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I Can’t Resist: How to Implement, Assess, and Improve Your Email Call-to-Actions

Who can resist a good call-to-action?

A well-crafted CTA is both persuasive and informative, encouraging readers to take the desired next step.

In this article, I’ll explore what CTAs are all about, how to implement them for email marketing campaigns, how to assess them, and look at some of the best resources on CTAs.

What is an Email CTA?

An email CTA is a link or button in an email that encourages readers to take a desired next step.

CTAs are either hyperlinked, leading somewhere else on your site (e.g., “Learn more”) or they may be buttons with text and usually some kind of visual cue telling recipients what clicking it will do (“Subscribe to the Newsletter“).

The goal of a CTA is to get the reader to take the desired action.

To move from passively reading the email to actively engaging with the content.

This active behavior is important for email marketers because it is one of the few ways to measure success for a campaign.

A CTA should be designed to encourage an action that benefits the sender, not just the recipient.

CTAs need to have a clear benefit for both parties in order to make sense and work well.

Some of the most common CTAs in emails are ones that say “Learn more” and “Sign up now.”

As you expand your toolkit, try to look beyond the more common ones, expand your creativity, and think more about what your readers might find valuable and what else you can say to trigger that desired action.

How Do You Implement Them?

There are several ways to implement your CTAs.

One way is to place a hyperlinked button at bottom of an email with a sentence that expresses urgency to get them to act now (“Act Now”).

You can also add hyperlinked text in the middle of a paragraph directing readers to “Learn More.”

You can also include CTAs in your signature line so they appear on every outgoing message (e.g., “Sign up for additional information”).

When implementing your CTAs, you should follow some basic guidelines of success:

 Limit the number of CTAs in an email to just one

 Optimize for mobile

 Use them where they naturally fit in a sentence or paragraph

 Ensure your email is easily scannable

 Personalize your emails

How Do You Assess Them?

You need to be able to assess each one on its merits and see how it’s performing in relation to your goals.

That might mean measuring open rates, click-throughs, or conversions for a certain period of time.

Most of the major email marketing platforms have internal analytics to help you measure success.

As an example, this is how ActiveCampaign integrates its analytics.

You can create a Campaign Performance Report which can contain the number of sends, opens, clicks, unsubscribes, click rate, click-to-open, rate, and much more.

Using all the information, you start by asking questions to help determine where in the process you are succeeding or failing:

 Is your email even being opened?

 Is your email being read but readers are not taking the desired action?

 Are your CTA buttons having better success with the hyperlinked text?

 Do the readers see your CTA button and not click on it?

 Are they clicking but just aren’t taking any of your desired action?

All of these types of questions and more can be analyzed with the information provided by the email marketing software.

By answering these questions, you can start to determine where in the process improvements need to be made.

Once you have the data and perform some analysis, then you can look to make improvements for the next batch of emails.

What Are Some Good Resources?

If you’re looking for additional resources on how to create the best email CTAs, try looking at these:

 Campaign Monitor: 75 Calls to Actions to Use in Your Email Marketing Campaigns

 Mailer Lite: How to create a call-to-action (CTA) that works

 HubSpot: 40 Call-to-Action Examples You Can’t Help But Click

 WordPress: 20 Creative Call to Action Examples for Email Newsletter Signups


This post may contain affiliate links. Click here for my disclaimer.

Mike Nicholson

I've spent my career working in a variety of Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Information Operations, and Executive Outreach positions. With a history of planning, preparing, executing, and assessing communication strategies in the U.S. and abroad, I use this site to write, think and share lessons learned on organizational communications.

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