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How to create a Call to Action that converts for Email Marketing Campaigns

Creating a Call to Action for Email Marketing Campaigns

The call to action is the part of an email which converts leads into customers.  However, this is not as simple as shouting at the reader to ‘Buy Now!’ or ‘Download!’.

In this article, we will outline how you can create a call to action that converts for your email marketing efforts and the different components you require.

Writing the Call To Action Copy

The words used in the call to action text can make a huge difference to the number of people who choose to take action.  Whilst the visual aspects are important, the copy is the main component that is likely to trigger a response.  The call to action needs to provide value to the reader otherwise they will simply ignore it or even unsubscribe from your email list.

Using descriptive copy which specifically highlights what the reader can expect from taking action, encourages the right people to click through your email.  Being as specific as possible gives the reader an idea of what they can expect.  This attracts people who are particularly interested and can also deter anybody who is unlikely to convert.  You can also use the copy as an opportunity to address any worries or questions that the reader might have.

Telling the reader when they need to take action increases the likelihood that they will act immediately.  If a promotion or discount is due to end next Friday, mentioning this in the email may encourage the reader to take immediate action.  Whilst this adds an element of excitement around your email content, the reader is also more likely to feel as though they may miss out on what the email is offering if they don’t act straight away.  The idea that the product is scarce or that the offer is about to end is effective in making email recipients take immediate action.

Tell the reader exactly what they need to do in an assertive tone.  Sounding assured about your own product or service increases your credibility and builds trust between you and the reader.  Give your reader the impression that you are passionate about the product or service.

Your call to action text should be descriptive and fit for purpose but you shouldn’t forget to be creative.  Using a creative call to action makes you stand out from the crowd.  Readers become accustomed to common directives such as ‘Buy now!’, ‘Download here’ and ‘Read more’ and instead increasingly businesses are using more creative, descriptive calls to action such as ‘Find out what you’re missing’ and ‘Start your fitness journey here’.

Beyond the Text

An effective call to action is not just about the text, visuals are also important.  Making sure that the call to action stands out and is in a prominent location consistent with common email reading patterns improves the chance that the reader will take action.

A striking button which stands out against the email background is more likely to engage the reader than a text hyperlink alone.  As explained by Colour Matters in their article on colour theory, the context where a colour appears affects the way that it is perceived.  Using a contrasting colour for the call to action button makes it more prominent on the screen.

The positioning of the call to action is also important.  The inverted pyramid structure positions the call to action as the focal point of the email beneath both the headline and supporting text.  This structure draws the readers eye as it gives a logical flow to the email content.  The supporting information at the top of the email prepares the reader for the call to action by giving them the main reasons to convert.

Readers look to scan through email content quickly in a F-Shaped Reading Pattern.  Ensure that your call to action is positioned consistently with this reading pattern in mind so that readers who are looking to scan through your email quickly are not disadvantaged.

Give your readers just one call to action per email send.  An email with more than one call to action is likely to result in a confusing message for the recipient as they do not know which call to action should be clicked.  Giving your email recipients too much choice can result in decision paralysis whereby your readers fail to choose a call to action precisely because they are made to choose.

Mobile Optimisation

As an increasing number of email users now open emails on their phones, email campaigns should be optimised and responsive when opened in a mobile format.  Creating a call to action button with a large click hotspot ensures that the intent of mobile users is captured easily.  Small call to action buttons which are crowded together on the page are likely to result in a lot of false-positive clicks, frustrating the user and providing misleading statistics.

Marketing Land recently discussed the number of emails which were opened on mobile as mobile continues to exceed desktop for number of email opens.  Yet, although more emails were opened this way, more conversions were recorded on desktop.  Whilst optimising emails for mobile has resulted in a boom in the number of email opens, work still needs to be done to increase the number of conversions.


To create an email campaign that converts, follow these easy steps:

  • Use convincing copy
  • Have one call to action per email send
  • Use a visually striking button
  • Structure each element of the email campaign around its main purpose

The call to action is the most important part of your email campaign [Tweet This].  An email which lacks a strong call to action will not convert, no matter how strong the copy or images are.  Ensure that your call to action is designed, is relevant to each email send and tells the reader exactly what is expected of them.

If you have enjoyed reading this article, why not download your free copy of The Complete Guide to Email Marketing here

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How to create a Call to Action that converts for Email Marketing Campaigns


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