Email Marketing: How to Improve Your CTR

What better way to view your target audience engagement than one of the most crucial email marketing metrics, email click-through rate (CTR)?

Here’s one way of looking at it: if the email open rate indicates how many people might give attention to your message, the email CTR shows how many are likely to take the desired action by “clicking through” to get to the next step.

If you were under the impression that the the average email click-through rate for successful businesses is anywhere around a humble 10-15%, think again: in 2014, the average CTR for most businesses was just 3.5%, according to a Mailigen survey. However, these rates do vary from industry to industry; a benchmark study conducted the same year showed that the education, nonprofit and consumer services sector experienced a CTR of over 4%.

What constitutes a good CTR percentage and what should you do to improve it? Read on to learn more.

What Click-through Rate is and Understanding it’s Importance

At its core, CTR is the actual number or ratio of clicks you get on your links during your email marketing drive.

A really good CTR percentage can be decided by a number of factors such as your subject line, a relevant and engaging copy and a strategically placed call-to-action. In addition, other elements like the time of day, link emphasis and positioning as well as email length play a pivotal role in increasing your CTR.

Why do you need to give extra attention and importance to your email click-through rate? A 2015 DMA National Client Email Report cited CTR as a top performance indicator which can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of your email campaign.

Simply put, higher CTR rates mean your email campaign is nicely fulfilling it purpose. However, don’t let a low CTR discourage you – all you need to do is adjust a few parameters to see that percentage go up. As mentioned, the average CTR can very between industries as well the type of email that’s being sent out; generally speaking, B2C newsletters sport a lower CTR (2-3%) compared to B2B newsletters (5% on average). And, transactional emails tend to have a higher CTR than the non-transactional ones, 9.2% versus 3.2%. – source and credit

If your CTR continues to stay below average, you need to get to work by optimizing your emails. After all, you need to give people a mighty good reason to open your email and click through to the desired action.

Knowing the Difference between Email Open Rate and Click-through Rate

As of late 2015, email marketers around the world were sending about 196 million emails each day, out of which just 20% were being opened.

Even today, you may have to defy serious odds to overwhelm the competition. Two important metrics you need to understand when gauging the success of your email marketing drive is email open rate and click-through rate.

Email open rate, as the term implies, is the ratio of users who have simply clicked to open your email. This number does not indicate how many actually read through your copy. The best way to measure the open rate is by dividing the total number of emails with the total emails sent. If this number is much lower than anticipated, then you may want to revise your subject line and fine-tune the content a bit, so as to make it more compelling to read.

As we have already discussed, CTR refers to the number of people who “click through” to the desired call-to-action, in order to get to the next step in the purchase funnel. The success factors involved in CTR is something you need to put laser-like focus on, something we’ll be discussing in detail in just a moment.

CTR: Common Elements to Focus on

Here are 7 of the most common elements that determine your email marketing click-through rate:

1. Consistent with the Brand 

Your emails need to look consistent with your brand name and website. Add your logo right on top of the email. Always strive for consistency between your emails and business brand.

2. A Focused Layout 

Your readers will only be compelled to go through your email if the copy is well presented. A well planned email layout naturally helps the reader navigate towards the call-to-action.  Campaign Monitor redesigned their blog email and saw a 127% increase in email CTR.

MailChimp has an email design reference guide which recommends that you use a single-column layout if you want your audience to easily perform the desired action. In contrast, multi-column emails are better suited for content-rich copy such as product emails discussing features at length.

3. The Right Images Combined with Alt Text and Links

Even though marketing email work just fine without images, it still pays to know what images to use which can add that extra spark to your message.

An important fact to consider is that most email clients turn off images, so you need to add the relevant alt texts; this text is displayed even if your image isn’t. Pretty much all email marketing services allow for easily populating this field with the relevant images. Also consider adding links to images – they are easier to see and click on when using a mobile device.

A Vero analysis of more than 5000 email campaigns revealed that emails with images had a 42% higher CTR. Additionally, a HubSpot survey cited 65% participants as preferring emails with images versus 35% who didn’t.

4. Button Images for CTAs

As strange as it may sound, a button layout in an email can make it significantly more clickable. Clicking on a CTA button rather than just a link is a natural instinct that’s often compared to physically pulling a handle or twisting a door knob. Having this kind of physical objectivity in your emails can better influence people to click through the CTA.

It should also be noted that if you wish to add secondary CTAs, using text links works best. Also make sure they are reasonably long – linking phrases with anywhere between seven and ten words are ideal for boosting CTRs.

5. CTA Positioned Ideally on the Right

Avoid having your CTAs to the left of the email copy as it not only looks odd but makes for inconvenient navigation. The Gutenberg pattern dictates that you place all your CTAs to the right as it looks completely natural – we always read from left to right and it’s important for readers to soak in the right information before naturally gliding their cursor over the CTA. This is one reason why the scroll bar is always on the right as well.

6. Seamless Integration with Mobile

Fact: you need to make your emails highly responsive to get the best CTRs, because you’ll be retaining your readers’ attention much longer.

According to Litmus, email open rate on mobile saw a 500% increase between 2011 and 2014.

Did you know that 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices? A Campaign Monitor study revealed that email opens and click-throughs on mobile devices increased by 30% between 2010 and 2015. – Source

7. Social Sharing Options

Email social media buttons contribute to a significantly higher CTR, as evidenced by this GetResponse infographic; emails with social sharing buttons actually see a 158% higher CTR.

The rise in CTR is largely due to the clicks made through social media links and buttons as your email may have reached certain prospects through social sharing.

8 Strategies to Successfully Boost Your CTR

Here’s what you should do to see your CTR soaring in 8 simple steps:

1. A Catchy Subject Line

One of the best ways to see your CTR soaring is to grab your reader’s attention with a catchy subject line. Make the offer compelling in your subject line and A/B test a few subject lines beforehand.

2. Email Copy: The Short and Sweet Rule

There’s no need to narrate a mini-story about how great your brand is. Keep your email copy short and sweet, so that readers immediately see the value to be had rather than reading a yawn-worthy story before even getting to the main offer.

3. Distraction-free Emails

There’s no room for distractions when creating the perfect email copy. Try not to include a really big and distracting header that forces people to navigate to your website rather than the CTA in the email body. You should also avoid making multiple offers in a single email, just hoping that your readers will click on at least one of them.

Think carefully about the objective you want to meet. Think about only one thing that you really want your readers to do for now. For example, if your email copy is laid out to attract more Twitter users, then the entire copy and CTA should strategically revolve around just that. Under any circumstances, readers should not be distracted by your landing pages, blog posts or any other area of the site that isn’t relevant to the main offer.

4. Social Sharing Options: A Must in This Day and Age

Even though some readers will inevitably not want to take advantage of your offer, they may very well know someone who might. That’s exactly what you should do: include social sharing buttons in your email and seeing your CTR soar high.

An Econsultancy survey revealed that emails which had at least one social sharing option saw a 30% higher CTR. The same CTR saw an impressive 55% increase when three or more social sharing buttons were included in the email copy.

5. Content that’s 100% Relevant to Your Audience

It is absolutely vital that you understand the importance of segmenting your email list. Understand your readers and where they’re coming from, and tailor the content according to their wants and desires. If the offer really speaks to them, you can expect plenty of clicks to come.

6. Personalization Always Pays Off

To better segment your list, include certain elements which will help you better nurture leads. For example, be aware of your customers’ and prospects’ purchase as well as download history, website activity, overall satisfaction levels etc. This helps you better target your emails, and since the subject matter is highly personalized, it is something that people would really want to click through.

7. Create an “Urgent” Need

Ever thought about imposing certain limits in your offer? Well, you should because this puts readers in a frame of mind that they need to act fast in order to take full advantage of the offer. Create a sense of urgency by letting them know that the offer expires in X number of days, and that early birds can even get a discount if they place an order within the next 2-3 days, just to give you a quick example.

8. Mobile Optimization is Key

If your emails aren’t mobile optimized, you are essentially missing out on bagging a large number of prospects. Research has shows that 70 million US consumers prefer checking their email on mobile devices; in fact, 43% check their email on the go at least four or more times a day. The time to optimize your emails for mobile is now, unless you want to choke on the dust left behind by your competitors.

AOK Marketing Has Your CTR Covered

The steps highlighted here are merely a beginner’s guide to better understanding email click-through rate and what must be taken into account to effectively boost it.

However, only a seasoned digital marketing agency can truly understand and cater to your audiences’ needs. If you want to see your CTR soaring well above 5% while making steady gains, you should get in touch with one of our esteemed digital marketers by calling 1.888.566.2577 for a completely FREE consultation.