Half the battle of any email campaign is managing to grab your audience’s attention with engaging content, the other half is making sure you convert that attentive audience into interacting with your content. Even with high open rates, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are really engaging with your audience. It is quite common to see low conversion rates when emails aren’t centred around getting the customer to focus their attention towards a particular call to action.
Every day we receive a number of emails in our inboxes covering a wide range of subjects, from informative updates to newsletters we may have signed up for in the past. But what sparks that first half of engagement makes us want to open the email instead of just swiping left and deleting it?
We all know a catchy subject line works wonders for increasing call to action activity. Once we get the audience reading the content of the email, the next half of the battle begins, and the emails that always seem to prompt us to actively engage with them are those which appeal to our interests. In general, if you want your call to action (CTA) to catch the reader’s eye and drive active engagement, you need to give careful thought to the CTA’s placement within the email and and the precise language you use to grab that attention. Effective calls to action are based around good design and good use of text which indicates a reward for clicking, at the end of the day there’s a reason they are called ‘calls to action’, so be sure to use text that encourages readers to take action and include strong visuals with a sense of immediacy.
A great example of CTAs being put to good use is when artists release new music online. In this day and age, success is (sadly) determined by how many listens an artist’s song can accumulate, as opposed to actual record sales. Emails promoting new music releases are a great example of CTAs that have a clear immediacy which rewards the reader for clicking, providing the reader with an abundance of opportunities to listen to the track straight away from within the email.
Phrases like ‘click here’ provide no real reward for clicking, as they do not provide the reader with any incentive for clicking or an indication of what they will see once they do click ‘here’. The best CTAs utilise text relating to what you are offering as they provide a more attractive incentive to the reader, which in turn is more beneficial to your marketing campaign. The example below is a simple but effective CTA used by Chipotle from one of their recent campaigns. The term ‘claim now’ instantly gives the reader the impression they will receive something by clicking (in this instance, a free burrito), which helps achieve the marketing goal by driving click throughs and ultimately ensuring retention. (Just as a side note, depending on the styling of your email we would recommend not centre aligning your text as it is less accessible and can sometimes be harder to read).
Be aware about the positioning of the call to action within your email template. The main aim of including a call to action is to get people to click on it, so for example by placing it near the bottom of a long email will not do you any favours. Ideally, you want it to be in a prominent place so it is recommended to keep it above the fold of the email, this should ensure nobody ever misses the CTA and it gives the reader the opportunity to know fairly soon what they will get as a result of opening the email.
Consideration can also be given to focusing text around the first person, for example changing ‘your’ to ‘my’. Of course this all depends what the subject is, but through simple A/B testing you will be able to see which works best for you. Our in house email software, Enabler, gives you the option to split send to your database, which is a great way to see how a particular set of customers react differently to others. Discover how A/B testing can help you achieve more from your campaigns here.
One important thing to remember is that a call to action is not just a meaningless small button tucked away at the end of an email. In order for it to be effective, the call to action needs to be relevant to the content of your email, and on some occasions the subject line.
If more than one call to action is required in the email, then you need to add variety to your CTAs by avoiding using the same one throughout. Different calls to action will trigger different emotions for people, so by adding multiple and varied CTAs which ultimately have the same goal increases the chances of getting that message across to the reader and encourages them to click.
These screen grabs from a recent Dr Martens email include different CTAs showing the reader the variety of products currently on offer, while also relating with the email subject line ‘Most Wanted Docs’ and overall message.
If your email requires more than one call to action to be included, decide which is the most important and make it stand out more than the others. This will not only ensure your promotion stands out, but also give the customer the option to choose another route if they so wish.
It can be beneficial to leave plenty of white space around calls to action – a recent study by UX found user activity increased by 20% in email that incorporated white space into their templates (and around CTAs). Due to the CTAs impact as a result of the white space, other components such as images and font colours stand out better. Sometimes less is more and in this instance having some form of white space goes a long way to getting the customer to view your products and/or services.
Calls to action do not necessarily need to be limited to just text. Over the past few years we have seen an increase in the usage of imagery and animation not only in email but in most forms of digital communication – anything from a meme to a GIF. With regards to GIFs, including them can definitely help towards a larger conversion rate. They add an extra element to the overall look and feel of your template designs by providing a much more visual (and in some cases literal) portrayal of your content. GIFs allow you to tell more of a story and have a clearer message that takes away some of the (mis)interpretation text-only emails may cause. Having a more visual CTA could be the advantage you are looking for to get ahead of your competitors. Here’s examples of good GIF usage:
Overall, a good call to action within an email is one which grabs the users interest and encourages them to click through. They are an integral addition to any template especially when the objective is for example to promote a product or event, placing importance on the design, placement and integration of a CTA will help you get much more from your email campaigns.