Best email Call to Action rules

Marketers send emails for many different reasons, but mostly their goal is to encourage their subscribers to action or to “call them to action”.

A well crafted call to action can make or break the effectiveness of any marketing email. I have highlighted 5 good examples of email marketing calls to action. Click on the images below to see how the call to action fits into the marketing email as a whole.

1)   Above the Fold Call to Action

Whether you design websites or marketing emails, you will know that important content is best placed above the fold. While informing and enticing subscribers is obviously important and worthy of the prime position above the fold, so to is the call to action. This email from Firefox is a great example of giving the call to action more visibility by putting it near the top of the email.

Consumers are busy, so email marketers need to make it as easy as possible for their subscribers to click on the call to action. Don’t expect a customer to go looking for it.

2)   All Roads Lead to Call to Action

If you find that your call to action would not fit above the fold, then you need to make sure that it is still easy to find. This email from Catch effectively leads the reader on a journey through the email, with an obvious destination, which is the call to action button requesting you to “Go To Wonderland”.

3)   Highlighting Everything, Highlights Nothing

Many people are afraid of white space when designing an email, thinking that it makes the email look unfinished or cold. They then decide to fill the email with colour. In some cases this is fine, but there is also a danger that if you highlight everything you end up highlighting nothing.

Contrast is vital for any call to action and having a white background makes it easier to achieve a good contrast. The below example illustrates this point to great effect. Your eye is immediately drawn to the brightly coloured button.

4)   Why Should I Heed Your Call to Action?

Put yourself in your customers shoes and think would I click on this call to action and is it enticing enough. Consumers respond to your marketing emails only when there is a perceived value in them doing so. In some cases the chance to see a retailers latest line of clothing is enough of a reason to click through, for other retailers a more tangible incentive needs offering to encourage customers to click on the call to action.

Whatever the value or incentive is, it needs to be clearly conveyed.

5)   Short and Powerful Call to Action

Keep your calls to action short so that consumers get the message even if they just skim over the email. If it is compelling enough, subscribers will be more likely to spend some time reading the email further.

Also, you are trying to call someone to action so make sure you use a verb in your wording, doing words get things done!

Other things to consider

  • Text Link: Don’t rely solely on image based call to action links. A well crafted text link can look just as eye catching and has the added benefit of displaying even if images in the email are turned off.
  • Deliver on your promise: Customers click on a call to action because there was the promise of value. If this promised value is not delivered or not easily found once the customer is on your website, the customer will be less likely to click through in future. “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” Actually I think this is the correct idiom.
  • Test different calls to action: Try a different colour button, different wording or test the difference between a text or image call to action.  With A/B split testing or Multivariate Testing (MVT) you can find the best performing button or variation of call to action elements.