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You’ve created a great email that’s receiving an above-average open rate. The content is great, but your click-throughs are not performing as well as you’d like.

The problem might not be with your copy or images. Instead, there could be one small item missing from your email that plays a major role in its overall success: a good call to action (CTA).

In the simplest terms, your CTA is what encourages readers to click on a specific part of your email to bring them to the destination that you want. It brings your customers to the next stage in the journey you’ve set up and takes them a step closer to making a purchase.

Button up your CTA to improve email response rates.

There are two common types of CTAs: hyperlinked in-line text or buttons. Hyperlinked CTAs appear as a line in the body copy—just like this—and link directly to another page. Buttons appear as a clickable image or cell block that’s separate from the main part of your body with short, actionable text that directs readers to click.

Buttons appear as a clickable image that’s separate from the main part of your body with short, actionable text that directs readers to click.

Source: Campaign Monitor

Both styles of CTAs will work to give your readers something to click and a next step where they can learn more information, but buttons generally perform better than in-line links. Your readers will generally be scanning your copy, so you need to catch their attention quickly. While they might miss a hyperlinked section of the text, buttons are more noticeable and can improve your click rates.

According to Campaign Monitor research, button-based CTAs improved click-through rates by 127%.

Single CTAs are (almost) always best.

Although CTAs can help improve your email response rates, you need to be careful not to add too many calls to action. Your goal should be to take your reader down a very specific path. If you give them several options and paths to take, they’re typically less likely to end up in the destination that you want.

In most cases, it’s best to stick to a single CTA. Doing this helps to reduce your email clutter and makes the next step easier for your readers. Plus, emails with a single CTA receive 371% more clicks compared to those with multiple calls to action. However, if it’s a content-oriented CTA, it might be good to have a primary button, with secondary options that are less bold to give a few more options.

How to measure CTAs and email response rates

You’re already measuring the basic metrics of your email performance like click-through rates. How do you know which success is directly caused by your CTA?

You need to A/B test.

To determine how your CTA is impacting your email performance, you first need to understand how well your email is performing before adding or changing your CTA. Then you’ll see what changes after you make your update. For instance, if adding a button to the bottom of your email improves click-through rates from 3% to 6%, you could safely say your CTA change doubled your clicks—as long as that’s the only update you made to your email.

Does it really matter?

Your email campaigns absolutely need to be built with clear CTAs in order to be successful. Not only do they help funnel your readers down the specific path you want them to take, but they also create a better user experience for your customers.

It’s important to remember that adding or updating a CTA isn’t the only thing that matters when improving your email performance. You still need to make sure you’re segmenting your audience. If you’re sending to the wrong people, your call to action might not be relevant and you won’t notice a big increase in performance.

What now?

Now that you understand the impact of a clear, concise CTA in your email marketing, you can take steps to ensure your email campaigns are built with these best practices in mind. While you’re at it, you should consider other tactics that will work to improve your email marketing campaigns, especially if you run a small business.

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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