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Calls to Action That Work: Three Examples From Emails

by Jason Lorentz  |  
June 11, 2012

What makes someone click the call to action (CTA) in your email? Maybe it's the time of day, their mood, weather. Maybe their finger twitched and hit the mouse.

Whatever the weather or time of day, you can boost the chances of getting your CTA getting clicked.

As I mentioned in my post, “Get More Clicks on Your Email’s Call to Action: Advice From the Frontlines at MarketingProfs,” you need to make it easy and obvious for readers to know where to click and what they will get.

Let’s check out three examples of emails that got it right.

Example #1

The above example is about as close to a perfect email as I’ve seen (based on both personal preference and proven performance). Let’s dig a little deeper...

Subject Line

  • Falls under the "50 characters or fewer" rule

  • Tells you exactly what you are getting

  • Mirrors the opening of the email content, keeping it fresh in your mind


  • Short, concise, and neatly organized

  • Small image to the right reinforces the download

  • Offers three CTAs to grab your attention wherever you look

CTA#1 (This CTA pulled 50% of the clicks.)

  • Falls right below what you were just reading

  • Contrasting color

  • Is bolded, so it stands out

  • Explains exactly what will happen when you click

  • Arguably the most important CTA and location

CTA#2 (This CTA pulled 41% of the clicks.)

  • Image-based for folks who just skim and prefer pictures

  • Proportionate to the copy of the email

  • Catches your eye (if you have images enabled) with a positive thumbs-up symbol

  • Lets you know exactly what will happen upon clicking

  • Reiterates the subject line with another reminder of why you opened the email in the first place

  • Very important CTA (The email client settings, however, can cause you to miss some clicks.)

CTA#3 (This CTA pulled 8% of the clicks.)

  • Smaller than the recommended 12-pt font but still works

  • The word complimentary at the top of the email keeps folks reading

  • A third location for your CTA

  • Not as effective as examples #1 and #2, but adds another entry point for clicks

All in all, this email is an ideal example of how to present your offer---and reap the rewards.

Below are two more good examples of solid email design, which produce clicks.

Example #2

Promoting a how-to guide, the above example demonstrates a lot of the qualities I mentioned previously. Image CTAs are complemented by text CTAs. Recipients have several options of where to click. Again, this example is to the point, uses short descriptors, and tells you exactly what you are getting. Well done!

Example #3

Example #3 uses the multiple CTA approach differently. Its three CTAs for each advertiser allow multiple opportunities for a click. Other excellent features are the use of a topic heading and divider lines showing separation and uniqueness. And each offer has a short, concise title with a brief description. You can easily determine what you are getting and how to download it.  This email is organized, to the point, and easily navigated.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these examples, and I look forward to my next post---examples of not-so-perfect CTAs.

(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Young Couple)

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Jason Lorentz is the Sales Solutions Manager of MarketingProfs, which means he handles all the behind-the-scenes action for the sales staff and their clients. He lives with his wife and their 4-year-old son in Delaware.

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  • by Anthony Tue Jun 12, 2012 via blog

    Thanks for this Jason. A lot of pointers to take away here. I'll be sure to pass this round internally as well tweeting! :)

  • by Meg Tue Jun 12, 2012 via blog

    Great reminder of how important clear CTAs are! I like the idea of having several in one email to cater for personal preferences. What ever makes it easier for the reader:)

  • by TonyD Tue Jun 12, 2012 via blog

    Very good insights. I also like the use of multiple CTA's in various locations to capture attention of different types of readers - kinetic and visual. I would be interested in reading more on the subject of: "Selecting the best information to provide that stimulates download action" (sorry, more than 50 characters). For example, in the subject of "online education", what information do prospective students want that they are willing to download.

  • by Lynn Dalsing Wed Jun 13, 2012 via blog

    Thanks for a great post and really interesting examples, Jason!

  • by Jason Lorentz Thu Jun 14, 2012 via blog

    Thank you to all, for the kind words. I'm glad you've enjoyed the post :-)

  • by iCyberSurfer Mon Jun 18, 2012 via blog

    A nice well balanced design always leads to better appearance. The layout also improves readability and entices a person to read more. Good tips. Thank you.

  • by Jason Lorentz Mon Jun 18, 2012 via blog

    Thanks for the comments :-) Best, Jason

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