Tips to create successful email CTA's

Your call to action (CTA) is one of the main driving motivations for sending out email campaigns. It helps your subscribers complete the desired action as well as directing them clearly to the next step. Without proper calls to action, your subscribers will struggle to find their way to your website or be unable to connect with you.

We look at the best tips to create successful email marketing calls to action and how you can go about improving your calls to action in your email campaigns.

Email campaigns aim to help you connect with your audience and cultivate long-lasting relationships that support your overall goals.

The goal of CTA’s

Not all CTAs are created equal and therefore it’s important to look at what goal you are trying to achieve. Common goals include and can lead directly to achieving business-and-marketing objectives such as:

Direct subscribers to your latest blog post Increase website visitors
Increase your social media following Increase engagement and build your community
Direct subscribers to a new product Increase sales Increase awareness
Direct subscribers to multiple products Increase sales Increase awareness
Complete survey Get customer feedback Improve business offer and customer experience


Email CTA considerations:

Getting into the nuts and bolts of things, there are a lot of things you need to consider and think about when you are adding in your email calls to action.

Buttons should look like buttons

You may be saying to yourself, this is so obvious, but when you place your call to action in your email, it needs to be crystal clear to your subscriber that the element or button is in fact clickable. If you are using text hyperlinks, you need to also ensure that they are underlined. Without this, subscribers may not know that they are able to click on these elements. If you are unsure if your buttons are clear enough, ask someone you know to read and experience your email before you hit send. This way you can pay close attention to where they click and what draws them in.

There’s something dark about this - Dark Mode

Ever heard of dark mode? According to Forbes, “Dark mode is a display setting for user interfaces, such as a smartphone or laptop. It means that, instead of the default dark text showing up against a light screen (known as ‘light mode’), a light colour text (white or grey) is presented against a dark or black screen.)

It’s important to consider that some of your subscribers might be using dark mode on their devices, which means your design needs to account for that. On desktop, dark mode might not always affect your email content, but on mobile it definitely does as it is applied to the message of your email too. When it comes to your CTA you need to carefully consider what this means for you.

Top tips for accounting for dark mode users:

  • Use contrasting button borders
  • Use a colourful background
  • Ideally, you shouldn’t use black buttons in your email, but if this is part of your branding, you can add some light shadows to your black buttons to ensure they will show.

Colour can make or break a CTA

Colours have the ability to bring forth different emotions. There is a lot of literature out there about which colours are more geared towards driving conversions than others. The reports are a bit conflicting though, with some promoting orange buttons as the best and others advocating for green. The best thing to do when it comes to your CTA is test which colours trigger the emotions you are hoping to inspire within your audience.

At the end of the day, no matter what you choose, you need to ensure that your buttons stand out within your email campaign, without clashing with other elements.

Placement is everything

Have you always just put your buttons below your text and called it a day? Calls to actions that aren’t well placed can significantly decrease your click-through rates. In turn, they can mean you’ve missed out on opportunities to reach your business goals.

Top tips when considering different placement options:

  • Consider placing your main call to action above the fold. This will account for email subscribers that won’t make the effort to scroll down to the bottom of your email.
  • Consider using a right-aligned button. This aligns with the natural flow of reading that people follow.
  • Consider repeating your CTA in your email, once early on (above the fold) and once lower down (below the fold). This way you can reaffirm the action you want the subscriber to take.
  • Add supporting words above your CTA to further convince your subscriber to take action. This could be a simple one-liner.

Give your buttons room to breathe

White space can be your best friend when it comes to creating well-designed email campaigns. It’s important that you leave breathing room around design elements to make them stand out. This is true when it comes to your email buttons too. Make sure that you leave enough room around your buttons but also around the text within your button.

Consistency is key - stay aligned to your brand

Above we mentioned that your CTA colour is a main factor when it comes to designing successful CTA’s for your email campaign. You need to consider what emotions your colours will evoke but also at the same time stay aligned to your brand. It’s good practice to create consistency in your customer journey by creating consistent brand elements across your channels. For example, if your subscriber clicks on a button in your email and goes to your website, you want the subscriber to not feel like they’ve reached the wrong website because everything looks so vastly different. Keep your design consistent and consider your overall brand experience when adding your calls to action.

Size matters

Size matters when it comes to calls to action. If you make your buttons too small, they are easy to miss. If you make your buttons too large, they will overpower your messaging and seem out of place.

Top tips when it comes to sizing your buttons:

  • A good rule of thumb is to use 16 px minimum for your button text.
  • Do a “squint test:” Look at your email through squinted eyes and see if you can still identify your CTA, this will ensure that you haven’t made your buttons too small, it will also show you if the buttons are too big.

Single vs multiple CTA’s

A common consideration when it comes to calls to action is whether you should be using a single call to action as opposed to multiple calls to action. Simply put, it depends on your goal.

If you are trying to get someone to go to a survey page, you don’t want them clicking around as you want them to fill out that one survey. If you are showcasing multiple products, there is nothing wrong with adding multiple CTA’s to get your subscribers to convert.

At the end of the day, calls to action are extremely important to drive action and reach your business goals. If you are looking to improve your email marketing campaigns - calls to action can offer you some great testing opportunities.


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