If you've been doing email marketing already but aren't satisfied with your email click-through rate, or if you're designing your first html email template and want to make sure that it's optimized for the best possible click-through results, this article covers seven best practices for getting the best email click-through rate from your email sends.

Why is Email Click-Through Rate Important?

You've mastered the way to prevent your emails going to junk, and you've found subject lines and an email list that will respond to and open your emails. Congratulations! You've made great progress. What's the next step? It's to get the people who have opened your email to actually click-through your email to your product. After all, the entire purpose of your email is to drive traffic to your website or email landing page.

You'd be surprised how a few small changes can really optimize the email click-through rate to your website. Here, Comm100 will break down the seven magic that you can do to help ensure that your click-through rate is just about as good as it possibly could be.

Email Click-Through Rate Magic No. 1: Make Sure that Your Links Look Like Links

It's very easy to begin to think that your email links should look neat and stylized, especially if you have a tightly controlled brand style on your website. However, your links will get clicked the most if they look like links and people can easily identify them as links. At a minimum, every link in your email should be underlined, like a standard link, so that it is easily identifiable to the user visually as a link. Though it may be outside of the scope of your brand guidelines, consider making the links in your email the standard blue link color. What's the reason for this? Some emails will strip out your style scripts anyway. Making your links standard blue will make them obvious links to users in any context.

Email Click-Through Rate Magic No. 2: Make Sure There is a Link Above the Fold

This is the same rule as applies with email landing pages. In the case of an email, however, "Above the Fold" actually means within the first inch and a half of the email. Over half of all people who read (or just scan) your email will do so in a horizontally-oriented email preview pane. That means that you have less than two inches of space to convince them to click something. If you fill up the top inch and a half or two inches of your email with an image and text and no obvious links, you may miss your entire opportunity to get a user to click through to your website or landing page. Even if it means less use of image and a harder selling text style, make sure you get at least one obvious link in the top inch and a half of your email. Otherwise, many users will never even see a link to click!

Email Click-Through Rate Magic No. 3: Don't Trap Links in Images

Comm100 has talked previously about how using images to convey important messages in email means that many of your readers will never see the message that you want to convey. This rule applies to "click-through buttons" as well. It's true that, in a normal web environment, using a graphic button to tell somebody to "enter" or "click" or "submit" is the most effective way to get a response. This is not true in email. If you use a graphic button, half of your users will only see the button's alt or title text. Alt and title text is not as compelling as a large font, brightly colored text link. Instead of graphic buttons, use either large font text links or create an html button. A good coder can create an html button that is both visually appealing and always visible in your email (whereas a graphic won't be!).

Email Click-Through Rate Magic No. 4: TELL People to Click

Comm100 has already talked about making sure that your links are not too visually subtle, but this is true for the text you choose to use around your links as well. Again, this isn't a webpage and you have limited time to get somebody to click. So, rather than using subtle text strings, make sure you are using call to action and order text such as "Click here to…" or "Click this link." The one thing that you want to be careful of is that you don't do this too much, because spam filters don't like emails that have dozens of large, bolded, "click here" links. But you want at least a couple of links that obviously tell your users where and what to click.

Email Click-Through Rate Magic No. 5: Use Alt and Title Text Effectively

Just in case you've had a brain freeze moment, alt and title text are the text snippets that appear underneath images and that are seen either when the image doesn't load or when a user holds their mouse over the image. You should use both alt and title text fields since different browsers read them differently. The important part of what Comm100 just said that you need to remember is that alt and title tags appear when images don't load! So not only should those text fields repeat any messages in those images, but they should also be used to also say "Click here for this offer" or "Click for more information." Every alt or title text field is an opportunity to encourage a click-through.

Email Click-Through Rate Magic No. 6: Use LOTS of Links

There is also just a piece of simple math that goes into optimizing your email click-through rate. It goes like this: The more opportunities that you give users to click, the more likely that they are to click. If a user has to read through several paragraphs of text to get to a link, they may not get that far. Or they may not care by the time they get to the link. Every text block that you include in an email should include one link. And every image should be a link. It's just math! More links means more opportunities for a user to click, which means more click-throughs.

Email Click-Through Rate Magic No. 7: Double Check Your Text Version

Remember that you should always be sending a corresponding text version with your html email. And remember that that text version will wipe out all of your html links. Make sure that you go through your text version and manually put in the url that users need to visit. It should sound like this "Visit this url (insert full url) to see this product." If your url is very long and complicated, you may want to consider setting up a shorter url and then redirecting it to the more complicated url after a user types it in.

Those seven tips will, without fail, improve your email click-through rate. Just be sure to check your email in a pre-send spam rater to make sure that you haven't gone overboard with any of these techniques. It's true that in some cases your email won't look as pretty when you're following these rules, but Comm100 can assure you that, from a click-through perspective, it will perform better!

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