Writing a Call to Action for Your E-Mail Marketing Campaign - dummies

Writing a Call to Action for Your E-Mail Marketing Campaign

By John Arnold

Even when your content is valuable, most consumers simply scan and delete your marketing e-mails unless you prompt them with alternatives. To get your customers and prospects to open your e-mails, each e-mail needs to include a strong call to action.

A call to action is more than giving your audience lots of links to click and including your phone number. Consumers need directions and compelling reasons for taking specific actions, especially when their actions require spending time or money. 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. The e-mail may contain a special offer as well:

[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 number of words you choose significantly affects the number of responses your call to action receives. Anyone who reads e-mail is familiar with the ubiquitous Click Here, but this generic phrase is no longer fresh and effective, even though it starts with a verb that proposes a specific task, which is the best way to start a call to action. Good action words to start with include

Add Drive Order Save
Arrange E-mail Own Schedule
Attend File Phone Scroll
Bring Forward Post Set up
Buy Go Print Share
Call Learn Read Ship
Comment Look Reply Sign up
Consider Meet Request Store
Contact Navigate Reserve View
Dial Notice Respond Visit

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. Start with one or more action words and build on that strong base:

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

    Order this hilarious item online before Friday.

Turning your action words into links is a great way to prompt your audience to click to take action. When using one or more action words as a link, select words that allow your audience to visualize the steps involved in taking your proposed action after they click.