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October 2014
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How to Write an Email Marketing CTA that Actually Works

Click Here! Add to Cart! Buy Now! Read More! Subscribe! Download! Try it free!

There are only so many phrases we can wedge into a call-to-action button, and frankly, these phrases are beginning to seem a bit trite and worn from overuse. Unfortunately, we are largely stuck with them, since radically different terms might only confuse the customers we’re trying to entice. Nevertheless, consumer expectation doesn’t necessarily dictate whether or not we can make subtle changes, and those subtle changes can often make a world of difference.

But, why would customers really care about how the calls-to-action (CTA) are composed? Isn’t it enough to describe what the buttons do and what the viewer will accomplish by clicking them? You’d be surprised that conversion rates actually do hinge on the way CTAs are phrased.

Cost for value.

The key to successful CTAs is the ability to communicate both benefit and relevance. In order to convey benefit and relevance, it is important to be specific about what the viewer will receive upon clicking the button, as opposed to a mere explanation of what the viewer is supposed to do. If there are advantages that exist beyond what the CTA indicates, make sure that those advantages are clear. If your succinctly-worded CTA fails to capture most of the reasons why the viewer should act, then rephrase it. For example, if the page offers items at a significantly reduced price, instead of saying “Add to Cart” when you want your customers to buy, you might restructure the offer to include the cost reduction: “Save 30 % – Add to Cart”

Speak to customers; don’t bark at them.

Hyper-enthusiasm has its merits – when you’re working towards finding a cure for a chronic disease, building a house, training military recruits or working with children, being excited about your task is an incredibly valuable asset. Nevertheless, there is a subtlety required in salesmanship, and aggressive pursuit of a sale is generally considered unappealing.

CTAs that are phrased like commands tend to turn consumers off. While a sense of urgency is essential, “Buy Now!” is an order, whereas “Add to bag” is much more of a suggestion; a soft sell. “Download!” is quite aggressive, while “Free e-book” is much more enticing.

Hyperlink vs. button graphic – which will work for your strategy?

While some could argue for an eye-catching CTA graphic for email marketing campaigns, it might not be the optimal choice for every type of campaign.

Hyperlinks, while not exceptionally vibrant, could be better for emails that are meant to be graphically minimalist – like a personal communication. An obviously sales-y CTA could work against the image you’re trying to communicate. A hyperlink isn’t particularly stylish, but it won’t undo the personal capital you’ve built through your individualized approach.

However, button graphics do have their place – if your email is already graphically oriented, you might need a vibrant CTA button just to give the viewer his or her bearings.CTAs shouldn’t remain stagnant; they should be updated regularly to reflect not only consumer demand but also brand identity. Take a moment to reassess your CTAs and their effectiveness.

5 Benefits Email Marketing Can Deliver for Your Small Business

Unfortunately, the breathtaking abundance of truly horrible email marketing strategies has caused a good many consumers to look askance at emails from businesses. It can be incredibly irritating to open up your personal email account and find an inbox filled to bursting with emails with the subject lines: “Buy Now! One-day only sale!” “Do you want home security?”… Continue reading

Can You Really Integrate Social Media with Email Marketing?

Just like peanut butter and jelly or bacon and eggs, combining social media and email marketing can lead to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. However, most of the information available to email marketers online would lead one to believe otherwise. The truth is, these two different marketing tactics can actually be complementary… Continue reading

Spiff Up Your Email Marketing Campaign with these 4 Fall Fashion Trends

If you’re like us, fall fashion gets you running for the boots and sweaters faster than soccer moms can careen their SUVs into the Starbucks drive-thru for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. It turns out that the same desire to festoon your front porch with fall-themed décor can add a much-needed dose of dynamism to your email marketing campaigns if you… Continue reading

5 Reasons to Not Use Pre-made Email Marketing Templates

Remember way back when we outlined the various reasons why you should consider using predesigned email templates? Well, not to confuse you or anything…

That’s right, while predesigned email templates have their excellent uses, there are certain circumstances where they might not be exactly ideal. We’re not contradicting ourselves at all; we’re just fair and… Continue reading

Twitter vs Facebook – Where to Start Your Company’s Social Media Presence

Most marketing experts feel that failing to have a social media account is almost as retrograde as taping flyers with phone number tabs to telephone poles as the primary marketing strategy. In other words, only the most backwards businesses don’t do Facebook.

But is Facebook the optimal solution, or would a Twitter account yield more… Continue reading

It’s Not You, It’s Me – 4 Reasons out of Your Control Why People Don’t Click on Emails

You might have implemented every best practice with regard to your email marketing strategy, but you still have a smattering of customers who just aren’t responding the way you think they should. First of all: congratulations! Most of your leads have been hooked! Secondly, relax; there could be any number of reasons you don’t have 100 percent return… Continue reading

5 Reasons to Use Pre-made Email Marketing Templates

The concept of “predesigned” anything can fill many marketing departments with apprehension.  After all, every marketing expert scoffs at the prospect of using free stock photos (that picture of smiling, beautiful and diverse young professionals?  They don’t work for you — they’re on at least 100 different websites!  Ha, Ha!), and free Web design templates (what — no Web support?… Continue reading

If You Build It, They Will Come – 4 Important Roles Landing Pages Play in Email Marketing

Without a well constructed landing page, email marketing is just about as useful as delivering your brand message by carrier pigeon. The entire point of email marketing is the conversion of leads, and if your landing page is sub-par, your efforts will have been utterly wasted. After all — your email is meant to direct consumers to your… Continue reading

Are Your Email Campaigns Too Graphic?

If your email marketing strategies are graphic in the sense of being illicit, then you can rest assured that they will be nestled snugly in your recipient’s junk mail folder. However, if your email campaigns are graphic in the sense of containing a huge number of images (however G-rated), they can still be funneled into the spam folder… Continue reading