Email Marketing Surfs Up! Call to action emails

Published on September 11th, 2013 | by Jill Bastian

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Surf’s Up! Don’t End Summer without These Email Calls-to-Action

Summer is winding to a close, but there’s still fun to be had; warm days and maybe even a beach getaway. But before that next big swell diverts your attention, let’s take a deeper look at various call-to-action (CTA) examples you should include in your emails. What exactly is a call-to-action? It’s basically what you’re trying to get your readers to do through your email. Want them to make a purchase? Download a whitepaper? Watch a video? Donate to your organization? These are all illustrations of a call-to-action, which are extremely important since they’re the enticing key to a click and/or a purchase.

We’ve written blog posts about CTAs, hosted webinars, and even have a free tool for creating CTA buttons since we know they’re a must-have in your emails. So, here’s a breakdown of what an effective CTA look like, and what makes it that way. Plus, we’ve shared a few summer-inspired ones from our own inboxes to help get your own creative juices flowing.

Before we plunge into our examples, here are a few things to remember about creating effective calls-to-action:

  1. Be clear and concise – Use one or two CTAs per email and be specific about what you want your readers to do.
  2. Use action verbs (Read, Buy, Subscribe, Learn, Donate, etc.)
  3. Links are importantLink exactly where you want readers to go

Here’s an email I received recently and it has all the elements of a successful call-to-action.

Call to action email example

  1. Super subject line – Since this email example and call-to-action above from Orbitz is about summer, incorporating SPF into the subject line is fitting, fun and catchy. Plus, it hints at the call-to-action by mentioning a promo code.
  2. CTA text – In this email, the call-to-action is also accentuated in the entire body of the email, which means the reader knows exactly what they’re expected to do. In this case, they’ll get a 15% discount on hotel rooms by using the promo code. Short and sweet!
  3. CTA Button – A CTA button gets the same message across as the text of your email, but in a smaller amount of space. I love that in this example, Orbitz brought back the SPF theme from the subject line for their CTA: “Gimme that SPF.” And, since the reader knows the promo code involves SPF it makes the wording for the button a bit easier, and shorter.

Takeaways: This email gets straight to the point with what the reader is expected do, and does it in a really fun way. Don’t underestimate the power of an amusing subject line or CTA button – very eye catching! Plus, the word “gimme,” though maybe not grammatically correct, is an action verb and tells the reader exactly what is expected of them, or better yet, what they’re going to get.

To contrast the lively and sales-oriented CTA above, we’ve got one that’s a bit more serious. This next email also uses call-to-action in a marketing sense (“Receive our updates”) but still implies what they need the reader to do. This email is from a non-profit and they want their readers to take action for their cause, and not just by clicking on a button. They really have one call-to-action in the email; to support the non-profit, and they give the reader a few ways to do that.

NPO call to action

Takeaways: Again, the use of action verbs is vital – “Voice your support,” “Sign our Petition.” And again, they’re very clear and concise what the reader is expected to with the info in the email.

While “Shop Now!” is effective, it’s also used by nearly everyone. Both of our email examples had creative and different CTAs; here are a few more that get to the point but in an unexpected way:

Take Survey
How To…
Click to Redeem
Confirm Now
View Our Fall Menu
Explore This Blend (coffee email)
Customer Favorites
Grab A Seat
Get All The Info
Get Cookin’
Get The Deal
Enroll Now
Look Inside

And of course, there are many more CTAS, including benefit-oriented (Save 40% Now). Spend a little time thinking about what you need your readers to do once they receive your email, and then brainstorm words that will most convey that action. Try mixing things up a bit from what you usually write and see if you get a better engagement or click through rate. Sometimes a fresh word or approach is all it takes to get your email readers interested! Cowabunga!

Have you seen fun call-to-actions lately? What are your favorites? Have any that really work for you? Share below in the comments!

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About the Author

Jill Bastian

Jill Bastian is the Training and Education Manager at VerticalResponse.



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