Email marketing is the perfect tool to grow your website traffic or boost your Web shop's conversion rates. But to do so, recipients first have to click the hyperlinks you included in your email.

So here are five tips to help you increase your email's click-through rates.

1. Ensure your emails are opened

Admittedly, this sounds obvious, but it isn't as easy as it seems. Just because your email is delivered to your recipient's inbox doesn't mean the recipient will open your email. There are many ways to increase the open rates of your emails. Here are the most important ones:

  • Increasing your open rates starts with gathering relevant opt-ins. What is someone signing up for? Make it obvious from the start. What kind of information can he expect? How many times will he receive your emails? You might scare off some opt-ins this way, but that's no loss. You'd rather have one opt-in who reads your newsletter, than 10 who discard it without even opening it.
  • Identify yourself: Make it perfectly clear for the recipient who the sender is. Use your name, your company name or both.
  • Write an appealing subject line: A well-written subject line invites the recipient to open the mail. Be sure to stick to a maximum of 50 characters (20 if you have a lot of mobile readers) to prevent it from being cut off in most email clients.
  • Compose a strong snippet or pre-header: This is the first text that's displayed underneath or next to the subject line. Often the snippet contains text like "Unable to read this mail? Open the web version." You can do better.

2. Stick to one clear call to action

"Create an account now!" "Buy product X!" Having multiple calls to action (CTAs) only makes it confusing for your recipients. Determine what the main goal of your email is, and make sure your call to action serves that goal, and that goal only.

Also, a CTA should make clear for the reader…

  • What is expected of him
  • Where the CTA will take him
  • Why he has to go there

The best CTAs answer those three questions, using as few words as possible:

  • Contact us.
  • Apply now.
  • Sign up now.
  • Create an account.

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image of Michael Linthorst

Michael Linthorst is an Internet entrepreneur and CEO of Copernica Marketing Software. He also blogs on email marketing and e-commerce, among other subjects.

LinkedIn: Michael Linthorst