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An email call-to-action worth trying

February 1, 2009

We all know how crucial the offer is in generating a strong response to your email marketing campaigns. However, just as crucial is the call-to-action to take up that offer when determining your email message’s chance of success. 

Whether you’re asking the recipient to subscribe, buy, download a whitepaper or product sheet, or just move them to another web page, there comes a time when you must ask your audience to take action. Testing variations of your call-to-action can be a great way to improve your response rates. But have you ever considered asking someone to reply to your message either explicitly or assumptively? 

Particularly in B2B lead generation, most of us will simply place a link for our email recipient to access the offer. For example, a link that sends them through to a landing page holding a form to download a whitepaper. There are several advantages of doing this from a marketing and campaign management perspective. More specifically, it affords the campaign complete automation. By simply tracking the download link, it couldn’t be easier to build a responder list that is then used for follow up email campaigns and/or tele- prospecting by your sales team. Its quick and its easy. 

So what would you think if I told you to try asking your recipients to actually reply to your email as your primary call-to-action? Sure, most of you will be thinking ‘who’s going to deal with all the replies?’ Believe me, it’s not such a bad problem to have and I’ll explain why. 

By using this type of call-to-action for your offer you are directly engaging the recipient in personal dialogue. Therefore, if it’s a cold prospect, it will be the start of what is hopefully a very personal and prosperous relationship for both of you.

Even better still, the single biggest benefit of this call-to-action, and the direct dialogue that results, is the degree to which people will actually readily give you additional information. It’s incredible what people will actually tell you. 

If the email is constructed properly, using relevant content and good practices in personalisation, you may get far more than just a ‘Yes please’ in the reply to your offer. Of course you can always use ‘survey-type’ questionnaires to further qualify your prospects on the submission page when using a call-to-action link, but in my experience, these surveys are not only ‘clunky’ and time consuming, but also dramatically reduce response rates. 

If you don’t believe what I’m saying then check out the following examples of replies. In all instances the campaigns were developed to generate leads in B2B markets. The offer was of a white paper or equivalent and the call-to-action asked recipient’s to reply to the email rather than click a link to download. 

When you ask readers to take an action, the text used can have a considerable impact on conversion rates. As you can see from these examples, each respondent gave much more than a ‘yes please’ in their reply. How else would you learn this much about your prospects’ so easily and freely? It’s a fine art to actually making this type of call-to-action work- your email has to have all the right language, tone and especially the right personalisation.

However, by using this style of call-to-action, it will allow you as a marketer to further qualify prospects and better prioritise the leads. And, if you’re still in doubt, why not test the theory out yourself?

If you would like further information, please email [email protected] or call 0161 817 2929

Posted by Paul Latham
Email Design


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