How to make your CTAs work harder


Posted by: Hannah Vaughan on 3rd February 2020


If you’re like me, you don’t like the hard sell.

If there’s a basket of discounted items when I walk through the doors of the supermarket my immediate reaction is… rip-off. Attention-seeking scarlet stickers, mountains of discounted bread rolls and bold lettering won’t fool me. Even when someone offers me the opportunity to sign up to a loyalty card for a shop I regularly buy from, I shake my head profusely and hurry out of the door as if they’ve asked me to join a cult.

Of course, straightforward offers like this do work sometimes and can be extremely useful for creating urgency, but it can also be that one little reason for people not to buy. CTAs in email are that final little reason. They come at the end of your promotion and are the one component that will either work or fail.

There’s a reason it’s “call to action” and not “make them act.” You have to invite them in. You have to pull, not push.

Here’s how to make your email’s CTAs work harder. A triple threat, if you like.

 

First person.

From Jane Eyre to Game of Thrones, first person narrative is a useful technique for directly involving the reader within the story. You can apply this tool to your CTAs.

TAKE ME THERE, SIGN ME UP, I’M IN, I NEED A TREAT, TELL ME MORE

Put the person in the email. The promotion is meant for them, so include them in the excitement.

 

Tone

As with all copy, you have to align your CTAs with the tone of your brand. If you’re a fun, positive and energetic brand, a basic BUY NOW isn’t going to reflect this. Get creative and inject a bit of personality into your CTAs.

JUST THE TICKET, SHOP TILL YOU DROP, STEP INTO SPRING, PSST… SNEAK PEEK HERE, TIME FOR TEA, DON’T MISS OUT

Although BOOK NOW gets straight to the point and is useful in certain circumstances, it can sometimes read as pushy and perhaps a little dull. Mixing up the CTAs within your emails will help create cohesiveness for your brand’s tone and invite the recipient in.

 

Verbs

Verbs are the bread and butter of CTAs. To get the person reading the email to act is the whole purpose for the campaign and verbs are another area you can have a free rein of creativity. BOOK, BUY, READ, SEE, LEARN are all useful verbs but if used a lot can render obsolete.

JUMP INTO SUMMER, DIVE ON IN, CHEERS TO YOU, CELEBRATE WITH US, TUCK IN, RE-FRESH YOUR LOOK, IMPRESS THEM, ROMANCE THEM, EXPLORE THE ISLAND

Again, these have to align with the tone of your brand but having a range of different verbs will entice the reader into clicking through. It will also set you apart from your competitors.


Call to actions are an area of email which often get overlooked. CTAs are not just the functional button at the end of your offer. They are an exciting opportunity for creativity. They determine that final decision to click or not. By pulling the reader in rather than pushing them to act, your CTAs will have a higher success rate.

CTAs should entice, tempt and invite, not push, make, or force.

About the author

Hannah Vaughan

With a background in book printing and manufacturing alongside running her own independent publishing house in her spare time, Hannah is adept at creating strong narratives to tell powerful stories – a skill she brings with her to the campaigns she works on for our clients.