Click here: optimize your email CTA

I’m guessing most of the goals you have for your email campaigns start with subscribers following a link. Clicks are music to the ears of email marketers, but what actually makes your subscribers click?

Is it, as many believe, simply the nature of the offer or content and how you present it? After all, either your subscriber is interested or they’re not; the link is just there to have something to click on. Or does the link itself also have an important role to play?

Actually, the words you put in and around a link, its position, color and other factors really do matter. Skeptical? One sender we know tested whether putting link text on a button would work better than link text on its own. The button used exactly the same wording, but got almost 70% more clicks than the text-only equivalent.

This example demonstrates why it’s worth doing a few A/B tests on your email “call-to-action”. This “CTA” is the image or text that prompts people to take an action (usually a click), like this example from the FreshAddress newsletter:

CTA or call to action example


What alternatives should you test?

1. CTA wording

“Click here” scores points for clarity and is certainly an option. However, you might be missing out on something better. Try different text in and around the link that uses action-oriented words and reminds your subscribers of the value of clicking.

For example:

  • “Shop now and save up to 50%”
  • “Discover how to cut costs in half”
  • “Download your free guide”

2. CTA appearance

Obviously, a link has to look like a link. Remember, though, that many people use a mobile device to view emails and can’t move a mouse cursor around to see what’s a link and what isn’t. They can just tap and hope, so ensure those links stand out. Consider testing:

  • Button versus plain text for the link
  • Font or button size (the CTA should be big enough to stand out from the surrounds, but not too big that it looks out of place or like an ad)
  • Button shape
  • Placing small icons or images next to the link (we’ve seen click increases come from adding a “>>” to the end of a CTA)
  • Color (make sure the color complements, but contrasts, with the surrounds and consider underlining text links)

3. CTA location

The general rule on CTAs: give them their own space, but place them wherever taking that action is most logical, such as “read more” at the end of an article summary or “buy now” next to a product offer. Test a few alternatives, such as moving the CTA above the text (or below…or both above and below!), or making words within your email text clickable.

Try some tests and you might be surprised by the increases you get. Repeat the tests after a few weeks or months just to make sure they’re still valid.

Have you had any great results with CTA tests? Let us know in the comments. (That last sentence was a call to action!)

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