Jun 20, 2018

How to Skyrocket Your Email CTRs

by Digital Marketing Institute

If marketing emails were Tinder profiles, would yours get swiped right or left? Would people be interested in learning more, or would they simply move on to the next?

In our online, interconnected age, Tinder has taken the dating world by storm. The app makes it faster and easier for singles to find people who are at least willing to consider a relationship before having to invest too much energy. Considering we now have access to thousands (or even millions) of potential dating partners across the web, Tinder offers an effective filtering system that saves everybody time, embarrassment, and (some) heartache.

Because Tinder users make split-second decisions regarding their interest in a potential match, it’s absolutely crucial for profiles to immediately capture the viewer’s attention. If the individual isn’t able to spark at least a minor interest within an instant, they are permanently swiped off the user’s account.

If people are willing to swipe away a potential life partner in the blink of an eye, how much time do you think they’re willing to spend evaluating your marketing email? Not much. According to MailChimp, if you receive open rates of 25% and click through rates of 4% you’re well above average for most industries.

Because the average individual is exposed to 4,000-10,000 advertising messages per day, it’s no wonder that we have become accustomed to ignoring most messages that don’t capture our attention immediately.

If you find that your marketing emails fail to receive satisfactory click through rates, consider implementing a few of the strategies below to maximize your first impression – and help your email land that second look!

1. Draw Readers in With a Catchy Subject Line

The obvious first step to an increased click through rate is to actually get subscribers to open your emails in the first place. If people never open your emails, they will certainly fail to click on the links within.

As with a great blog post, it’s completely acceptable to spend 10-25% of your writing time on the title. Craft it in a way that creates intrigue or urgency so that the reader feels utterly compelled to click on it and learn more.

As SumoMe shares in their list of 62 formulas to get emails read:

“The best email subject lines will practically force your subscriber to pay attention to your email in their already flooded inbox, open it, and read what you have to say.”

Your first impression begins with your email subject line – so make it something that the reader can’t help but click on.

2. Deliver High-Quality Content, Consistently

Nobody likes clickbait articles or emails.

So, if you master the art of writing phenomenal email subject lines, but the email content fails to live up to their promises, it won’t take long before readers stop clicking, send your emails directly to trash, or even unsubscribe.

Most of us have a few newsletters that we open religiously. The moment they arrive in our inbox we stop what we’re doing and give them our attention. Why? Because these emails deliver value – consistently.

Make sure that the content in your newsletters consistently surprises, impresses, and adds value to your subscribers, and you’ll discover a never-ending flow of readers who are eager to read your content and pay attention to the recommendations you deliver.

3. Include Freebies, Discounts or Limited-Time Offers

In economics, the term loss aversion is used to describe when we are more negatively impacted by a loss than a gain. In other words, we will respond faster to the possibility of losing $1,000 than we will to the opportunity to gain $1,000.

When we believe that we could lose out on an experience, deal, or other opportunity, we will quickly act.

Therefore, if you want to increase the CTR of your emails, include limited time offers, deals and discounts that appeal to your subscriber base. If someone on the fence discovers that they may miss out on a great opportunity if they fail to act – they will act, and fast!

Even if you aren’t selling something directly in your newsletter, you can create a sense of urgency around your message that reveals the reader may miss out if they fail to quickly engage with your message.

4. Include Images

According to statistics collected by Inc Magazine, a total of 84% of communications will be visual by 2018. The classic saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more apt than it is in our digital age.

By adding images to your email messages you can quickly capture the attention of someone skimming through their emails – even if they aren’t reading every word.

What types of images are worth adding to your emails?

  • Title images that share article names
  • Inspirational quotes or sayings
  • Product images
  • Infographics
  • Entertaining memes or cartoons
  • Generic stock photos (used sparingly)

Remember that many email services won’t display images unless the user clicks a link at the top of the email to “view images”. Therefore, be sure to include appropriate alt text for your images so that the viewer can gain a basic understanding of what the images are about – even if they don’t download images within the email.

5. Make Your Call to Action Button

Only the most committed followers and customers will seek out your call to action if it’s hard to come by – but you want to attract a larger audience than that.

Therefore, make every effort possible to ensure that readers can easily discover what to do next and do it. Don’t bury your call to action in the middle of the 4th paragraph of your email. Instead, include a call to action button that makes it obvious that the reader should CLICK HERE to learn more about the subject discussed within your email, gain access to a special deal, or whatever other action you want them to take.

By using an eye-catching button for your CTA, readers won’t have to waste any time hunting for what to do next. Whether the reader knew they wanted to learn more immediately after seeing the subject of the email, or whether their interest grew while reading through the email, a CTA button effortlessly guides them to the next step. 

6. Put Your CTA on the Right

It turns out that your call to action button will receive the most clicks if it’s in the terminal area of the message – in other words, the bottom right.

Why is this? Because English readers view text from left-to-right, top-to-bottom. Therefore, when they reach the bottom right corner of the text (the terminal area) they are now at a point where they are ready to take the next action. By adding the CTA here they don’t have to do any hunting around in order to find how to progress to the next activity.

This process is referred to as the Gutenberg Pattern, and is very common among designers. Although your email CTAs can certainly still receive clicks when included elsewhere, your conversion rates will likely improve if you follow this process.

7. End your Email with a Cliffhanger

Have you noticed how many television shows end in the middle of an intense moment – leaving us all eager and anxious for the following week’s resolution?

Writers do this because they’ve discovered that it keeps viewers engaged and increases the likelihood of them watching regularly. If the story is resolved immediately, then viewers might come back to watch next week – but if they miss the episode, it’s less pressing.

Meanwhile, when the story fails to conclude in one episode, viewers will be compelled to wonder what will happen next. Because of this lack of closure, repeat viewing is absolutely crucial, and ultimately builds a loyal fanbase.

This same tactic can work in your emails. If you really want the reader to click through to your website, offer enough information to peak their interest and get them engaged, but don’t give everything away. Instead, finish with a “read more…” link or button that they can click on to read the rest of the story.

8. Add a Postscript to the End of Your Email

Including a P.S. at the end of your emails is a great way to drive clicks and conversions to special deals, new content, or other valuable CTAs.

Many bloggers will share their regular articles in their newsletter and then have a footer included in every email that has a P.S. with links to their products, best affiliate offers, and other content that they are particularly interested in driving traffic to.

This works well because it’s an unobtrusive way to highlight older content that most of your frequent readers may have already consumed. This allows your new subscribers an opportunity to take action – while also reminding long-term readers of the offer or content one more time.

Make your emails irresistible

Improving the CTR of your email content isn’t rocket science, but it’s not about instant gratification either. By continually trying new strategies and tracking the performance of each unique campaign, you can discover the optimal method for maximizing your own brand’s click through rates.

Now that you’ve discovered a few tips on how you can improve your email CTR, it’s time to start on that next newsletter and see what happens! Then, come back here and share your successes and questions in the comments below.

Upgrade to Power Membership to continue your access to thousands of articles, toolkits, podcasts, lessons and much much more.
Become a Power Member

CPD points available

This content is eligible for CPD points. Please sign in if you wish to track this in your account.