Pretty much all marketers and email designers will be confronted with the term “call-to-action” on a daily basis. You can have the world’s most dazzling email design, but without a clear and powerful call-to-action (CTA) it will never reach its full potential. The main purpose of a CTA is to summarize the main message of your email into one specific action which you wish to communicate to your customer (e.g. buy, subscribe, donate) in order to achieve your desired result.
Why should I include call-to-action buttons in my design?
- Clarity: As a general rule of thumb, marketers tend to be good communicators; however, as nice as it would be, it is not always possible to communicate a message to thousands of readers and have them all interpret it in the same way. A CTA button adds an element of clarity to your email’s main text, as it summarizes everything you want to communicate into just a few words. This is perfect for skim readers, avoiding misunderstandings/misinterpretations, and generally just to ensure that your audience has understood the message you wanted to share with them.
- Simplicity: More often than not, you will want to include a link in your email. This could be a link to your website, your online shop, a mailto link, or any other kind of link. It’s no good including links in places where customers won’t be able to notice them (e.g. in the foooter, or swamped in the middle of some text.) CTA buttons provide you with the perfect opportunity to insert links which will be noticed by your customers and clicked on. The easier it is to find links in your email design, the more successful the outcome will be.
- Aesthetic: CTAs also play a big part in the appearance of your design. As mentioned earlier, including links in your email is usually a necessity. A big and brilliant button is a great, eye-catching addition to any email design. CTAs give you the chance to go one step further when creating an email template, as you can experiment with color, font and shapes for a standout design.
CTA Best Practice
So you’ve read all about the importance of a good call-to-action, and in this next step, we are going to share with you some of our top tips for creating effective CTA buttons which won’t be missed by your readers. Here are the most important characteristics of a powerful CTA…
It’s important to try and keep the text in your CTA as snappy and concise as possible. The whole idea is to briefly summarize your message into a few words which will catch the reader’s eye. Generally, we wouldn’t recommend using more than 3-4 words in a button, depending on font size, as too much text looks untidy and quickly stops your message from being communicated clearly. In the example below, you will see the difference between a concise CTA and a CTA with too much text.
This example is not concise enough and takes away from the effect of the button by cramming in too much text.
This is a much better example, as it manages to convey the message in half the amount of words, creating a much more direct and powerful effect.
When thinking about the wording of your button, remember to be direct but not intimidating. Phrases like “buy now” or “sign up” are vague and can even come across as spam-like, meaning a lot of customers are likely to respond negatively to such a command. Try to be direct but also transparent; if you want them to sign up to something, say what it is (e.g. sign up to our free newsletter.) Your customers will appreciate the clarity and it will result in a lot less confusion and more clickthroughs. Tip writing in the first person is a great way of making readers feel more reassured. Try out CTAs such as: “Get my free trial today”, “Get my tickets”, “Show me more deals.” This type of language is effective, as it brings the CTA to more of a friendly level and at the same time, makes readers completely aware of what they can expect after they click the button.
For an effective CTA, the right font is everything. If your customer can’t read your text, the whole point of the CTA is missed. We have three golden rules when it comes to fonts:
1. Choose a font size which is big enough to read, but not too big that it’s overpowering. We tend to stick between 30 and 50, depending on the amount of words involved.
2. Your font must be clear and legible. As a general rule, you should aim to stay away from calligraphy or alternative style fonts. Although they look great as a unique headline, they are often hard to read and don’t allow your reader to easily see your message.
3. Where possible, try to use a bolder font. As previously mentioned, if the font doesn’t stand out, your message will go unnoticed. Mail Designer has over 700 fonts which you can explore for effective CTAs. We personally think Coda Caption is a great choice for standout buttons.
Shape and size
The shape of your CTA is important, as this can have an effect on how your message is interpreted. For example, people often associate a triangle shape with a warning. If you are looking to create a rectangular button, don’t be afraid to play around with Mail Designer 365’s rounded corners tool. Sharp 90 degree corners give off a slick and cool vibe; ideal for fashion or business. Rounded corners create more of a friendly and welcoming feel – great for a restaurant or a children’s clothing store, for example. To add even more effects, you can get creative with Mail Designer 365’s borders and shadows to create the perfect shaped button for your design. Adding shadow to your button gives it more depth and lifts it from the rest of the design. Experimenting with border styles such as the cut-out style gives the effect of a coupon – perfect for a quirky discount code.
When reading your email, it is arguably the color scheme which has the most subliminal effect upon your customer. Red represents danger or urgency, whereas blue symbolises calm and peace. Black is fashionable and edgy, and yellow is happy and warm. The color of your CTA button is very important. When you choose the color for your button, make sure that it is vibrant in relation to the rest of your design and stands out to readers. For example, if your design has a plain blackground such as white or pastel, choose a warm and bright colour to make it pop. If your background is a dark color such as black or grey, a bright white button with colored text could be the perfect way to create an eye-catching contrast in your design.
As mentioned in one of our earlier points, CTAs will 99% of the time be linked to a specific web page. Although it may seem obvious, it is crucial that the link you use is correct, relevant to the text in your button and also functioning properly! If customers click on a link which doesn’t work, they will probably not spend their time searching for the correct link, which means you have lost a potential sale/sign up from something super straightforward! To avoid these mishaps, make sure to check and double check ALL links before sending out your emails to customers.
Last but not least, the location of your CTA is also very important and worth considering. Although the main point of your call-to-action button is to capture attention, if it is positioned ineffectively, the effect may not be what you intended. Firstly, it is of course crucial to make sure your CTA is in a clear and noticeable position, but there are also some more points to consider when designing your layout. Here are some examples of bad button positioning:
If your CTA precedes the main information of your email, your reader is not likely to want to click on it until after reading what your message is all about, as the intention of the button is unclear to them. If finding out more information involves a lot of scrolling, the chances are, they won’t scroll back up again to find your button.
Similarly, if your CTA follows too far after the relevant text, it will stop being clear what the button is related to, and any vagueness in CTAs should be avoided where possible as it can result in lost interest. In this example, the CTA is located after another section of text which is not relevant to the button at all.
We always recommend inserting your CTA directly after the relevant text so that your message is clear in the reader’s mind and there is no time-gap to allow them to get distracted or delay action.
We hope you give these top tips for creating effective and clickable CTA buttons a try in your next email design. Creating call-to-actions using Mail Designer 365 is easier than ever. Choose a shape from the side menu, overlay with your chosen text, and then add the link to your website, online shop, etc to the button. From there on, you can customize to your heart’s content. Tip: Mail Designer 365 also offers pre-made CTAs. Simply go to the “Contents” menu in the app sidebar and select the “Shapes” tab, where you will find a selection of buttons to choose from. Great for ultra-speedy designing.
- Keep the text of your CTA concise and engaging. It should communicate your message in just a few, well-thought-out words.
- Bear in mind that our chosen font must be clear, legible, and eye-catching in order to be effective.
- When choosing a color, be sure to choose one which stands out from the rest of your design so your CTA button is noticeable.
- Make sure your CTA links through to the correct webpage, and always remember to test all buttons before sending.
Until next time,
Your Mail Designer 365 Team