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Call to Action is a Critical Email Element

email marketingYour email is only as good as its call to action (CTA). It’s probably no exaggeration to say that your email is pretty much a waste of time if your call to action gets ignored.

Of course, there are times when your email may have another purpose—say, to alert recipients to an important update or news they need to know. In that case, there may not necessarily even be a call to action (and if there is, it may simply be to supplement the information already contained in the email text).

But most of the time, your email will be designed to engage and convert recipients—and to achieve that goal, it must have a call to action that prompts the recipient to do something to further the process along.

Your actual call to action is likely a small part of your email, from a space standpoint, but it carries a huge amount of weight. Unfortunately, many marketers fail to give this part of the email the effort it demands. Instead, they treat it as a sort of afterthought, just throwing it onto the end of the text without much consideration or planning.

Chris Hexton of Marketing Land shares some tips on getting the most out of this email element in his post, 5 Ways To Put Your Email Call To Action To Work.

Use Images with Caution

It goes without saying that images can be an attention-grabber in an email. But embedding your call to action in an image can be risky, since there’s the risk that the image may not display correctly—or may not be visible at all. A great solution: use HTML-created buttons instead. You can make these buttons eye-catching and appealing, while still allowing the call to action to be obvious.

Stress the Value and Steer the User

Two essential elements of a good call to action is that it should reinforce the value of taking action, while at the same time providing direction of what exactly you want the person to do. So instead of a generic “click here” button, you should try to use something better like, “Find out how to improve your website” or “Confirm you want to receive member benefits.”

Repeat the Call to Action

Displaying your call to action more than once (often with slightly different text or a new format) stresses the importance while increasing the likelihood that your recipient will act. Hexton says a popular strategy is to repeat the call to action in a P.S. line at the end of the email.

Hexton’s other suggestions: use urgency by including a deadline or countdown, and testing several options to see which work best.

Creating an effective call to action is just one of the many email marketing and brand management services we offer.


With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.