How to Optimize the Call to Action

Seth Carr

You’ve just put the finishing touches on your weekly enewsletter, complete with trending industry news, upcoming events and a picture of an irresistibly cute baby panda (or maybe your executive director). Yet, there’s still something missing – a call to action or CTA. No email is complete without one.

Let’s dig into why and how you should include a strong CTA as part of your email creation process.

Promote one CTA per email

Sure, your mailing is overflowing with great information that your subscribers care about. But, what action do you want them to take? Should they register for a conference, complete a survey, provide feedback or sing a duet?

The answer could be that you want your readers to do all of these things. However, to maximize the effectiveness of your communications, you should identify and clearly promote just one idea. Using more than one CTA per email can be overwhelming to your readers and if you want them to take action, the best way is to keep things simple for them.

Include your CTA “above the fold”

This simply means placing your CTA closer to the top of the mailing instead of at the bottom. Don’t make your subscribers scroll down (especially on a mobile device) to find the CTA when you can insert it closer to the top.  That way, it will be visible as soon as the mailing is opened.

above the fold call to action

Use different methods of linking to your CTA and test them

While you only want one CTA in each email, you can still be creative by offering different methods for readers to access that content. This might even increase your click rate. (The 2014 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report found that more links in an email — even if all to the same destination — will lead to higher click through rates.) Try including a text link to your CTA along with a clickable image or button for subscribers to click on.

button cta

Even after you’ve done this, there’s still room for improvement. Run tests to discover which combinations of presenting a CTA are most effective.  Take a look at your mailing reports to see whether text, images or buttons receive the most clicks. You can never do too much testing.

Every CTA should have a sense of urgency

Offering readers an open-ended chance to donate, attend an event or participate in an activity is not enticing. Clearly explain that seating is limited or that an offer will soon expire if they don’t act now. If you’re asking subscribers to engage with your organization through a CTA, you must create the impression that time is of the essence. Implore them to strike while the iron is hot.

Try these tips and keep testing, testing, testing until you find what works best for your audience.

2014 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report

About the Author
Seth Carr

As an eMarketing Advisor at Informz, Seth arms his clients with a variety of email marketing best practices that help them deliver timely, engaging content to their subscribers. Outside of work, he likes to write creatively and yell at the television during football season.