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Article first published in October 2017, updated July 2019

Do you want to boost email engagement and conversion rates for your brand?

If you want to convert more customers and earn more revenue from your email campaigns, you need to create calls to action (CTAs) that resonate with subscribers. CTAs are elements within an email that encourage subscribers to take action.

These actions might be reading an article, browsing through an online store, or making a purchase.

An effective CTA is well-designed, persuasive, specific, and in line with the rest of your sales funnel. When a CTA is built for the subscriber, they’re more likely to click.

In this post, we’ll explore 4 elements that create successful calls to action.

So what makes a CTA effective? Let’s take a look at four elements of successful CTAs.

1. Eye-catching design

If you want readers to click your CTAs, you need an eye-catching design.

When designing your CTAs, use colors that contrast with the rest of your email content to make your CTAs pop. You’ll also want to make sure that your CTAs are large enough that they stand out from the body content of your emails.

For example, the colors in this Sephora email make the CTA pop. There’s a white background, with a bright pink CTA button. Plus, the email features a creative, custom design that directly relates to the value proposition of the CTA, which is the chance to win a trip to Paris.

Not only do you need to consider colors and images, but you should also consider placement of the CTA. Many brands swear by the inverted pyramid method, which places the CTA button at the bottom of an upside-down triangle.

For example, Invision uses the inverted pyramid method twice in one email to guide the eye to their CTAs.

Invision – CTA Placement

2. Copy that persuades

The copy in your emails should engage subscribers and encourage them to take action. Your CTA copy, in particular, should compel them to click.

When writing your CTA copy, avoid technical language and opt for simpler, more practical action words. Some marketers use words like “Submit” or “Register” on their buttons, but you may be better off using more specific language that hints at exactly what the subscriber will get by clicking.

For example, Flume, an award-winning musician, sent out a campaign to download one of his tracks. His CTA, which reads “Download Now,” specifically shares what the subscriber will get.

Other ideas for CTA copy are:

  • Book now
  • Register now
  • Get help
  • Buy now
  • Shop now
  • Meet [Product Name]
  • Learn More
  • See it in action

Check out 75 calls to action to use in your email campaigns

3. Specificity that shows value

Your subscribers’ time is valuable, and you need to quickly grab their attention. Don’t beat around the bush—include the specific value of what someone will get when they click.

For example, WebpageFX offers free audits to subscribers of our Marketing Manager Briefing emails. Using a custom, three-pronged CTA, we communicate the value of the audits and let people know exactly what they will receive when they click the buttons.

WebpageFX – Custom CTAs

Even though it may seem counterintuitive to offer three different CTAs, we’ve found that offering three options allows our subscribers to select the offering that’s most valuable to them.

4. Alignment with landing pages

In order for CTAs to be successful, they need to take subscribers to a relevant landing page.

Instead of linking CTAs to random pages on your website, you should link your CTAs to pages that are the most relevant to what’s promised in the CTA. Often times, marketers build custom landing pages just to capture traffic from emails.

For example, Minted sent out a marketing email promoting their wedding invitations.

When a subscriber clicks “Shop Wedding,” they are taken to a highly relevant landing page that matches their expectations from the email.

Minted – Link CTA to Relevant Landing Page

4 ways to ensure your CTAs are accessible

Call to action email marketing best practices demand that a CTA be easily accessible, which means your CTA should be easy to:

  • See. A call-to-action that can’t be seen won’t do you any good, no matter how compelling your email copy may be. It will just leave your readers hanging and wondering what to do next.
  • Understand. A confusing or ambiguous call-to-action is as bad one that can’t be seen. Your reader won’t be able to know the next steps to take and the end result will be a poorly converting email campaign.
  • Click. If your CTA is hard to click, it frustrates those customers who are interested in your offer. In their frustration, some of your customers may even decide to opt out of your email list.
  • Readable by screen readers. Screen readers process links and buttons in a different way. As such, you need to ensure that your CTA is easy for them to process.

So, how do you ensure that your CTAs are accessible? Let’s find out.

1. Placement is everything

Pay careful attention to the placement of your call to action. While it shouldn’t seem out of place, it definitely has to be bold enough to be seen at a glance. Apart from the right placement, you should also size your call-to-action appropriately.

Pay careful attention to the placement of your call to action. While it shouldn’t seem out of place, it definitely has to be bold enough to be seen at a glance.

A well-placed and well-sized call to action must look and feel natural in your email.

2. Play around with your colors

Another way of ensuring that your CTA is clearly visible to your readers is to use a color that contrasts the color scheme of your email. However, make sure that the contrast is aesthetically pleasing.

Another way of ensuring that your CTA is clearly visible to your readers is to use a color that contrasts the color scheme of your email.

For best results, play around with your colors, making sure to run split tests to see which color combination drives more clicks.

3. Keep button copy short, sweet, and clear

Long button copy looks cluttered and can lead to confusion. In order for your readers to know what to do with your email, make sure to use button copy that is concise and straightforward. Don’t use complex words or industry-related jargon in your call to action.

Here’s an excellent example of call-to-action copy from Salesforce.

Here’s an excellent example of call-to-action copy from Salesforce.Source: Really Good Emails

Yes, the CTA copy is only two words long, but it’s so simple that it’s immediately clear to the reader what the next step is.

4. Create accessible CTA buttons using ARIA

Technology is making it easier for screen readers to offer good user experience. Harness these developments and create accessible CTAss that screen readers can understand. Here’s an article that delves deeper into the subject.

Wrap up

No matter your business, CTAs can help you engage subscribers and encourage them to take action. Good CTAs build brand awareness, grow web traffic, and ultimately result in more conversions and sales. To improve the success of your email campaigns, incorporate these 4 elements into your CTA.

Ready to increase the effectiveness of your calls to action email marketing? Before you go ahead and implement these strategies, make sure to check out our 10 tips to optimize your call to action first. This article will give you guidelines on email marketing CTA best practices and a holistic approach to design.

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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