Your call to action is arguably the most important element of your email marketing messages. Because it provides the link between passive reading and active clicking, it supersedes even the supremacy of the subject line. But many businesses fail to treat it with the respect it deserves. Subject lines tend to get all the attention because they provide the first point of contact and the incentive to open. And while that is undoubtedly a vital role, the call to action requires the subscriber to take decisive action towards your conversion goal.  That’s why it’s essential that you put some serious thought into creating a single call to action that will funnel your subscribers toward the decision you ultimately want them to make.

Why a Single Call to Action?

Simply put, too many calls to action paralyze the decision process. For instance, one email I received offered me the opportunity to donate, review new merchandise, visit the store website, and make a purchase, all in the same email. Just reading it burned through my allotted attention span for this email campaign; forget about actually deciding which call to action was most enticing. Studies show that you’ll make more sales by offering fewer choices than you will by offering a smorgasbord of options. Why? Ever try to choose between twenty-four different flavors of barbecue sauce? After a while they all start to taste the same.

What Should the Call to Action Accomplish?

Of course, the goal of any call to action is the click. To accomplish that goal, you must persuade the subscriber that clicking is worth his while, and therefore, you must show him how he will benefit by clicking. The single most important question in the mind of your customer is: “What’s in it for me?” Answer this question effectively and you’ll convince him that your product is worth spending money and/or time on.

How Can I Strengthen My Call to Action?

Strong calls to action employ descriptive action words designed to communicate benefit. Some great calls to action include:

  • Try It Now (implies low risk)
  • Learn More (piques interest)
  • Help Me Choose (places focus on reader’s needs)
  • Shop Sale Items (implies a great deal)

Above all, avoid the ubiquitous “click here” that asks the subscriber to take an action without communicating any benefit or purpose whatsoever.

The best way to determine which call to action will work best for you is to run some tests. eConnect Email can help you create and test your emails to ensure that the call to action you choose generates the greatest possible response from your target audience. Evaluate your call to action’s effectiveness by measuring click through rates, forwards, unsubscribes, and more.

About James Trumbly:
Director of Business Development for eConnect Email, an email marketing software company. James enjoys spending time at the beach and traveling in his free time. Follow him on twitter @eConnectEmail