How to Use Email CTAs Effectively

Email CTA's Header

The sign of a successful marketing email is a high level of engagement. Yes, it is great if your latest email generated a 70% open rate- but are these people actually bothering to engage with your content? This is where call to actions (CTAs) come in. Those little tempting buttons in emails that scream out “please click me!”. It might seem that little else besides ‘find out more’ and ‘click here’ can be used, but there are a number of clever ways that CTAs can be used effectively.

What are Email CTAs?

These are the buttons a reader is encouraged to click. This will result in an action, whether that is downloading an app, watching a video or completing a sale. Its main purpose in email marketing is to convert the reader to a visitor or a customer.

Types of CTAs

There are several types of CTAs you can use, the one you choose will depend on the goal you want to achieve. The most commonly used are:

  • Subscription CTAs
  • Purchase CTAS
  • Lead magnets
  • Learn more CTAs
  • Social sharing
  • From submissions

Once you have worked out what outcome you’re aiming for and have chosen the appropriate CTA, it is important to consider 3 important factors: wording, visuals and placement. Each of these play an equally important part in creating the most effective CTAs.

Get the wording right

You only have a few words to play with when writing copy for your CTAS and that is why it is so important to make them as tempting as possible. Think about what you are asking the reader to do. For example, if it is to sign up for a free trial rather than ‘sign up’, you could put ‘try for free’ or ‘get your free trial’.

Something I have noticed when playing around with wording is people don’t want to feel they are committing to anything. That’s why verbs like ‘browse’, ‘try’ and ‘discover’ are so effective.

Also, creating a sense of urgency will help drive that click-through rate (CTR) up. Everyone hates getting FOMO! By using words such as ‘now’ or phrases like ‘be the first’ the reader will be more compelled to click so they don’t miss out.
Here is a list of 75 CTAs for you to try in your next email campaign.

Designing your CTAs

It may not seem important to stress over the design of a button, but it can make a huge difference. You should make sure that you CTAs stand out and are obvious to the reader.

Using bright, contrasting colours means your CTA will be more eye-catching. Of course, the colours you use will depending on your branding but try to be as bold as possible and stay away from black and white!

If you have a few CTAs, consider which one you want to be your primary CTA. This is the one that you should place the most emphasis on. Whether this is using a different colour, making the text or button bigger, make sure this is where you are drawing the reader’s attention to.

Struggling for inspiration on new CTA designs? Hubspot are offering free customisable CTA templates.

Location, location, location

Another thing to consider is the placement of your CTA(s). You want this to be in a position where you have maximum exposure to generate a high CTR. The solution is simple, think about how we read– left to right, top to bottom. Naturally eyes will wonder in this direction too, so the placement of your CTA should mirror this pattern. Also, the order in which CTAs appear must also be logical. It would be no use to place a ‘sign up’ button before the reader knows what they would be signing up for.

Many people also debate on whether CTAs should be above or below the fold (the top or bottom half of your email). For the most part, above fold is preferred as if you place CTAs at the very end of the email you will notice that not many people are clicking through. This is likely because the attention spans of readers is less than 10 seconds long and they just aren’t reading all the way to the end.

Now you’re all geared up to go and create the most enticing and attractive CTAs ever! One last tip though, be sure to take advantage of A/B testing. Try different colours, wording and placements and see if some perform better than others. It is vital in marketing to constantly evolve and try new ideas, as this is how you stay on-top of trends and ahead of competition.

Even though these little buttons may not be something you focused too much attention on before, making these small changes can make a huge difference. Next time you create an email campaign, try out our tips and see if there’s any effect to your CTR and business goals.