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How to Create The Perfect CTAs for Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Exploring strategies, testing, personalization, and emerging trends

Jameela Ghann
By Jameela Ghann
Anelisa Nokoyo editor profile photo
Edited by Anelisa Nokoyo

Published January 17, 2024.

a person holding a phone with a message on it

The call-to-action (CTA) is a simple yet powerful tool that can transform your email campaigns into engagement-boosting conversion machines. Keep reading to discover the secrets to crafting email CTAs that capture attention, spark action, and drive results.

Meet the expert

Jameela Ghann is a seasoned online store owner with over a decade of eCommerce experience. Apart from running Alora Boutique, she's also the marketing manager for Fera Product Reviews.

How to Craft the Perfect CTA

Creating CTAs that engage and entice is not as easy a task as it may seem -- but definitely not an impossible one either. Here are some tips to help you out:

Use smart techniques and word choices

The key to successful email CTAs is to use strong action verbs that encourage engagement. Be specific and clear about what you want your subscribers to do. You can also create a sense of urgency or scarcity using words like "limited-time offer" or "exclusive deal."

You also want to make your CTAs easy to see and click on, and be sure to test different CTAs to see what works best for your audience.

Here's an example from Airbnb where they use the CTA to answer a question, thus getting straight to the point. The black CTA on a white background also makes it stand out.

a black and white photo with the words do i need insurance for my airbn

Now, when writing CTAs, it's also important to be specific and actionable. Your CTAs should tell the reader exactly what you want them to do and why they should do it. This CoSchedule CTA is a great example: it's clear, concise, and persuasive, and it directly addresses the reader's needs:

email CTA example 3

Leverage data-driven personalization

Another great way to boost click-through rates is to personalize your CTAs. Your subscribers are more likely to engage with content that resonates with them. Mentioning a product they've been checking out or a topic that they've been reading about will pique their interest.

Try one of these personalization methods:

  1. Use dynamic content: This lets you include personalized information in your emails and CTAs, such as the recipient's name, location, or purchase history. For instance, you could use a CTA like "Hi [subscriber name], save 20% now!" or "Get free shipping on orders over $50 in [subscriber location]."
  2. Segment your audience: This way, you can send targeted emails to each segment with personalized CTAs.
  3. Employ machine learning: An algorithm can help you predict which CTAs are most likely to be effective. For example, you can use advanced marketing platforms that predict which CTAs your users are more likely to click on, all based on your audience data. You could then send the subscriber an email with a personalized CTA related to that product.

However, you must balance personalization with transparency and user control. Protect subscriber data by being clear about its usage and offering opt-out options. Ensure personalized CTAs are relevant and not spam-like. Always get consent, preferably through a double opt-in for new subscribers, to respect their preferences.

Use A/B testing to refine email CTAs

Optimizing your CTAs is an ongoing process. You must constantly improve, adapt, and update through rigorous A/B testing. You can do this by choosing the specific CTA you want to test, whether it's the button text, color, placement, or surrounding text.

Create two versions of your email, each with a different CTA. The rest of the email must remain the same so that the only difference is the CTA. Now, split your email list in half and send each version of the email to one group.

Track the results of the A/B test by analyzing metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and revenue. Then, implement the CTA that performed better in future email campaigns.

A/B testing best practices

  • Only test one variable at a time
  • Test a statistically significant sample size
  • Run your test for a long enough time period
  • Analyze your results carefully
  • Don't just look at CTR—consider demographics and device usage as well

» Sending your email campaigns via MailChimp? Try these MailChimp A/B test ideas.

CTAs not hitting the mark? Talk to a vetted email marketing specialist

Email marketing is constantly changing, so you need someone with experience to address your specific challenges and optimize your CTAs for better engagement and conversions. Consult with an experienced email marketing consultant and turn subscribers into customers today.