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Article first published March 2016, updated March 2019

When you create an email marketing campaign, one of the most important components is the call to action or CTA. A call-to-action email button grabs a subscriber’s attention and encourages him or her to act.

These simple buttons have a way of radically transforming an email marketing campaign. These few lines of text help marketers understand how their digital marketing campaigns are performing and what they need to do to succeed.

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

An email marketing call to action is a button or hyperlinked line of text that directs a user to a website of a brand’s choosing. The point of a CTA is to drive consumers to action.

Below is an example of a very direct call to action. The button is visible, eye-catching, and hard to ignore. When brands incorporate CTAs, they are compelling users to do more than just read.

When brands incorporate CTAs, they are compelling users to do more than just read.

Source: Campaign Monitor

When users click on these links, they are directed to a brand’s home page, product page, or content resource that gives them more opportunities to learn about a brand, make a purchase, and more.

Why is a call to action important?

CTAs are essential in the email marketer’s arsenal. These simple, yet powerful, buttons are what separate the good emails from the great ones, because an email—no matter what kind of campaign it’s used in—should continue a conversation or interaction between a brand and a consumer.

Whether a brand is sending out a newsletter, thanking a user for a purchase, or reminding a consumer about their full cart, an email should include at least one CTA to spur some kind of interactivity.

While these buttons are necessary, they’re not always the easiest of elements to embed.

To push back against reader fatigue, marketers need to experiment with their CTAs to make the right impression on their audiences at the right time.

For this post, we’ve curated 75 calls to action, broken down by category, plus five tips to help you use call to actions effectively in your email marketing campaigns.75 calls to action that get clicked

75 calls to action that get clicked

CTAs that encourage a purchase

  • Shop now
  • Shop our fall collection
  • Shop now. Get 50% off.
  • Shop our best sellers
  • Act now
  • Save today
  • Buy now
  • Buy now. Pay later.
  • Buy it today
  • Yes! I want one.
  • Order now
  • Repeat your order
  • Claim your coupon
  • Reveal my mystery coupon
  • Start saving today
  • Don’t delay. Save now.
  • See your hand-selected deals
  • Get 50% off now
  • Shop for the clothes you want
  • Get the style you want
  • Get your winter wardrobe
  • Get free shipping
  • Free gift with purchase

CTAs for the holidays

  • Find holiday gifts
  • Shop Santa’s favorites
  • Order now. Get it before Christmas.
  • Spread holiday cheer
  • ‘Tis the Season. Donate now.
  • Claim your birthday coupon
  • Shop birthday deals
  • Yes! I want my birthday deal.
  • Our gift: 15% off

CTAs for content

  • Learn more
  • Read more
  • Curious? Read on
  • Download the eBook
  • Download now
  • Keep reading
  • Read the full story
  • Get the app

CTAs for video

  • Watch now
  • See the crazy video
  • Hear from our CEO
  • Hear her story
  • See the difference you make

CTAs for events

  • Reserve your seat
  • Register now
  • Book your tickets
  • I’m coming!
  • I’ll be there!
  • Count me in!
  • Book now for early bird prices
  • Sign me up
  • Save me a spot
  • Register for our webinar

CTAs for service-based businesses

  • Book your next appointment
  • Start your free trial
  • Upgrade now
  • Yes! I want a free upgrade.
  • Make me a VIP
  • Sign up and save

CTAs that focus on results

  • Find out how
  • Start today
  • See how your business benefits
  • Get results now
  • Start now. Get results.
  • I’m ready to see a change

CTAs to collect feedback

  • Complete our 5-minute survey
  • Take a survey
  • Leave a review
  • Give us your feedback
  • Let us know how we did

CTAs for social media

  • Follow us
  • Stay connected on social
  • Like us on Facebook

5 tips to use CTAs effectively in your email marketing

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.

1. Number of calls to action

It might seem as though more CTAs give subscribers more options, which means increased engagement with your brand, but that’s not always how it works. Using a CTA in marketing requires a balance between options and simplicity.

If your email has too many calls to action, subscribers may get overwhelmed. Make the choice simple by providing one call to action and, if you must have more than that, give your secondary CTA a different weight by making it a different color or placing it elsewhere in your email.

2. Call to action placement

There is a lot of debate on the best place to put a call to action in an email. Some email marketing experts say your call to action should be “above the fold,” which means subscribers should see the call to action without scrolling down. Others say placing the call to action at the bottom of an email makes the most sense.

Both of these are correct, so, to figure out which one is right for your email, use common sense. If a subscriber can quickly understand the purpose of your email, placing a call to action above the fold makes sense. However, if your offer requires some explanation, put the call to action at the end of the email.

In the example below from Birchbox, the call to action is placed at the end of the email because the offer requires some explanation:

3. Call to action design

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:

Create 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 conversion rates by as much as 28%.

Pick a unique color

Make the email call to action a color that’s not used, or rarely used, in your email, so it stands out. Take a look at the email from De Beers and notice the light blue color used for the call to action.

Size matters

Make sure the button’s size is appropriate. Preview your email after it’s designed to make sure the call to action fits with your overall presentation.

Use white space to your advantage

Leaving white space near the call to action draws the eye. Take a look at the white space around the “Register Now” call to action used in an email by SXSW:

4. Call to action copy

Don’t underestimate the importance of word choice in your call to action. The words in your call to action provide the necessary direction for subscribers to follow through with an action. Use these tips to get your wording right:

Use action-inducing words

You want subscribers to act fast, so make sure your word choice reflects that. Use action words like “shop,” “book,” and “order.” Tack on an urgent word to encourage instant action like “now” or “today.” Consult our list of 80+ marketing words for more choices to use in your email marketing campaigns.

In this example from Zendesk, there are multiple CTAs with extremely impactful language. These words inspire action and compel users to click immediately.

In this example from Zendesk, there are multiple CTAs with extremely impactful language. These words inspire action and compel users to click immediately.

Source: Really Good Emails

Keep it short

Your call to action should be short and to the point. Notice that most of the calls to action in our master list above are about 2-4 words long. This is what you should aim for to keep your call to actions effective.

Here’s an example from Emma of an email that makes use of concise language to compel users to act organically and seamlessly. Emma’s call to action of “See How” will spur clicks from the curious.

Here’s an example from Emma of an email that makes use of concise language to compel users to act organically and seamlessly.

Source: Really Good Emails

Be relatable

More and more calls to action contain “I” or “me” in the copy. You’ll notice several call to action examples in our list like “Yes! I want a free upgrade” or “Count me in!” Using language like this makes a call to action more relatable and encourages subscribers to click.

In this example, the use of words like “me” put the email directly into the inbox, and immersed the readers completely. Language utilizing a first-person point of view is hard for any reader to overlook. As a result, it encourages them to click through.

Language utilizing a first-person point of view is hard for any reader to overlook. As a result, it encourages them to click through.

Source: Really Good Emails

5. Test your CTA

A small change in your call to action can make a big difference. You might not expect higher click-through rates as a result of moving your call to action above the fold or changing the color, but it happens all the time. This is why testing is important.

From placement to copy, you can test various aspects of your call to action and let your audience’s response decide what’s best.

You will only want to test one thing at a time, or it will be difficult to discern which change makes a difference. For example, if you want to test call-to-action copy, one group of subscribers gets an email with “Shop Now” as the call-to-action copy, and the other group gets an email with “Shop our Spring Collection” as the call-to-action copy. The test focuses on one thing: the text. Use the data to make the best choice.

Wrap up—the importance of an actionable CTA

Using this extensive list of call to action examples and tips, you can create emails that encourage swift action from your subscribers.

When creating an effective CTA, it’s important that you consider the following tips:

  • The number of CTAs you want
  • The placement of said CTAs
  • The design of your CTA button
  • The copy on your CTA
  • Your ability to test its effectiveness

When you keep these things in mind, you can ensure your CTA makes the right impact on audiences.

Depending upon your industry, the type of CTA you use will differ, but this wide variety of CTA options and categories can help give your marketing team the insights it needs to create a CTA button that drives results.

Need more tips on how to create a campaign-worthy CTA? Check out our post on CTA email marketing.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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