an urgent word to encourage instant action like “now” or “today.”

Keep it short

To be as effective as possible, don’t use more than four words in your call to action. Short and to the point.

Be relatable

You text should use a first-person point of view. Use words in your CTA such as “I” or “Me”.

It’s hard for your reader to miss it and encourages them click.

6. Test your CTA

You may think your CTA is in the perfect place, is the perfect colour, or has the perfect text. But does your average reader? Never guess.

Small changes can make a big difference. Moving your CTA to the top, or bottom, may improve click-through rates. But they could also decrease them. This is why testing is important.

Make sure you only test one change at a time. If you move the button to the top of your email and change the colour, was the result due to the placement or the colour?

Need inspiration?

There are thousands of examples you can find when you search.

Here are just a few.

Wrap up

Calls to action are as important in email marketing as they are to your website.

Don’t assume your reader will know what to do next. You need to tell them. And you do this by having one strong call to action.

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