How to Write a Call to Action for Web Marketing E-Mails - dummies

How to Write a Call to Action for Web Marketing E-Mails

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

A call to action in a web marketing e-mail is a statement that prompts your audience to complete one or more specific tasks in favor of your objectives. Even when your content is valuable, most consumers simply scan and delete your e-mails unless you prompt them with alternatives. If decreasing your deletion rate is one of your objectives, every e-mail you send needs to include a strong call to action.

Calling your audience to action isn’t as simple as including your phone number in the body of your e-mail or giving your audience lots of links to click. Consumers need directions and compelling reasons for taking specific actions, especially when their actions require spending time or money.

Anyone who reads e-mail is familiar with the stalwart phrase Click Here, but such generic phrases are not necessarily models for writing an effective call to action. An effective call to action acts like a little sign that allows your audience to visualize the steps involved to take advantage of your e-mail’s content. Contact us Today!

[Credit: Courtesy of Impressions Marketing]
Credit: Courtesy of Impressions Marketing

Words are the building blocks of a strong call to action, and the quality and the number of words that you choose significantly affect how many responses your call to action receives. The most effective way to write a call to action is to begin with one or more action words: verbs that propose a specific task to your audience.

The following list offers calls to action, paired with strong verbs that you could choose to help motivate a reader to act:

  • Read your e-mail: Read, look, consider, notice, scroll

  • Fill out a form: Contact, respond, comment, advise

  • Save your e-mail: Save, keep, store, file, move

  • Request information: Download, request, learn, e-mail, compare

  • Print your e-mail: Print, post, bring, hang

  • Visit a physical location: Drive, come, park, attend

  • Forward your e-mail: Forward, share, send, refer

  • Visit a web page: Visit, view, go, navigate

  • Make a purchase: Buy, add, purchase, own, order

  • Register for an event: Register, reserve, sign up, R.S.V.P.

  • Phone your business: Call, phone, dial

  • Make an appointment: Schedule, arrange, meet, set up

Here’s how you can build on action words to create a strong call to action. You can see the progression of the call to action as you make it stronger and stronger:

  1. Combine your action word with the subject of the action word.

    Order this item.

  2. Include the place where the action happens.

    Order this item online.

  3. Add the urgency of the action.

    Order this item online before Friday.

  4. Finish with an adjective to underscore the value that’s inherent in the action.

    Order this hilarious item online before Friday.

The combination of one or more action words along with your supplementary words makes a complete call to action. Writing an effective call to action can become more of an art than a science, but becoming a good call-to-action writer is just a matter of practice.

Turning your action words into links is a great way to prompt your audience to click to take action.