MAKE IT POP!: CTAs Get Some Action

Your call-to-action (CTA) tells your email recipients what you want them to do, and what they can expect from you when they do it. Subject lines get a lot of love, but once you get an open you need a click, so don’t forget to lavish some much-needed attention on your CTA.


1. Stay focused. Design the entire message to direct recipients towards the CTA. Don’t distract them with too many equally-weighted links and offers. Select imagery that draws the eye toward the point of conversion. Make the path appealing and clear, and make sure that it extends beyond the email itself to the landing experience.

Pottery Barn achieves serious CTA-focus with this summer sale message. The email is simple, text-based and entirely pointed toward sale shopping. The CTA whisks the recipient away to a coordinated landing page where a simple product grid offers customers the opportunity to dive into the shop category that interests them most.

2. Keep it direct and clear. It’s fun to write clever copy, but make sure that even the quirkiest wording is to the point. This Ann Taylor CTA, “Click and See,” feels pointedly enticing as does Piperlime’s “See for yourself”… I DO want to see!

This Anthropologie message is lovely, but lacks clarity. I’m not sure what the CTA is, or whether the message even has one. The sweater and all the buttons are beautiful…they make me want to do something, but I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to do.

3. Make sure it’s above the fold. It doesn’t matter how adorable and endearing your email is—there will still be subscribers (many of them!) who will be too rushed to scroll down and get to the bottom of it. Keep the CTA above “the fold,” or in the part of the message that’s visible without any scrolling. While the fold location can be hard to predict with all the varying preview panes and computer monitors out there, put your CTA up top where it gets the attention it deserves.

I love this Giggle email, but the CTA is way down there. Keeping it above the fold doesn’t have to stifle creativity. This Banana Republic message has some fun with image layout while keeping what’s important up top.

4. Make it POP! Keeping it above the fold is a good start, but go further. Make your CTAs stand out visually. Try using HTML buttons as opposed to text links. You’ll grab more eyes that way and generate a higher CTR.

In this email, it almost seems like Free People is trying to hide their CTA. Why is it so tiny, tucked away in weeds? If it were right beneath the body copy, Free People would better serve their shoppers and increase sales without compromising their low-key approach.

While this Land of Nod CTA falls below the fold (gah!), the green button totally pops, and the very specific wording makes the destination absolutely clear. If you’re looking for copy inspiration in general, check out Land of Nod; they have tons of fun with CTAs and beyond.

For more on buttons, check out my article on “The Bulletproof Button”. Learn all about how to optimize your button design for maximum performance.

Which CTAs get you clicking? Please share your experiences with the eec community by posting a comment below.

As ever,
Lisa Harmon of Smith-Harmon

–>Read other Make it Pop! posts.

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