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9 Effective Ways to Improve Email Click-Through Rates

Written by:

Charles Camisasca

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The global email marketing market is expected to reach a value of $17.9 billion by 2027. Email marketing generates an average ROI of $42 per $1 spent, but if you’re not getting a satisfactory ROI, you might want to work on improving your click-through rates. Here are nine effective ways to improve your email click-through rates. 

1. Segment Your Email List

Segmenting your email list will allow you to better target your subscribers with more relevant content and promotions. Email segmentation refers to dividing your email list into smaller sub-lists, based on factors such as demographics, interests, signup methods, ad campaigns, and more. 

For example, if someone signed up to your email list to download a free ebook, you can’t send them the same promotions as someone who’s on your list because they purchased one of your products. 

The latter is a confirmed spender and much more likely to buy again and be receptive to upsells and upgrades. To the former, on the other hand, you might want to send emails promoting your trial membership. 

You can even segment your email list based on previous actions taken. For example, people who opened a previous email and clicked on the link inside can be put on one segment, while those who ignored the email can be put on another segment. 

How deep you can drill down while segmenting your list depends on your email service provider. Many allow you to set up automatic rules for segmenting. 

2. Write a Click-Worthy Subject Line

A click-worthy subject line is one that not only increases open rates but also intrigues people and makes them more likely to click on the link in the email. 

Increasing open rates will, by extension, lead to more click-throughs. However, you can also write your subject line to increase click-through rates. Use your subject line to create FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. 

FOMO can be one of your most effective tools in your email marketing campaign, as nobody wants to lose out on an amazing, time-limited offer that others are taking advantage of. 

Another way to increase your click-through rate is by using your subject line to create a sense of mystery and intrigue. Make people curious enough about what you’re offering to click on your link to find out. 

3. Offer Real Value

Offer real value in your emails! If you keep sending promotions and push products instead of offering value, people won’t end up clicking on your links. Offering real value consistently is a strategy that will increase your overall click-through rate in the long run. 

How can you offer your email subscribers real value? It starts by understanding their needs and what they want. What did they sign up for in the first place? 

Different types of emails that offer value can include: 

  • Email newsletters with helpful tips and information
  • White papers, case studies, and interesting statistics
  • Curated content from your and others’ blogs
  • Special discounts and promotions just for your email list
  • Free stuff (ebooks, tutorials, courses)

That doesn’t mean you can’t send purely promotional emails too. However, you’re much more likely to get better responses to those emails if you focus on offering better value overall and building stronger relationships with your subscribers. You can also promote products in your newsletters and other value-rich emails. 

4. Avoid Writing Long Emails

The average time people spend reading brand emails has been going down over the past few years. In 2021, it was 10 seconds per brand email, down from 13.4 seconds in 2018.

There may be a few reasons for that. Perhaps people are developing lower attention spans due to increased internet and social media usage. Perhaps people are signing up for more lists, so their inboxes are getting bombarded with too many brand emails. 

The reason it’s happening doesn’t matter as much as the fact that it’s happening. If you make your email too long, people will end up exiting the email and moving on to the next before they can see your call-to-action. 

The more concise your email is, the better. You can experiment with different lengths until you find the one that works best for you. One way to shorten your newsletters is to insert excerpts of blog posts with “Read More” links instead of putting the entire blog post in the email. 

Pro-tip: Add a call-to-action above the fold, at the beginning of your email, in addition to the one at the end of your email. That can increase your click-through rate, even if your email is a little long. 

5. Be Mindful of Text-to-Image Ratios

There are different text-to-image ratios popular in the industry. Some people suggest a 60:40 text-to-image ratio. Mailchimp recommends an 80:20 ratio. Anywhere between 60-80% text should be good; you don’t have to follow the exact ratio precisely in every email. 

Images are critical if you want to increase engagement and get people to spend more time on your email. However, having image-heavy emails isn’t a good idea, so don’t overdo it. 

Many email clients don’t load images, especially on slow connections. Subscribers may also opt to manually block images. Furthermore, if your email is mostly made of pictures, it has a higher chance of getting flagged by spam filters. 

Besides, emails that contain only or mostly images will take longer to load. People with slower connections may just delete them instead of waiting for them to load properly. 

Use images to break up the text in your emails. Include alt text in your images, so people who have images blocked can still get an idea of what the image is about. Any information about special discounts and sales should not be included solely in images. 

6. Give a Sense of Urgency

I already talked about using your headline to create FOMO. Even if your subject line doesn’t generate FOMO, your email body can. 

One way to create fear of missing out is to give a sense of urgency. When offering a freebie or special discount, make it limited in some way. 

Having the sale expire at a set point of time is not the only way to create scarcity and urgency. If you’re giving out a free ebook, for example, you can make only 100 downloads available. You can make a promo code valid only for 75 uses, which will cause people to hurry and use it quickly. 

7. Include a Call to Action

You’d be surprised at how many marketers send out emails without any call-to-action. Including a CTA of some sort in every email you send out will increase your click-through rate. If you want people to click on a link, tell them to!

The CTA doesn’t have to push a product each time. For example, in your newsletter emails, you can have CTAs encouraging people to share your newsletter with a friend, like your page on Facebook, or visit your blog. 

8. Optimize for Mobile

Did you know that 60% of email opens are on mobile? Optimizing your emails – and your CTAs – for mobile will help you get more conversions. 

To optimize your email for mobile, use a responsive template or theme. Most email service providers offer various mobile-optimized templates that adapt to different screen sizes on phones and tablets. 

Services like Mailgun offer responsive email testing, so you can ensure your emails show up well on different devices and that buttons and links work properly. Of course, you can always send a test email to yourself and read it on your mobile device. However, just because the email was fine on your phone doesn’t mean it will work on smaller or larger phones. 

Also, ensure the landing page you’re linking to is optimized for mobile. 

9. Test and Make Adjustments

Finally, the best way to ensure you keep improving your email click-through rates is by continually testing different strategies and monitoring your success. Email service providers will typically give you analytics showing your open and click rates. 

A/B split testing can be a useful way to compare different tactics, designs, and CTAs. It involves sending the same email to different segments of your list, with slight variations in wording, media, text-to-image ratios, and even the promo being offered. By comparing your results, you can figure out which of the two is more effective. 

For split testing to work properly, though, the two segments must share similar demographics, interests, and so on. If you have already segmented your list based on different audience characteristics, you can’t be sure that the different response rate coming from the different segments is solely due to the variation you’re testing. 

You should also only test one variation at a time. For example, don’t test two different subject lines and CTAs at the same time, or it will be hard to tell which caused one of the two emails to get a higher CTR. 

Final Thoughts

Even in the age of social media, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to develop long-term relationships with customers and slowly convert leads into sales over the long run. If you’re not getting the clicks you deserve, try out the above nine strategies to optimize your emails. 
In addition to email marketing, it’s important to have a strong SEO and citation building strategy. Never rely on your email list alone to drive traffic.

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