Use Text Links in Your E-Mail Marketing Message

By John Arnold

Sometimes, what you want the audience for your marketing e-mails to do is click a text link to take them to a web page. Links use HTML to tell the computer what to do when someone clicks the link, so your e-mail links need to contain HTML to work in e-mail programs.

Most e-mail marketing programs and e-mail applications allow you to add a link without typing the HTML code by highlighting the text you want to turn into a link and typing the address of the web page or file you want the text to link to:

[Credit: Courtesy of Constant Contact]

Credit: Courtesy of Constant Contact

Creating links in your e-mail marketing message

Most e-mail programs and EMPs allow you to enter a URL, and the program takes care of adding the HTML behind the scenes to turn your text into a link that points to the URL you entered.

To link to a landing page on your website (HTML websites only):

  1. Open your web browser and navigate to the page where you want your link to point.

  2. Highlight all the text in your browser’s address bar (including the http part).

  3. Copy the text:

    • Windows: Right-click the selected text and choose Copy.

    • Mac: Control-click the selected text and choose Copy.

  4. 4.Paste the URL into your e-mail program’s link-creation user interface.

    • Windows: Right-click and choose Paste.

    • *Mac: Control-click and choose Paste.

To link to an e-mail address, type mailto: followed by the e-mail address you want to link to in your e-mail program’s link-creation user interface. For example:

To allow someone to add an item to an online shopping cart (HTML links only), take these steps:

  1. Open your web browser and navigate to the item you want to feature in your e-mail.

  2. Copy the link:

    • Windows: Right-click the link that adds the item to your shopping cart and then choose Copy Shortcut.

    • Mac: Control-click the link that adds the item to your shopping cart and then choose Copy Link Location.

  3. Paste the shortcut into your e-mail program’s link-creation user interface.

If the person clicking your link uses a web-based e-mail program, the link won’t allow him to use his web-based application, so spell out the e-mail address in your link so that he can type it into his preferred e-mail program.

Naming links in your e-mail marketing messages

One of the most important things about text links is choosing the appropriate words to name the link. Apply these tips as appropriate:

  • Name your links intuitively. A good rule for naming links is “what you click is what you get.” In other words, name your links to tell your audience exactly what’s going to happen when they click the link. For example:

    • If your link downloads a file include the file type in parentheses: More Info On This Product(PDF)

    • If your link takes the reader to a website where he might have to search or scroll to view information, include the directions in your link: Details on my blog (scroll to article 5)

    • If your link requires additional clicks or actions after the initial click, name your link describing the first step in the process: Read 3 steps to donating your car

    • If you’re linking to an e-mail address, include the e-mail address in the link instead of a simple “e-mail us” message for web-based users: E-mail us at

  • Name links using the text in your articles and headlines. Avoid generic link names such as Click Here; turn existing text into links into links instead:


  • Name links to give you information about the clicker. Because e-mail links are trackable back to the clicker, you can name links in ways that give you insight into the motivations of the clicker: Are your kids under 12? Read about best places to golf for younger kids instead of Read more.

  • Name links with the immediate benefits of clicking them. You’re likely to get more clicks when you give your audience good reasons to click: Shop on our website and receive an additional 10% off and free shipping.