A couple of weeks back I published an article on how to improve your email open rates. It’s an important topic considering that email marketing is one of the best (and the cheapest) tools businesses have for marketing to their customers. Low email open rates are something that weighs heavily on the mind of every online marketer. However, improving email open rates is just a step in the right direction – a crucial step but a step after which many others have to follow.
In today’s article, we will explore what you need to do after you get your customers to click on that subject line. Opening the email is step one but getting them to interact with it, getting them to complete the action you want them to complete, is also vitally important. That is why I’ll be focusing on the question of how to grow your email click-through rate and getting people to do exactly what you want them to do after reading your email.
Here’s a list of six simple hacks I regularly use to drive people to my offers (whatever they might be) and to ultimately increase my conversion rates.
Know Your Audience…and Cater to Them
The first step in increasing your CTR is a basic one – working to keep a close-knit relationship with your subscribers by offering valuable and pertinent content at every single turn. To do this, you need to remember why people signed up and what they expect of you – if you start bombarding people with unrelated content and offers they’ll quickly cut the cord.
When your offer correlates to their needs and the reason why they’ve signed up in the first place, you start laying the foundation upon which you can continue building in order to increase your click through rates.
Make sure you’re always truthful in your emails – lying will boost your CToR and CTR but only the first time. After that, you will see both spiraling down because you’ve lost people’s trust –and that’s not something you can easily get back. In other words, reach out when you have something to say and offer, not simply because you happen to have a huge list of email addresses you want to play around with.
Use Single-Column Formatting
Multiple-column formatting is the thing of the past. It was primarily used to cram as much information as possible into email newsletters, giving little regard to what was actually read by recipients.
Smart marketers know that readers tend to scan information in an F pattern. Research has proven long ago that we're all basically skimmers; no one has the time to start at the beginning. We all first scan an email/article/post - if it passes the spot check then we might consider reading the whole thing. Skimming multiple column email is difficult and that immediately puts people off.
Source: Campaign Monitor
Organizing your email into a simple single-column message makes it easy to read and to scan. You’re not pressuring people to wade through tons of information in order to get to the interesting part. You’re offering your most important message straight off the bat. CampaignMonitor used this one simple hack to get a 127% increase in their email click through rates! Not bad considering that they only condensed the info and made the call to action more prominent by buttoning it up and making it extremely visible.
Which brings us to my next hack…
Tell Your Audience What You Want Them to Do!
Don’t assume things. Just because the purpose of the email is clear to you, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be clear to everyone. People are lazy and if you give them options they will most likely do nothing. One Call to Action is all you need per email because you want people focused on that one thing you need them to do – read more, learn more, get in on a free trial, whatever! The guys from Marketing Sherpa managed to increase Whirpool’s CTR by 42% simply by cutting out excess (and confusing!) calls to action in their emails!
However, one CTA per email doesn’t mean you can’t play with it and offer it up multiple times. My advice is to stick with one button CTA but to add in-text links and play with verbiage that might influence different kinds of people on your lists. If you do decide to add an in-text link, make it long. This MailChimp report has some conclusive evidence that linking to a longer phrase works better!
A Bit More on Call to Action Button and Copy
If you really want people to click on something, turn it into a button. It’s simple – human beings can’t resist doing the things that come most naturally to them. In the case of a button, it’s clicking on it. It’s called affordance and it’s a possibility of an action on an object or environment – at least, that’s how Wikipedia defines it. To me, a button simply screams ‘PUSH ME’!
Style and color of your CTA is also important. Red and green buttons usually perform better but, of course, that’s going to depend on your background color, your company colors, audience expectations, and more. However, there are a lot of tiny tricks that can make your call to action perform better so make sure to check out this article on WordStream.
Of course, it’s not all about shapes or colors – copy plays an important part here as well. You want your call to action to create a sense of urgency and scarcity. Negative reinforcement often works better so phrases like ‘Get My Free Report and Stop Leaving Money on The Table’ can work like a charm if you want to get people to download something quickly.
Your PS is as Important as Your Intro
This might come as a surprise to you but it’s something that copywriters have been using for ages now. It has to do with serial position effect – a tendency that people have to recall the first and the last thing best.
Use your PS to drive the point home – offer a benefit-rich, in-text call to action that people will remember and click on. You never know how many of your readers are skimmers, meaning that they simply fly through your message to see what’s at the end. This gives you a chance to market to them despite the fact that they might be clueless about what's happening in the middle of your email.
Segment Your Audience
Chances are that not everyone on your lists is interested in just about everything you have to offer, especially if you have multiple offers that you send out. One portion of your list is interested in one specific thing while the other has a completely different set of needs and wants so it requires a different offer. Sending offers to your whole list is easy – you can do it with a click of a button. It can also hurt your marketing. When people aren’t interested in your offer they perceive it as spam and that gets them one step closer to hitting that unsubscribe button.
MailChimp researched just how detrimental bulk sending can be. Untargeted offers receive nearly 11% more unsubscribes than targeted ones. Also, CTR skyrockets for targeted offers – they receive close to 60% more clicks on average. If you have a large list, by all means, segment the heck out of it. Use demographics, personal data, employment data, buying cycle; everything you can get your hands on. Ultimately, it’s going to make a large and noticeable difference in your click through rates.
As you can tell, getting people to click on your offers and CTA’s can be a bit of a science. However, these simple hacks can make a lot of difference. Make sure you’re really up for it, though. A lot of the items on this list require constant tweaking and testing. Sometimes, it’s the oddest combinations that end up working for you.
If you have a couple of aces up your sleeve that helped you increase your email CTR, by all means, drop down by the comments section. I would love to hear about them and try some out!