How to Make Your Call to Action Irresistible

In Marketing Sherpa’s Email Marketing Benchmark Report for 2012 (note

good call to action

In Marketing Sherpa’s Email Marketing Benchmark Report for 2012 (note the free excerpt offer!), email marketers reported an average clickthrough rate of 26%.

If your rates aren’t that high, don’t fret – rates are going to vary somewhat by industry and by audience. But that’s not to say you can’t make efforts to attract as many clicks as you possibly can.

There are many long-term endeavors marketers use to increase interest and trust, and in a roundabout fashion, clicks: things like responding to all email inquiries, being as transparent as possible and sending on a regular schedule.

But there are also ways you can attract clicks with the email itself, like in the call to action. Try one of these methods:

Create a Mystery

call to action in email

When challenged with a question, who can resist finding out the answer, especially when it’s just a click away?

The Soap Crone sends her email subscribers a mystery gift so they’ll have to click to her site to discover it.

Since the mystery is how much discount can be gotten, it appeals to bargain hunters as well as thrill seekers and fun lovers.

Appeal With Texture

Use images with a lot of texture, and your email viewers will want to touch and taste. Instead of reaching into the picture itself, all they can do is click on it – so they do.

Terrain‘s offer shows their pink sea salt, a pretty product, not only bottled up the way customers would receive it, but also sprinkled onto a black surface to highlight the salt’s crystalline grain.

A Note on Heavy Image Use

Spam filters are sensitive to image-heavy emails, as spammers have used them in attempts to disguise their message content. However, there are a few ways to show the filters you’re not spamming.

As Laura Atkins from Word to the Wise says, “If you send mail that is heavy on the images and low on the text, it’s going to look like spam. This doesn’t mean it’s going to be a delivery problem necessarily. But, if the mail has other issues: mentions domains that have iffy reputations or recipients that aren’t engaged then a heavy image to text ratio may be enough to tip the mail into the bulk folder.”

For the most part, delivery comes down to subscriber engagement. “There are lots of senders who use poor formats but see no delivery problems because the mail is wanted,” she says. “The ISPs know the recipients want it and so they deliver it.”

So don’t shy away from heavy image use: When it’s designed well and has no other issues, an image-heavy email can be a great user experience and outperform other alternatives.

Add Texture to Your Mystery for Max Appeal

email CTA

Acuvue sent a happy birthday surprise to their contact lens customers.

Not only is there a mystery here, but the creamy texture of the frosting makes not clicking all but impossible.

The concept of a gift works especially well, as you can see in these examples, but don’t feel limited to just that option. You could also create a mystery around:

  • your newest project
  • a role you’re hiring for
  • a special event coming up

Just make sure any images you use show plenty of texture.

How Do You Make Yourself Irresistible?

We subscribe to a lot of our customers’ and readers’ campaigns (we love seeing what you guys come up with!), and there are plenty of times we can’t resist clicking the calls to action.

So, tell us in the comments how you do it! What’s your secret to getting your subscribers to click through to your site?


  1. Minesh

    4/4/2012 9:54 am

    We can show our leads that what can they do with what they have if they make action!
    We can use funny but creative and appealing video content to arouse some meaningful action.

  2. Richard Fernz

    4/10/2012 12:07 am

    Hi Amanda!

    Thanks for sharing your nice tips on call to action….and showing how to make my customers irresistible….

    Thanks again 🙂

  3. fajar

    10/31/2012 3:32 am

    Giving a reward to visitors can be helpful. Like making a contest or something like that.

  4. trevor

    3/5/2013 7:30 pm

    In your call to action tell your subscriber or visitor exactly what they’re getting when they click on something and make sure what they’re getting is the main benefit of the product you’re promoting. Thanks for your interesting article..

  5. trevor

    3/16/2013 9:02 pm

    Your content must get the reader interested enough to click the link to find out more.

  6. Chelsea Potter

    3/10/2014 9:43 am

    I think the biggest problem facing email marketing is getting people to open it. These days the open rate is 22% (compared to SMS which is 98%) and many marketers face the issue of having theirs deleted straight away. Compelling title lines are needed before anything else.