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8 CTA secrets you need to try right now (with examples)

Your emails need a great call to action. Whether you're sending a cold email or hoping to close a deal with a warm lead, a good CTA can often be the difference between success and failure.

But how do you write a great CTA? Here are 8 cheats to make 'em pop.

What is a CTA?

A CTA is a "call to action". Essentially it's a command we give our reader to prompt them into taking an action. That action could be replying to your email, clicking a button or making a purchase.

Some examples might include "Buy now", "Hit 'reply' and get in touch" or "Click here for more info". As we'll go on to explain, you can get pretty creative with your CTAs.

Let's get into it.

1. Power words – tell your subscriber what you want them to do

This one sounds obvious, but it's remarkable how many email marketers fail at the first hurdle. Strong, clear CTAs are super important. Make it obvious what your reader needs to do next once they’re interested. Use words like “Buy”, “Order”, “Subscribe”, “Sign Up”, “Register”.

2. Build urgency

A basic marketing principle in getting prospects to act: build urgency. You see it everywhere – businesses asking you to “Buy Now”, “Save Today”, “Last Chance”, “Ends Tomorrow”, “1 week left”. If you want to see some real-life examples of this, just head into your promotions folder and look at all the Black Friday promotions.

3. Highlight scarcity

Exclusivity and scarcity are two more great ways to get your readers to act. Try including something that’ll give your prospects real FOMO. Some examples: “5 spots left”, “Limited stock”, “Limited availability”, “Members Only, “Subscribers Only”.


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4. Make your CTAs stand out

Make sure your CTAs don’t get lost in the body of the email. Think about the design and placement of your links. One test is to scroll quickly through your email – can you easily spot them? Does the design look good or is it off-putting? Don’t get carried away with funky fonts and garish graphics – you still want your CTA to be clear and powerful.

5. Offer value

What is your reader going to get by actioning your CTA?

You’ll know by now that your subscribers owe you absolutely nothing. Unless you can demonstrate value on a regular basis, your CTAs are never going to get off the floor. Think about what you can give your prospects (tip: most of the time it’s information in the form of free advice, news or free guides (much like this one you’re reading right now). “Learn More”, “Read Now”, “Download App for More”, “Keep Reading”, “Click here for the full story”.

6. Make your CTAs fun!

There are some fun examples out there of business that have gotten creative with their CTAs. One good example I’ve seen are ones that have been gamified. Something like: “Join the waiting list and have a chance to win”, “Sign up and spin the wheel”, “Sign up and we’ll plant a tree”.

7. One CTA, multiple opportunities

Every campaign you have should have a clear objective and that should be reflected in your CTAs. Don’t mix your message up with differing CTAs – choose one that suits your objective and give your readers multiple opportunities throughout the email to act.

8. Track your success (and failures)

This is super important for all aspects of marketing and your CTAs are no different. Make sure you test different types, track what works, track what doesn’t work, make tweaks, and repeat the formula.

9. Research

This isn’t as boring as it sounds. Just go into your promotions folder and browse the emails you’ve received. Look at their CTAs and appraise them against the criteria I’ve set out in all the previous points.

What do you like about them? What don’t you like about them? Keep a file of the ones you like for inspiration.


Caveat: Having a perfect CTA isn’t enough on its own. Check out our other content to make sure your emails are on point.


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