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Why Every Email Needs a Compelling Call to Action (And How to Write One)

Written by Anna Milward on August 17, 2015

There are dozens of reasons why you might choose to send a marketing email. Sometimes you want to promote a specific product, or a special offer, or you want people to sign up for an online course, or an e-book. Maybe you are promoting in-store discounts for customers visiting your retail stores, or asking for feedback about a recent product or service that was purchased.

Whatever the reason for sending an email, it should be clear what you want your recipient to do. So many emails are sent without clear instructions, and if your readers don’t know what the next step is, it’s unlikely that they will take it and that your email marketing campaign will fulfil its goals.

So just how do you get your recipients to do what you want them to? By using a clear call to action, that’s how.

 What is a call to action?

The call to action is the part of the email where you encourage your reader to click on a link. It usually takes the form of a button. This link will either take them to your website, to a specific landing page or to another site. It is essential that every email contains a call to action, and for best results, just keep it to a single one per email. Putting in too many calls to action can be confusing for readers.

What does a good call to action look like?

A great call to action has four essential elements:

1. Compelling language. When writing your call to action, use action based language to compel your readers to act sooner rather than later. Words like “now” and “today” can help create a sense of urgency.

2. Prominently positioned. Your call to action is as good as useless if nobody can see it.  Where possible try to position your call to action “above the fold” – near the top of the screen where it can be seen without the reader having to scroll down.

3. Short and clear. Your call to action is not the time to wax lyrical. For best results keep it succinct and to the point and no longer than five words.

4. Stands out visually. A great call to action is hard to miss. Make sure it doesn’t blend in to the background by using contrasting colours and a large font.

Great calls to action start with defining the purpose of your email. As each of your emails is unique, your call to action should be different each time. Having a great call to action on every email means that your recipients will know exactly what to do and you will see much better results from your email marketing campaigns.

Do you have any tips for creating great calls to action? Let us know!

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