Clicks count! At the end of the day, your readers can't make you any revenue directly from your email. They'll need to either click through to a landing page where they can make a revenue-generating transaction or to a website where you are monetizing their visit through an impression-based web advertisement. Either way, you'll need to follow basic best practices to drive clicks, from your email to your landing page or website. Here are the key points that you'll need to keep in mind in order to successfully accomplish that goal.

Link Appearance to Drive Clicks

How your email links appear in your email can determine how effective you are at driving click-through activity to your website or landing page. In general, the following are practices for link appearance in html email templates to drive clicks.

  • Make links appear in a blue font
  • Make sure that links are underlined to denote that they are links
  • Use a bold font for your links
  • Do not include your links in a block of text but instead separate them out and pad a minor degree of white space around them.

You may decide not to make your links a blue font for brand or design reasons. While a blue font has been shown to drive clicks more, as long as you underline your links most users will recognize them as links. You may also consider using a larger font size to make links stand out more from the rest of your text.

Link Placement to Drive Clicks

Make sure that you get at least one, if not multiple, links above-the-fold in your email. That means in the top three inches, or roughly 500 pixels, of your email. This will ensure that users don't need to scroll outside of their email preview pane in order to click through to your website or landing page.

Image Links to Drive Clicks

If you want to maximize your email click-through rate, it's important that you don't "trap" links or calls-to-action within images. While image buttons work exceptionally well on a webpage to drive clicks because images often don't load in emails your entire call-to-action to click may be lost if you use an image to convey a link. Make links and calls-to-action text based.

If your brand department insists that you include graphic buttons for links or calls-to-action even though it is not an email practice, make sure that there is a text-based link and call-to-action directly below or above the image and that the image includes alt and title text that repeats the call-to-action.

Link Density to Drive Clicks

As a general rule, the more opportunities that you give a user to click from your email to your landing page or website, the better your results will be. However, keep the following in mind.

  • Too many links can send you to the spam or junk folder. If your test send of your email ends up in the spam or junk folder, try removing some of the links.
  • If your email is a revenue-generating or conversion email, you may want to include multiple links, but they should all be for the same call-to-action. Don't distract users with other actions or options that don't contribute to your end goal.
  • If your email is a content email or customer retention email, navigational links to your website and multiple links to various contact and content pages can add to your overall link density and opportunities for click-through actions.

URLs in Text-Only Emails to Drive Clicks

Though you cannot generate tracked click-through actions from the text-only version of your email, you can increase the number of users who navigate from your text-only email to your website or landing page. Include urls for your offer or promoted content at both the bottom and the top of the email. Separate urls from content by a full paragraph break. Most importantly, keep urls in text-only email versions short and memorable.

Call-to-Action Text to Drive Clicks

Writing your call-to-action text can have the greatest impact on your click-through actions. Though we've covered calls-to-action in great detail earlier in this book, we've provided the key practices again in this summary for you.

Keep Your Call-to-Action Simple: Don't make the wording in your call-to-action too long or too complicated! Keep it simple, clear, and easy-to-understand.

Segment and Tailor Your Call-to-Action: You can also tailor subject lines by gender, customer loyalty, and just about any other criteria that you could come up with to segment your list with. The more tailored the call-to-action is, the better it will perform.

Personalize Your Call-to-Action: While you'll want to be careful that your personalization doesn't sound too much like customer spying, a personalized email and a personalized call-to-action will almost always improve performance.

What, Why, How: If you're struggling to write good calls to action, following the basic "What. Why. How." rule can help to improve your performance. In short, have your call-to-action tell users what they should do, why they should do it, and how to do it.

Make Your Call-to-Action Persuasive with Action Words and Commands: This, of course, is easier said than done! Determining which words, commands and concepts will resonate with your audience and cause the best response can take time and creativity. However, it's well worth the effort.

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