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Adrian Mott | October 1, 2014

The Importance of Attention-Grabbing Calls to Action for Your Next Email


We have all seen lines like these screaming at us at the end of emails, blog posts or web pages. Even billboards and TV spots urge us to “Call Today” or “Visit Our Website”.

Accurately termed “calls-to-action”, these commands are designed to incent us to act on a specific task related to the content we have just been reading. Calls to action, or CTAs, are a critical component of email marketing or web site design. If you don’t ask your reader to take any action, then how will you ever increase your queue of leads or gain new customers?

Why Are CTAs So Critical?

CTAs are vital to the success of your marketing efforts because they provide clear, straightforward direction on what you want your reader to do next. Whether that is buy a product, register for an event or call today to schedule an appointment. Without a CTA, the reader will likely assume that is what they should do, but a succinct call to action gets them to that point faster.

In email marketing specifically, CTAs are important components to include at the end of your email to ensure your reader doesn’t become distracted. Because your email is likely robust, with several main points and links to additional information, you don’t want your reader to click away from your email without performing the action you desire.

To keep your reader from becoming confused, make sure your email addresses a primary point and that the CTA relates to that primary purpose. We are all inundated with email these days and often spend only a few minutes reading each email we receive. Use a well-worded CTA to direct your reader’s attention to the reason for your email. 

As Lisa Furgison said, “Make every call to action blatantly obvious so that once your email is opened, recipients know exactly what you want them to do.”

Elements of a Strong CTA

So what makes a CTA compelling enough for readers to click through?

While there is no one-size-fits-all option for successful CTAs, there are several common elements that make effective CTAs, well, effective. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when creating a call to action for your next email campaign:

  1. Be succinct Your CTA should be clear and concise, providing direct, pointed instructions for your audience to follow.
  1. Use action verbs It’s dubbed a call to action for a reason! Use strong, vivid language that tells your audience exactly what you want them to do. Some examples of strong language for your CTA are:
  • Download the App
  • Read More on the Blog
  • Reserve Your Spot Today
  • Request a Consultation
  1. Create a Button Visual elements stand out in emails, especially text-heavy emails. Instead of merely creating a hyperlink within the body of text and hoping you receive clicks, create a CTA that is visual, easy to spot and clickable. You can use sites like Canva to create a button without needing a graphic designer on staff.
  1. Play With Placement Your CTA doesn’t just have to be at the end of your email. Experiment with the placement of your button to see which yields the most views. Try placing your CTA within the body of the email, on the sidebar, or “above the fold” (that is, the line break on the screen).
  1. Include Only One CTA Per Email Your readers are easily distracted. If they are already reading your email, you have at least a little bit of their attention. Don’t compete for the rest of it by leading people all over the place or giving them too many options of places to click. Keep your reader focused by providing only one primary call to action per email.

If you need more advice, consider doing a little personal research. Which brands or websites incite you to click? What types of language do you, as a consumer, respond to best? Take note of what works for you and consider incorporating these elements into your next call to action.

Now that you know what makes a successful CTA, it’s time to implement these tips for your next email.

Share some of your favorite examples in the comments below!

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