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Marketing | Sep 21
Masooma Memon on May 12, 2021 (last modified on May 21, 2021) • 10 minute read
Email is among the top three marketing channels for both B2B and B2C businesses.
But, it’s only as effective as your email CTAs are. Sure, you can fire off tons of emails on a regular note. However, if your subscribers aren’t interacting with your emails, for example, by clicking your CTAs, there’s little that you can reap from email marketing.
The question then is: what sort of email CTAs work? We’ve got 8 email CTA examples to show you what works. Along the way, we’ll also look at what makes a good email.
Altogether, here’s what we’ll cover today:
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A good email call to action message is clear, concise, and offers value while answering the ‘what’s in it for me’ question that subscribers have.
Adding power words or action-inducing words that are psychologically proven to trigger responses from readers also helps create a CTA that attracts clicks. Spreadsheet Planet’s Steve Scott suggests, “if you want your subscribers to take action quickly, make sure your words represent that. Use action words like ‘shop,’ ‘book,’ and ‘order’ in our emails. Add a term like ‘now’ or ‘today’ to inspire immediate action.
We included many CTAs with highly impactful language in our email that had strong click-through rates. These words prompted users to take action and click right away.”
Storytelling is another element that can help improve your CTA’s click-through rate. The plan is to tell a story in your email to grab readers’ attention. Then, use the CTA to get them to read further or click to discover more.
At Growth Hackers Agency, Jonathan Aufray and the team employ the same approach. “A great way to increase your emails’ CTR is by telling a story in your email and by writing about a specific problem. The CTA will provide the solution to that problem.
If your subscribers relate to the problem you’re describing, they will want to discover the solution to it and they will click your CTA.”
You can also entice subscribers by offering free value. For example, an email from Beaufort Associates that got a click-through rate of 4-5% read: “Get a free consultation now” shares Muneer Mian.
“The free initial consultation is our door-opener, not many of our competitors offer this,” Mian quips. “We made our CTA straightforward to both initiate the contact and show one of our competitive advantages.”
Mindy Serin from RunWith.Digital is also a fan of the free value approach. Talking about an email that got a CTR of 8-9%, Serin says, “I worked at a company that sent out emails for a company magazine, news briefs, and marketing events. The news emails had the highest open- and click-through rate, while our events had the lowest open- and click-through rate.
The event marketing emails also held the highest unsubscribe rate. The fact of the matter is that people do not like being marketed to. People sign up for emails because they want FREE information.”
So Serin decided to test this theory. “At the end of one of our news pieces, I added a link saying to sign up for an event to learn more. This became the most successful email campaign, with the highest number of event registrations and lowest percent of unsubscribes!!”
That said, it’s also almost important you stick with one CTA message. Why? Because giving subscribes too many options often confuses them – enough to prevent them from taking any step at all, a phenomenon known as choice paralysis.
Around 43% of our respondents also add only one CTA to their emails. 30% add two CTAs. But, less than 20% add three CTAs or more. This makes it clear: the majority includes one CTA in their emails.
For most of our contributors, these CTAs get a click-through rate ranging between 3-5%. 6% of our respondents also enjoy a CTR of 7.8%.
These CTAs help generate website visits and sales for about 45% and 22% of our contributors, respectively. Approximately 20% also generate leads with theirs CTAs.
That said, 74% of our experts also study how their subscribers interact with their CTA buttons, so you can say they know what they’re talking about.
P.S. you can also add an email CTA as a P.S. “It is an old school tactic that still works beautifully,” notes Cayley Vos of Netpaths. In fact, the tactic got Vos’s team a CTR of 6-7%.
“This is a surprisingly effective way to get people to read your entire emails.
I make mine funny, quirky, and very light-hearted. Many people will skip to the end of the email to read this first, and then read the email from the beginning.”
Now that we’ve touched on what makes a good email CTA, let’s look at CTA examples that put all this theory into action.
1. A CTA example that favors clarity over cleverness
2. An urgency-promoting CTA
3. An email CTA example that revealed just enough information
4. Personal pronouns-based email CTA example
5. An animated GIF CTA
6. A visual-based CTA
8. The ‘Show Me’ email CTA
9. A CTA that specifies the discount
This particular email CTA that Alex Birkett shares enjoyed a CTR of less than 10%. It read: “see the full A/B test checklist.”
“I always try to write my CTAs to be clear instead of clever. When writing them, I usually try to finish the sentence ‘I want to ____.’
For example, on a landing page that contains an offer for an ebook, that could be as simple as ‘I want to…. get this free ebook,’ or it could be as explicit as ‘I want to… learn how to debug Google Analytics’ (if that’s what your guide is promising to teach),” explains Birkett.
“The same exact formula goes into my email CTAs. Most of my emails contain links to further reading and articles, so I usually try to get super specific about the value prop of the article. My best performing one was pointing to an article about A/B testing, and it was ‘see the full A/B test checklist.’”
The takeaway? Aim to be clear in your CTA copy. Tell the reader exactly what step you want them to take.
A timed CTA also works wonders to encourage people to take action. Why? Because they realize they can’t delay taking action or add interacting with your email to the bottom of their to-do list where it’s usually forgotten.
Using this tactic, the team at Fairy Glamor enjoyed “7-8% on our Easter email campaign this year, we had a 39.6% open rate and a 10% CTR,” according to Sydney Howe.
The subject line was: “Our Big Easter Sale is Here! Grab 30% OFF These Hoppin Pastel Nail Colors 🐣” The preview text, on the other hand, read: “Sale ends tomorrow at 11:59 p.m. CST.”
“Honestly, the campaign wasn’t anything special,” Howe muses “but what we’ve found after 2+ years of email marketing is urgency really does work. Adding snippets like ‘sale ends today’ or ‘sale ends tomorrow’ increases CTR and conversions. Non-urgency campaigns can’t compare.”
This email got a CTR rate of 7-8% and read: “50% OFF Pre Workouts Today Only”
John Frigo from Best Price Nutrition explains, “One thing I’ve been experimenting with recently that’s been very effective and improved CTR is being descriptive in regards to what an email is about as opposed to just going for a catchy tag line.
Rather than Huge Sale Extravaganza which doesn’t tell someone much unless they open, I may go with something like 50% OFF Pre Workouts Today Only. I don’t say what pre-workouts so people click through to find out but they do know it’s a 50% OFF Sale.”
In short, Frigo concludes, “give info but also leave some mystery.”
These emails from Stream.live see a CTR of 5-6% for being relatable. They read: “‘Yes!’ ‘Count me in!’ or ‘I want a free upgrade!’”
Mike Dragan elaborates, “In our high CTR rate emails, we noticed that we used more and more calls to action where the words ‘I’ or ‘me’ appear. In our list, we used some examples of calls to action.”
According to Dragan, these email CTAs work because “this type of language makes a call to action more relatable to subscribers and allows them to click. The use of words like ‘me’ in this example sent the email straight to the inbox, totally immersing the readers.
Any reader would find it difficult to ignore language written in the first person. As a result, they are more likely to click through.”
CloudTech24’s Daniel Foley shares animated GIFs get them a CTR of 5-6%.
“Our promotional email featured a perfectly matched color palette, making it one of the most powerful and highest CTR call-to-action examples for sales out there—as it seamlessly flows from the headline down to the deal they have to offer—in addition to our artful use of animated gifs,” comments Foley.
If adding GIFs in email doesn’t suit your brand personality, the next example will inspire you.
This CTA got a CTR of 4-5% for Spitfire Inbound’s email. “We ran a nurturing email campaign for one of our clients within the hygiene industry, with the goal to advance our marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads,” Jane Valerie Moore comments.
“To do this, we created an email that would educate the reader on a subject that they had shown previous interest in, and built upon the topic by providing multiple links to related blogs and website material.
We then created an image-based CTA so as to stand out from a copy heavy email, placed at the end of the email to promote the download of an in-depth guide on the subject.”
Moore continues, “We were then able to target those who had downloaded the guide in further nurturing emails. By utilizing segmentation we were able to understand the behavior of our contact base and create a highly targeted CTA which resulted in an email CTR of 27.3% during March 2021.”
Editor’s note: Get full visibility of the emails your send, the responses you get including open rate, click rate, and new leads on one screen with this HubSpot Marketing Email Performance Dashboard Template.
This CTA saw a CTR of 4-5%. SERP’s Devin Schumacher writes the email CTA read: “Show me how.”
“I’m a fan of this CTA because it connects with the overarching narrative of the copy,” Schumacher outlines. “If you’re teaching your audience how to do something, this CTA is a great way to round everything up and take your audience to your website so they can learn even more.”
“This CTA uses a simple verb (Show) in combination with a personal pronoun (Me) to create a collaborative, informative message,” breaks down the CTA to explain further. “Easy to interpret CTAs seem to perform a lot better than long witty ones, so this is one of my favorites.”
Lastly, we have the example of this email CTA for Top Vouchers Code that reads “Shop now. Get 50% off” and got 2-3% CTR.
“This CTA resulted in high CTR as it straightaway mentions the discount for customers and prompts them to avail that concession,” Catriona Jasica writes, “It is simple, powerful and urge the subscribers to check out the discount and shop at dropped off prices.”
With these email CTA examples, we’re sure you’re feeling pumped to create your own CTAs that get clicks. To refresh, try being specific, tap into FOMO by sharing timed offers, create visual-heavy CTAs by adding animated GIFs for example, and use personal pronouns for a relatable CTA.
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