How to increase email click through rate

How to increase clicks in your email.

How to build an email for higher click through rate.

In another one of my posts, I gave some tips on to get higher open rates; specifically how to craft an enticing subject line. That’s what a local business succeeded with as they recently emailed me. With their enticing subject line, they got me to open it. While skimming through the email, I saw that they invited me to an event. But there was something missing; the tiny fact that there was no link for me to click on for more information nor registration. In their reports, there might be a two-digit open rate, but definitely 0% click-through rate and 0 sign-ups for their event.

Yes, to look at the open rate is one way to measure how successful the email is, but it doesn’t stop there. The point of it all is that we want ENGAGED contacts, it’s their clicks in the email that leads to conversions and/or a purchase. In other words, don’t forget to look at the click-through rate when analysing your email performance.

Click Through Rate (CTR) Run Down:

The click-through rate is, as the name implies, a measurement of how many clicked your email. To calculate it, divide the number of unique clicks (the number of people that clicked) with the number of delivered emails (ignore the bounces and failed deliveries). Don’t forget to multiple by 100 to get the percentage.

Divide unique clicks with number of delivered emails to get the click through rate.

“What’s a good click-through rate?” you ask. Well, you can definitely aim for the 100% but don’t count on it. An average and more realistic CTR is around 4% but it varies from industry to industry.


Similar to the subject line, you only have a few seconds to encourage some sort of action within the email. Keep the email light; don’t go overboard with essays of text and design. Think that the email should be “scannable,” i.e. easy to just view it and still get a picture of what the email is about. If not, your offer and their opportunity to convert is hidden behind a bunch of letters and clutter. Images are recommended since they appeal to us more than text (but there’s still some considerations that needs to be in mind, see bullet 2).

Call-to-actions (CTAs)
Ever heard of choice overload (or overchoice)? It’s a real thing! It’s like when you go to a restaurant and there’s just too much good stuff on their menu as dense as a Bible that you can’t decide on anything, you get frustrated and just end up taking whatever. Imagine an email with one button for a discount, another link to sign-up for an event, one to watch a video etc, etc. Which one CTA would you choose? Exactly. Concentrate the email to one (max two) CTAs. If you have a lot to say with different types of contents, discounts, invites etc, spread them out. One purpose for one email.


Images – yes, but together with text
Images are more appealing and easier to grasp than just text, so add some as appropriate. However, make sure that the information you want to share is NOT just visible in the images. Many web browsers have images disabled, meaning that they won’t show immediately (or not at all).

Images appeal to us and your subscribers, but make sure that the information is presented in text as well. The email should be able to stand alone sans images.

I mentioned choice overload and call-to-actions earlier, here’s a tip for you: use the same call-to-action throughout the email but in different formats. A button, a hyperlink, an image – those URLs should point to the same landing page (or whatever offer you’re promoting in this email). Some recipients like buttons, others only care about images – by using different types of CTAs, you’re covered on all ends.

I shouldn’t have to say this anymore as our mobile phones have become as important as any other vital organ (kind of). Half of all emails are opened on a mobile device and most users deleted the email if it doesn’t look good on mobile. Use a responsive email design to fit it automatically to any screen.


You know how it is when emails arrive at recipients’ inboxes all the time; they don’t open them immediately cause they’re busy and then they forget about it. After your first initial sendout, hold off for 4-5 days and do a second send out of the same email. However, this time only to those that did not open it in that first initial send out. It just takes a few minutes to do this and in return, you’re given another chance for higher click through rate AND open rate! I suggest you to switch out the subject line though; you never know it could’ve been that didn’t trigger a click.


There are a bunch of different types of content formats for your recipients to indulge in, for example “listicles”, infographics, webinars, etc. The best way is to use a mix of them to capture the interest of all recipients, no matter their preferences. However in this post, I will focus on one of the formats due to its great affect on CTR.

This one is close to my heart, I just love adding videos to our marketing mix. And so do your subscribers. Video could increase click through rate by as much as 300%

Some say that you can embed videos to play directly in the mail, for instance by adding it with HTML 5, but to be honest, this is not something that I’ve tried myself nor do I recommend it. First off, many email clients do NOT support embedded videos in emails, they’re might be a play-button but it simply won’t play. Secondly, the larger the file size of the email, the more you risk your email deliverability, and videos can turn out to be quite hefty when it comes to file size.

I still encourage videos though; instead of embedding the video straight to the email, create a title image as a video preview and link it to the page that hosts the video. Although this way requires two clicks to view the video, I rather choose that than risk the email not being delivered at all.

As mentioned previously, keep in mind that we need to make the email readable without images as well (in case the web client didn’t preview images); I usually add a button and/or a hyperlink in the text, where all call-to-actions direct to that same video landing page.

To create a high-quality video might take time, time that not all of us have, but you can still add interactive elements to your email. Gifs are a fun way to bring life into your email. Note: if an email client don’t support moving images in the email, it’s the first frame in the gif they use as the “fallback image.”


The very simplest science behind a good CTR is to have a list of subscribers that want to hear from you, a so-called clean list. This is especially important with the past year’s constant talk about GDPR; you must have subscribers consent to email them.

Make sure you use opt-ins when you’re growing your email subscribers list. The only way someone should end up on your list is if they ask to be put there.

Maintaining a clean list
Keep the list clean by keeping track of how engaged the subscribers are. Did the email bounce the last couple of times to a specific email address? Perhaps that email address doesn’t belong on your list then (plus too many bounces risks your sender reputation).

What if a recipient didn’t even open your last couple of send outs? Do they still want to hear from you? I suggest a re-engagement campaign. If they’re still passive, if they don’t open the last 2-3 emails, move them away from your email list.

An engaged subscriber list not only increases your chances of a higher CTR; it also boosts your email deliverability and sender reputation.

I hope that these tips gave you some inspiration to create emails that are simply impossible not to click. I know there are more tips on this out there, now I want to hear your tips. How do you make your emails irresistible to click? Let me know in the comments!

As Digital Marketing Manager, Josefine oversees strategies, production and processes for all content marketing efforts, including social media, email and blog. She also introduced videos into their content marketing strategy, in which she shares her best tips on different marketing topics.

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