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Conversion challenges: cracking email click-through rates

Congratulations! Your emails, equipped with pithy, punchy, expertly written subject lines, are sparking interest and getting opened anywhere from 22% to 30% of the time (depending on your industry).


Now, time for an annoying question.


Why do open rates matter? That’s simple enough; no one clicks inside your email if no one opens your email. But however important open rates are, click-through rates (CTR) are even more important.


Quick — when was the last time you opened an unsolicited business email and actually clicked? Probably only three times out of 100.


If that sounds awful, then think of it this way: Going from a 2% CTR to a 3% CTR is 50% more performance, or 50% more leads who clicked. Even small increases in this key metric are huge. Without it, nothing else in your campaign matters.


Here are some quick do’s and don’ts that can add a lot of value to your email marketing program.


Do your homework. Invest in audience segmentation.

The easiest way to improve CTR is to make sure you’re sending your emails to the specific customer segments that are most likely click on that information. And it works — customers not only open more emails from segmented campaigns, but are more than 100% more likely to click through.


Pull all of the data from your previous email campaigns and consolidate them into a master spreadsheet. Be sure to include:

  • Past email subject lines & body content
  • Past email open rates
  • Past email CTRs
  • Which user lists received which emails
  • The criteria that had to be met for those users to get those emails

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“Subject lines exist to get emails opened. Content exists to get clicks.”

– Nate Brown, Sr. Content Strategist, BrandAction Agency

Because your email has only one job, make sure the one thing you want your customer to do is immediately clear. Keep your copy short and sweet and include only one call to action (CTA).


With those two golden rules in mind, here are some hard and fast guidelines that we use when writing compelling emails:


  • 89% of email markers lose leads because their emails aren’t optimized for mobile. Make sure your emails work on both mobile and desktop.
  • Catch and keep their interest with bulleted lists, short paragraphs that incorporate embedded links and CTA buttons placed above the fold.
  • Use images in your copy. Why? Because people process images 60,000 times faster than text.
  • Create a sense of urgency, but use friendly words. All emails are ultimately interruptions. Show your customers why opening your email wasn’t a waste of their time.
  • Do you have a great new white paper about your latest, greatest product? Write an email not about the white paper, but why your customers need to read it. What will that white paper help them do? Why should they care? Keep your message focused on the offer and its benefits.

Do experiments, but don’t overcorrect.


By all means, dissect your emails. Cut body copy in half. Add a CTA button above the fold and reinforce it with a text link in the body copy. Add a personalized greeting and play around with A-B testing such versioned images and copy by industry vertical or buyer persona to see what your readers (and your clickers) are truly reacting to.


There you have it. Keep learning, keep writing and keep your goals in sight. Want to earn more clicks? Consider this your call to action.

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