March 29, 2011
For email to succeed as a form of communication, your recipient quickly needs to know exactly why you are sending them an email and this reason why should take them to a clear call to action.
The click is also the basic unit for measuring the click-through rate (CTR) a common measure of success for an email marketing campaign.
However, this “one size fits all” command doesn’t always serve the needs of the call to action, which really needs a custom fit to suit the sender, the recipient and the end result. Sometimes “click here” might appear to demand a greater commitment than your customer is willing to make at an early stage in the conversation. For example: “Learn more” might actually more closely reflect what’s going on in their head.You should try to vary your call to action wording to reflect where in the sales cycle your customers are likely to be.
Never forget that your recipient is only interested in “what’s in it for me”. Ignore this at your peril!
Have you ever listened to someone talk about themselves for hours and wondered what they want from you? In the end, you tune them out and do your best to look interested (if you are polite) or you look for the easiest escape route. There may be compelling things that they have to offer you, but you’ve already tuned them out as being arrogant or self absorbed.
Minimise any distractions or non-essential content from your email, stay concise and to the point. You have a limited amount of space and if you have a lot to say in your email, it’s better to display a link to a web site that contains the full content of your message. For example, use a snippet of text with a link to “read more”.
The subject line and headlines that you use need to provide your recipient with more clues about the purpose of your email. As many people simply skim through emails without actually reading them, you need to keep your message clear by using short blocks of texts, bullet points, a subject line that relates to the purpose of your email, and headlines that form complete sentences. Content that is heavy and long in copy often backfires because the call to action/purpose of the email gets buried.
In addition don't be afraid to introduce a sense of urgency to your call to action if it's applicable. You can encourage your subscribers to respond immediately by letting them know if there are any limitations or restrictions or by using action phrases. For example if you had limited spaces available on an event you were running you could use, "Spaces are limited, to avoid disappointment book your place now". This call to action is clear and shows the recipient exactly what they need to do and why.
You should only promote one call to action. Don’t try to offer both a whitepaper and a webinar in the same email, because the result will be disappointing response rates for both.
If you do use images, then add supporting text under the image and in the “alt” tag so that your reader will know what to do if images are disabled. A lot of email clients have images disabled by default so using “alt” tag will give the subscriber a place to go even if they do not download images on their email client.
When using text for your call to action, a simple way of catching your subscriber’s attention is to use a larger font or use boldface action words, key phrases and anything else that can drive the reader’s eye down to the official call to action. Boldface does make scanning much easier, but use in moderation and also avoid using massive font, capitalisation or punctuation excessively, as this can get you caught in spam filters!
Use white space to offset or highlight the call to action and if the action at the end of an article is simply to read the full story; use a hard return, indent to make it easy to see exactly where the call to action is.
Obviously, the call to action must be a clickable link, but that cannot be the only path to your landing page. Giving your customers more options will increase your total click through rate. You should never hesitate to move your call to action up in the mailing or use multiple calls to action throughout your email.
For example: a retailer’s call to action email message may tell the customer, “Buy now!” However, the buying process may not start immediately when the reader clicks through to the landing page. Instead, the link you provide takes the customer to a product page for more information: product descriptions, pricing, image shots, discounts etc.
Posted by Jenni Malley
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