Those of us who search for email marketing advice online are often harangued by commentators who think they know eternal truths that can be encapsulated in a single phrase. Recently, I’ve seen articles on Calls to Action (CTA) where I’m told they should be ‘Unforgettable’ or, practically identically, ‘Easy to Remember’. This is not what email marketing is about.
There should be just one target, one purpose for any email marketing campaign, and that is completion. That requires our subscribers to click on the CTA. All the design and content should be focused on that and that alone. Who cares if they forget it in a couple of minutes?
We know that the perfect place to put a CTA is early on in an email, above the fold. This is received wisdom and as such should be challenged. Much will depend on the product you are selling, whether it is complex or simple, and all sorts of other criteria that will define how a subscriber will respond to your email. The point of the campaign might be to explain the intricacies of your particular product, be it a holiday, webinar, or something nice and shiny. If you are out to prove your product is better than your competitors’, you might need a few words and images to convince, and if the fold comes too early, then make the subscribers read on. Not all marketing emails are designed to be scanned.
We are told that green or orange buttons give the best results, but remember that they might not fit into the graphics of your email, or relate to your product. Testing colours is the only way to discover what’s best in any email marketing campaign.
One point which many companies seem to ignore is that it is probably not productive to scatter CTAs around your email as if you use a pepper-grinder to do so. Take as much care of location as you do with the rest of your email. Text, image, and design of the marketing email should all point to a particular CTA, all but forcing the reader to become aware of it and feel the need to click on it.
As a subscriber finishes a particular sentence, one that probably extols the virtues of your product, emphasising the need to ‘Act Quickly’, or they see an image that shows ‘the hook’ in all its glory, they should be able to satisfy their desire to go through to the buying page as quickly and simply as possible. That’s where your first CTA should appear regardless of where the fold is.
Look upon the design of the marketing email, especially its layout, as an arrow directing the reader to the CTA. As they progress through the copy and images, the excitement should build until, when they finally get to their first CTA, they will feel that by clicking on it, their dreams, or at least the one you have been describing, can be fulfilled. You should place your CTAs in a position dictated by your design of email.