The importance of effective call-to-actions

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Call-to-actions are an essential part of any email, and getting them to grab the readers attention to achieve those all important click-throughs is paramount. So what makes an effective call-to-action?


Making your call-to-action catch the reader’s eye is key, hence why you will often see orange buttons as a result. As a rule of thumb, your call-to-actions should be in a contrasting colour to the rest of your email. However, if this isn’t possible, then you will need to give extra consideration to the placement of your buttons.


It’s unlikely your subscribers will read the entire email, in fact, you may only have a few seconds to grab their attention. Therefore, make sure you keep your call-to-actions above the fold so that your subscribers don’t have to scroll. If they can’t easily see how to respond, they won’t know what to click.


There is almost no reason why the words ‘click here’ should exist on a call-to-action. Instead, use the text to describe the benefits – ‘Download your FREE Guide’ or ‘Save 20% NOW’. Make sure it’s clear to the recipient what the call-to-action does. The use of icons alongside the text that are descriptive can also help to tell the subscriber what is the other side of the click.

Draw attention to them

There are some simple techniques to draw more attention to call-to-action buttons. This might be an arrow pointing to it, or if you have pictures of people in your hero image get them looking in the direction of the button.

Mobile friendly

When viewing your email on a phone, it’s important to remember that the pointing device is big fingers. Your call-to-actions need to be bigger on a mobile screen as a result.


One of the best ways to identify the most effective call-to-actions for your audience is to conduct a split test, comparing two different theories against each other to see which works best. Perhaps this may be the placement of your call-to-action or the text used to entice the recipient to click-through.

About Rupert Adam

Marketing Manager at Emailcenter, the UK's largest independent ESP.


Design & Content