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Optimise your email marketing CTAs to boost performance

“Discover more”, “Shop now”, “Sign up today”, and “Start free trial”. These popular calls to action (CTAs) are commonly used in email marketing to spark interest and inspire action.

When carried out effectively, email marketing can help businesses to keep in touch with their audience, drive engagement, increase brand awareness, and generate sales.

However, if you’re experiencing consistently low click-through rates and beginning to feel like you’re screaming into the abyss with your email marketing, it could be down to ineffective CTAs. The CTAs used in your marketing emails should be optimised to command attention and motivate the reader to take the desired action.

Choosing the right CTA for each marketing email you send can significantly improve the email’s performance by boosting click-through rates, encouraging audience engagement, and increasing conversion rates.

However, crafting a winning CTA isn’t as straightforward as it first seems. It involves more than choosing the right words; it also requires an understanding of design, psychology, and email marketing tools.

In this guide to email marketing CTAs, we’ll provide advice and tips on creating effective email marketing CTAs and boosting your campaigns’ performance.

What is an email marketing call to action (CTA)?

For an email marketing campaign to be effective, it should be clear to users what the purpose of the email is and what action they are expected to take after reading it. Common CTAs include “shop now”, “buy now”, “sign up”, and “try for free”.

A call to action (CTA) is an important marketing tool that can help give marketing emails clarity and purpose. A CTA is a short action-orientated instruction, usually only 2 or 3 words long. It grabs the user’s attention and tells them what to do next. CTAs are used to improve the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns by prompting users to take the desired action. This action could be anything from buying something, signing up, reading content, contacting the business, or downloading something.

In email marketing, the CTA is often a clickable link which directs users to a particular web page, product page, or optimised landing page.

What are the different types of email marketing CTA?

CTAs are most commonly associated with drumming up sales, but they can be used for so much more than this. A CTA should be included in every marketing email, no matter what the purpose or desired outcome of the email is. The CTA should be adapted to suit the desired outcome.

Let’s look at some of the different actions CTAs can prompt and common CTAs used to motivate these actions.

  • Make a purchase – “Buy now”, “Shop the sale”, “Shop now”, and “Add to cart”.
  • Read content – “Discover now”, “Read more”, “Learn more”, and “Find out more”.
  • Subscribe – “Subscribe now”, “Join our newsletter”, and “Join our community”.
  • Free trial – “Start your free trial”, “Join for free”, “Request a demo”, and “Try for free”.
  • Download content – “Download now”, “Get your eBook”, and “Access the whitepaper”.
  • Event registration – “RSVP now”, “Book your seat”, and “Register today”.
  • Give feedback – “Take our survey”, “Give feedback”, “Write a review”, and “Rate us”.
  • Join a loyalty program – “Join our loyalty program”, “Become a member”, and “Start earning points”.
  • Engage on social media – “Follow us”, “Like our page”, “Connect with us”, and “Join the conversation”.

Regardless of your objective, using CTAs to guide users towards the desired action can help drive results. 

Close up of email app icon on a smartphoneWhat are the benefits of an effective email marketing CTA?

CTAs may seem simple, but they drive powerful results when done right.

Whether the purpose of your marketing email is to engage, inform, or drive sales, the right CTA can help you to achieve the desired result.

Key benefits of using effective email marketing CTAs include the following:

Provide clarity and direction 

No matter how exciting your offer or message is, it can get lost without a clear call to action, causing readers to lose interest and close the email. A good CTA gives users straightforward instructions on what to do next, providing a clear path and improving user experience (UX).

Improve click-through rates

The click-through rate is a key metric in email marketing. It refers to the number of users who click on a link within the email. A CTA is usually used within the anchor text of your email links to encourage users to click and take action. The more clear, direct, and enticing your CTA is, the more likely users will click on the link, increasing your email marketing campaign’s overall click-through rate.

Increase email conversions

The more readers who click a link in an email and move to the next stage, the greater the likelihood of them converting. Whether you want to drive users to buy something, sign up, or read something, a compelling CTA can significantly boost your email’s conversion rates.

Drive engagement

The clearer your message is, the more engaged your audience will be.

Forge stronger customer relationships

Clear, compelling, and engaging messages and an excellent user experience all help to forge stronger customer relationships.

Increase revenue

Consistently using effective CTAs can directly influence sales and revenue. Even when the primary goal isn’t to generate sales, compelling CTAs can lead to other actions that indirectly contribute to sales later.

If your email marketing is not achieving the above results, there’s probably room for improvement. Here at Create8, our email marketing experts are offering a free, complimentary email marketing audit to help businesses unlock the power of email marketing. Contact us today to request your free email marketing audit.

Email marketing CTA techniques and best practices

Ready to learn the secrets behind high-performing email marketing CTAs? 

Use the techniques and best practices listed below to nudge readers towards the action you want them to take and get more value from your email marketing campaigns.

Make it clear and concise – While creativity has its place, your CTA should prioritise clarity. Keep the language clear, concise, and straightforward to avoid your message getting lost. Aim for a tone that is direct and compelling without being pushy.

Make it actionable – Your call to action should tell users what action you want them to take. Always incorporate a verb within your CTA to help guide your readers.

Limit your CTAs – Don’t overload your emails with CTAs. Usually, one or two will suffice, but make three your upper limit. Any more than this, and you risk diluting the message or confusing the user experience.

Position the CTA above the fold – Cover your ears now if you’re an email marketer. The reality is that most people don’t read to the end of marketing emails; in fact, many will only see what’s above the fold. Make sure your CTA is within plain view without scrolling.

Use contrasting colours – To make sure that your CTA stands out and demands attention, use contrasting colours for the CTA’s text colour and the surrounding background.

A/B test CTAs – Unsure which CTA will get the best results? A/B test different CTAs to see which version performs best and to take the guesswork out of choosing a CTA next time.

Track and measure success – By monitoring the performance of your email marketing campaigns, you can refine your CTAs to optimise the performance of future email marketing campaigns.

The psychology behind an effective CTA

Whilst adding a relevant CTA may sound like a cinch, crafting the optimal CTA for your email could require more research and thought than you realise.

Creating a CTA that gets the desired results requires more than slapping a button in your email that says “click here”. To optimise the results you achieve with your CTAs, you need to understand the human psychology behind the design and marketing principles that drive action.

There are several important aspects to consider when creating an email marketing CTA, including, what the CTA says, how it looks, and where it is positioned.

Man writing a email workflow strategy on a whiteboard

Let’s look at some of the most important psychological principles to consider when creating CTAs for email marketing. 

Make it simple – Humans tend to have an innate desire for cognitive ease, meaning they avoid cognitive strain where possible. Ensuring that your CTAs are straightforward, clear, and concise reduces the mental effort required to understand it and increases the likelihood of users engaging.

Create urgency or FOMO No one likes to feel that they’re missing out. Creating CTAs that evoke the fear of missing out (FOMO) or urgency can make action feel necessary.

Use action-orientated language – Incorporating action-orientated verbs like “start”, “discover”, and “join” can all help to stimulate a positive and proactive mindset in readers, increasing the likelihood of them engaging.

Offer value – When users perceive that they will receive something of value, whether information or a discount, they’re more likely to take the desired action.

Use colour psychology – Colour psychology is the study of how humans perceive and interpret different colours. According to colour psychology, colours can evoke emotions and shape perceptions in our minds, meaning the colours you choose for a CTA could help to amplify its emotional resonance and influence users’ decisions. For example, a red CTA may help to convey urgency, whilst a blue CTA could help to instil trust.

Include social proof – Humans are inherently social beings, and we often look to others for cues on how to behave. Placing your CTA side by side with a testimonial or displaying a stat that shows how many users have taken the same action can help to tap into our desire for social conformity, instil trust, and enhance credibility. 

Personalise it – Personalising your email marketing and CTAs can help to foster a sense of connection with readers, making action feel more relevant and significantly enhancing engagement rates.

Apply this information when creating your CTAs to turn simple prompts into powerful triggers that resonate with users on a deeper level.

Which is the best email marketing tool?

If you’re not yet using email marketing software to automate and streamline creating, sending, and tracking your email marketing campaigns, why not?

Email marketing tools can help you easily take your email marketing to the next level. These tools offer a variety of functionalities that can help to optimise your email marketing efforts and achieve better results from your campaigns.

There are plenty of different tools to choose from, including Mailchimp, Omnisend, ActiveCampaign, Brevo, and Drip. However, here at Create8, Klaviyo is our firm favourite. As a Shopify partner, many of our clients are eCommerce businesses, and Klaviyo is an intelligent email marketing automation platform built for eCommerce. It integrates seamlessly with popular eCommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce. We even featured the Klaviyo Shopify app as our Shopify app of the month over on our blog a while back.

Some of the key functionalities of Klaviyo include:

  • Dynamic segmentation – Segments your contact list in real-time based on product purchases, website browsing behaviour, order value, and more, allowing for more targeted marketing campaigns.
  • Personalisation – Behaviour-triggered emails are dynamically personalised for each buyer to help drive a higher ROI.
  • Visual flow builder – Includes dozens of essential flows already built-in and fully customisable.
  • Over 300 built-in integrations – For more advanced personalisation.
  • Automated A/B testing – Allows easy testing of different subject lines, CTAs, and content writing, to determine what resonates best with your target audience.
  • Detailed reports and analytics – Advanced analytics, including pre-built and custom reports to track message performance, revenue growth, and more.

The right email marketing tool could turn your email communications from bland to dynamic and from routine to revolutionary. 

Get a free email marketing audit from Create8!

Do you know how your email marketing campaigns are really performing? Are you achieving a good return on investment? Find out by requesting a free email marketing audit from our team of experts here at Create8.

During an audit, we assess and analyse your email marketing performance and offer actionable advice on how to start getting more from your campaigns. We highlight both the strengths and areas where there is room for improvement, providing clear steps for improving campaign performance.

Take action now! Contact us today to request your free email marketing audit.

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