Email CTA: Creating Actionable Marketing

Marketing 16 minute read 2nd November 2023

If you run a business, you’ll know all about the importance of an email campaign. Email content is one of the most effective ways to market your business. A ‘good’ email open rate is 17-28% per email; you want to maximize the impact on this percentage of recipients. And every great bit of email content comes with action buttons or - at the very least - call-to-action examples. These marketing and design elements are essential for shaping the recipient’s response to your email. They help funnel the recipient toward the most beneficial action for you and your company. An email CTA, aka an email call to action, is the be-all and end-all.

Whether you prompt purchases, loyalty program sign-ups, or more, investing in a CTA for email content is vital. You can work with a professional email marketer or just do the research so you can create the CTA yourself. There are tons of ways to tackle CTAs for email content effectively. And this guide will help you get to grips with the best practices and a CTA overview. This way, you’ll be ready to boost your business through more actionable email marketing.

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What Is a CTA in Emails?

First things first, what is a CTA in emails? What does CTA even stand for? A CTA is simply a call to action. This means the role of this marketing element is to prompt the recipient to respond to the email through action. For instance, showing them fashion deals and adding ‘shop now’ or ‘claim discount now’ action buttons. The action prompts help to get the recipient to respond on impulse rather than risking forgetting.

There are many different ways that you can incorporate calls to action. You could add buttons (like the ‘shop now’ button). You could also include links (e.g., follow the link to claim your discount). Alternatively, you could provide a written CTA - although we suggest adding a link or button to enable easier action.

A CTA has a straightforward goal: to prompt a physical response. The response could be anything from signing up for a loyalty program or purchasing a product. A call to action means creating something that jerks your target recipient into responding. And with the proper CTA, they will respond in a way that benefits you.

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Why Should You Use a CTA in Emails?

Why should you actually use a CTA in emails? What is the difference? A powerful call to action increases your likelihood of positive customer behaviors. Overall, the main benefit is growing your email campaign’s chance to succeed. For example:

  • The email recipient could purchase the product you are advertising.
  • The email recipient could sign up for the loyalty program.
  • The email recipient could request a demo of your software.
  • The email recipient could input their details for an initial consultation.
  • The email recipient could redeem a discount code and shop on your site.
  • The email recipient could book an appointment.
  • The email recipient could purchase tickets.

As you can see, your actual email content is only half the battle. Each one of the email design elements has a job. The subject line grabs your recipient’s attention and raises your chances of them opening it. The email body helps educate them quickly on what you are offering. And finally, the CTA is what prompts them to grab whatever you are offering. It gives them that precious next step and an actionable small step. Just read into the power of suggestion to understand the hold CTAs have - you should take into account their impact. Whether you are designing SMS interactions or email campaigns, CTAs are vital.

If you aren’t utilizing a call to action, you risk missing out on one of those steps. These steps create a logical chain reaction: the recipient opens the email, reads the email, and reacts accordingly. And missing out on those steps means you don’t get the whole process - and those all-important results. You should care about CTAs because they form the vital last stage of your email campaign. Without them, you can’t get your results.

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Who Uses CTAs in Emails?

Next up, who actually uses CTAs in emails? In short, every successful business that utilizes email marketing. Small businesses use email marketing. E-commerce companies use email marketing. Even restaurants use email marketing - when we say every successful business, we really mean it. Every company that’s using email marketing the correct way will employ the use of CTAs, and that goes for all industries. It is standard practice when running an email campaign.

With that quick disclaimer said, some industries use CTAs more than others. This is because some industries rely on email marketing more than others. For instance, e-commerce and online businesses would require more email marketing than a physical store or somewhere like a restaurant. The more emails you send, the more CTAs you’ll use.

For example, an e-commerce business might send four weekly emails, each with a call to action. These calls to action would prompt things like redeeming discount codes, purchasing products, and loyalty program sign-ups. On the other hand, a restaurant might send email campaigns 2-3 times a month with discounts or new menu announcements. How frequently you use CTAs and email campaigns will depend on your industry and business model.

In short, if you regularly send out email content, you must catch up with calls to action. Knowing the value of action buttons and phrases will help businesses in all industries boost their profit. This is a skill that everyone uses if they know their salt with email marketing.

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What Are Email CTA Best Practices?

A CTA is vital for business success; as you can see, it is essential in all industries. But what are email CTA best practices? What should you know about creating a compelling CTA that boosts your business? In this section, we’ll break down the top five practices you should most definitely be using in your email campaign.

  • Actionable language.

This one is absolutely key to success. Actionable language is short, including phrases like ‘book now’ or ‘click now’. It uses a mixture of verbs and words that instill a sense of urgency.

  • Urgency.

Speaking of which, urgency is another best practice when creating an email CTA. You can play up the time sensitivity to make the call to action more effective. For instance, having a discount code that lasts 24 hours - adds a countdown feature for added effect.

  • Use a physical button.

Another massive hack is to add a physical button. A digital button on the page is enticing and guarantees a higher likelihood of recipients clicking. Using a button is one of the best practices when designing a CTA for your email.

  • Make it visible.

There’s zero point in adding a shy wallflower version of a CTA. Own it and make it big. Your CTA should be obvious and striking. You can use bold or large text. Or you can use specific eye-catching colors or animation.

  • Place your CTA tactically.

There are a few different ways you can do this. The first way is by placing the CTA underneath supporting text - e.g., text that helps to sell your solution. You could also use tactical placements by putting the CTA in different locations - like sidebars and the email bottom.

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Top Email CTA Examples

Are you looking for some email CTA examples? In this section, we will get practical with some quality inspiration that you can use to create your CTAs. These are some popular and compelling calls to action that you could add to your email campaign.

  • Click now to book your free consultation.
  • Click here to redeem your discount code (valid for 24 hours).
  • Enter your email to join our loyalty program and get a free entry to our lottery draw.
  • Book now to get 20% off for the rest of May
  • Click here for your special offer (limited time only).

As you can see, all of these CTAs include a verb and a reference to urgency or an expiry. These are actionable CTAs that clearly highlight the benefits and ‘why now’ element of marketing.

What Is the Best Email CTA?

The best email CTA is the one that best relates to your audience. This means that the definition of ‘best email call to action’ is subjective. In general, a great CTA ticks off a set of things. If you want to see whether your CTA passes the test, check it against this checklist:

  • Is it actionable? Does it use and start with verbs?
  • Is it time-sensitive and urgent? Does it answer the question ‘why now’
  • Is it visible?
  • Does the recipient know why your services or product is worth clicking on a CTA?
  • Is there a physical button or something that makes it ‘pop’?

Go through your CTA and really analyze it. And if you can’t look at it objectively, ask your friends and family to. It is vital to really nail this stage. The best CTA is one that fits the above criteria.

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Final Thoughts: How Much To Budget for a CTA Investment?

In theory, a CTA should be totally free to create. You only need to dedicate a chunk of time to creating and editing a short and snappy CTA. If you are struggling, just check out Inspiration online. But really, after reading this guide, you know all you need to know so that you can go it alone. Not using a CTA is one of people’s biggest email campaign mistakes. So take advantage of the online inspiration and create your own for free today.

If you have a budget for your CTA project, speak to a professional email marketer. You could outsource CTA and email content creation as a one-off project or regularly. For this, you’d require a budget that allowed for the cost of an email marketer. Email marketers can charge anything from $25 to $100 per hour - and that’s on the low end.

So, where exactly does Beambox come into all of this? Beambox is a fabulous way to invest more passively in marketing for your business. As a WiFi marketing platform, Beambox helps you take advantage of your WiFi to collect marketing details. Guests typically ask to join your WiFi if you have a physical business location. Creating a captive portal system allows guests to connect in exchange for inputting their details into a form. These marketing details automatically funnel into a database - passively growing your marketing reach.

Tools and software like Beambox’s WiFi platform are critical to sustainably growing your marketing strategy. There’s no point burning yourself out with demanding marketing strategies all the time. Start your Beambox free trial today. Your business deserves a brilliant, high-quality email CTA, but you also earn some passive marketing.

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