How to Craft an Effective Call to Action for Your Emails

How to Craft an Effective Call to Action for Your Emails

call to action

The most useful tool in your arsenal of marketing tactics is the Call to Action — aka CTA.

It’s a phrase that appears in your email that captures a reader’s attention and makes them act in a certain way — to click, or, in marketing lingo, to convert.

But how do you actually craft a CTA that gets readers to click through to your website or make a purchase?

Here are some tips that can supercharge your email marketing efforts.

1. Limit your CTAs

Business owners often believe that if you stuff multiple CTAs in an email — Buy Now! Click for More information! Don’t Miss This Opportunity! Etc — they’ll get more conversions.

Not true!

Employ one CTA: True fact: Emails with a single CTA increased clicks 371% and sales 1617%, according to WordStream. Too many CTAs in an email can inflict upon readers a “decision paralysis” — a phenomenon that often leads to them doing nothing. The key is to be compelling.

2. Words Work

The success of your campaign depends on the words you choose. They must express in a clear and compelling way the action you want them to take. Try these tips to make your words work well:

Be brief: A CTA should be clear and concise — you don’t want the reader to think too much. Try to limit your CTA to no more than four words.

Use action words and active verbs: ”Learn more,” “Read more,” “Download the e-book,” “Register now,” “Buy now,” “Order now,” and “Get free shipping.”

Speak a familiar lingo: Use everyday language in your CTA to make it relatable. Include personal pronouns like “me” and “I” to keep it conversational, such as “Sign me up” or “Yes, I want a free upgrade.” According to ContentVerve, marketers saw a 90% increase in click-through rate by using first-person phrasing: “Start my free 30 day trial” vs. “Start your free 30 day trial.”

3. Design Theory

The design of your CTA can make a difference in its success. Some ways to make CTAs pack a punch and generate clicks include:

Create a CTA button: Most readers will only scan your email rather than read them word for word. A button will stand out to skimmers, while they’re likely to ignore a hyperlink — even if the words are similar. A button can deliver up to a 28% increase in conversion, according to Campaign Monitor.

Clicks with color: Making your CTA button a different color than the rest of the text helps attract attention — and clicks. At Schneps we recommend red or orange buttons, which can boost conversion rates by over 30%.

Size matters: Be sure that the call to action button is proportional in size to the rest of the email – you don’t want a button that overwhelms your text. And be sure to leave white space around it, reducing distraction and leading your reader right to it.


Of course, no one knows your business and your customers better than you do, so developing a successful CTA requires knowledge of what works and a willingness to experiment with new techniques, like A/B testing.

Interested in discussing how to get more from your email marketing efforts and your overall digital strategy and goals?


Photo: Getty Images