Despite what you read, email marketing remains the most trusted form of communication.
Email marketing can be a great way to grow your business, but how do you tap into that potential?
Enticing subject lines, persuasive content and eye-catching design is a great place to start, but is it enough to see an ROI of sparkling heights?
The short answer is no. There is another important factor that is frequently overlooked by marketers, and that is the call to action (CTA).
In this blog post you will learn what a call to action is and how to write one to boost your conversions.
What Is a Call to Action, and Why Is It so Important?
A call to action is a design element – usually a graphic button or line of hyperlinked text – that persuades your subscribers to do something. That something could be an invitation to buy a product, visit a website, download a brochure or sign up for an event.
The clue really is in the name – a CTA calls on your subscribers to take action today.
Your email’s CTA is important because CTA’s tell customers exactly what they need to do next. The average consumer receives 416 commercial emails each month, so time is of the essence. Getting your readers to click on your CTA is more important than ever. A CTA can significantly improve the percentage of subscribers who act upon an email. In simpler terms – it can really drive up your conversion rates.
Here is an example of a CTA:
How to Craft the Perfect Call to Action
A call to action must inspire consumers to connect further with your brand. It’s a tall task for a small button, but it can be done. Here’s how:
1. Define Your Purpose
Before you think about colors and copy, you should first decide what it is you want your customers to do. Are they buying a product, requesting a quote or downloading information?
There are hundreds of reasons to call to action, and you must be clear on yours.
Define the purpose, or the ‘what? why? who? how?’. What is the offer? Why are you offering it? Who is it for? And how can they claim it?
Knowing the answers will help you design a CTA that successfully conveys this message.
2. Offer Something of Value
From a consumer perspective, clicking a button is more of a commitment than simply browsing an email. Give them a reason to invest their time (and hard earned money) in you.
A call to action must provide value – it could be a special offer, a discount or essential information. Don’t be coy. Let everyone know exactly what the incentive is!
A CTA within an email is not the time or place for cryptic messaging or teasers. Seventy-two percent of consumers sign up to newsletters for the discounts or equally valuable offers, so give them what they want.
3. Be Clear in Your Language
The language you use in your call to action is very important. A few simple words can be the difference between no clicks and huge conversion rates.
Call-to-action copy has to work extremely hard. It needs to be compelling, to the point and clear. There isn’t space for long paragraphs, so you need to pack as much as you can into a short sentence.
Here are a few tips for writing enticing CTA copy:
- Be assertive – don’t be afraid to tell people exactly what to do.
- Stay on brand – use language that ties in with your company’s voice.
- Give context – tell readers what will happen if they click the link.
Make sure you avoid weak phrases like ‘Click Here’ or ‘Buy Now’ because they are generic and offer no value.
Here are some examples of calls to action that have compelled us to click on a CTA within an email marketing campaign:
- Download your Exclusive Report now
- Sign up for free, today only!
- Click here to learn more
- Shop the collection now
- Click here for your exclusive 50% discount
4. Consider the Design
The design of your call to action, whether it’s a line of text or a button, is as significant as the wording. The CTA should stand out, look good and, like the copy, complement your branding. There are many things to consider when designing a CTA, and we have broken it down into three easy sections:
Designing a Button
A button is the most common way to display a call to action. You can create a button for your email campaign in two different ways. You can either build it using HTML, or you can design it as an image that can be inserted into the email. Although inserting images is the easier of the two, not all email clients will show the image. HTML buttons display correctly in every email client, plus they load faster and often are the preferred choice.
Color and Contrast
The easiest and most effective way to make your CTA stand out is with color. Use a color that is in contrast with the rest of the email to draw the eye. In a test case featured on Unbounce, the team was able to boost the sales of a product by 35.81% by simply changing the color and shape of the call-to-action button:
Size and Placement
The general rule of thumb for a CTA is big and bold. 53 % of emails are opened on a mobile device, so it’s really important that your design is optimized for multiple devices. The larger the button, the easier it is to read and click.
A CTA placed above the fold and surrounded by plenty of white space is ideal. However, according to KISSmetrics, the placement of the CTA should be determined in accordance with the complexity of the webpage.
If you are selling a complicated product, the CTA button should be lower down the page. This gives the visitor a chance to read and understand the information before making a decision.
5. Create a Sense of Urgency
Make your CTA impossible for subscribers to ignore by creating a sense of urgency by using factors like time constraints (24 hour sale) and scarcity (only 100 free copies available). Such tactics force customers to act quickly.
You want them to be thinking about what will happen if they don’t click the link right now.
If they don’t click, they will miss out on the offer of a lifetime or will never know the all-important insider secrets.
Nobody likes to miss out, especially when there is a great offer available. A combination of value, urgency and a call to action has proven effective time and time again.
6. Keep It Simple
It’s common to stuff your email marketing campaigns with an overload of content in the hope of appealing to all your subscribers. However, research has shown that emails with more content, links and calls to action are less effective.
“Why?” you ask.
Too many options can lead to customers making no choice at all, which is known as the “paradox of choice”.
If an email is too cluttered, the core message becomes diluted, and your conversion rate drops.
A case study featured on eConsultancy revealed just how much impact simplifying your messages can have. They tested an email campaign with four call-to-action buttons against an email with just one and found that the second achieved a 42% increase in clicks!
7. Don’t forget to test!
You can spend hours designing a button and perfecting copy, but you will only truly know if your CTA works by getting it out there.
Real-world testing is the best way to fine-tune and increase the effectiveness of a call to action. Testing is the perfect way to review different options and assess them side by side under the same conditions.
There are several things you can test such as language, color, design, size, shape and placement. Try something new with each email, and analyze your results to understand what works and what doesn’t.
There is no one-size-fits-all method for creating an effective call to action.
Each CTA is as unique as the email to which it belongs.
That being said, the tips provided here have proven successful in many cases and will help you tap into the massive potential of email marketing.
Do you have any tips on how to choose the right call to action for your email marketing campaign?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.
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