One of the most important metric driving the success of your email marketing or newsletter campaign is click-through rate. It doesn’t take a great deal of intimate understanding to know that if you can’t convince subscribers or readers to click from your email to your website or landing page, you can’t monetize them. Since, in almost all cases, the end goal of your email marketing campaign will be increased revenue either through transactions or page impressions, driving traffic from the email to the webpage or landing page is absolutely essential. The use of links in email is the primary driver of traffic funneling from your email to your webpage.
Content and Calls to Action Matter!
We don’t want you to read this section and think that links in email are the only thing that matters in terms of driving traffic from an email to a landing page. If that were the case, there wouldn’t be any reason to send an email that included anything but links! The quality of your copy and its ability to excite and incentivize users to click certainly matters. So do the offers that you may promote in an email marketing piece. Finally, writing and using good calls-to-action both around and in the content of your links can make a significant difference between an average click-through rate and an outstanding click-through rate Email1and1 . All of the elements of your email template design and content work combine to improve your click-through rate. However, there are some tried and true elements to keep in mind!
Images and Links in Email
We discussed this previously when discussing the best practices for embedding images in email , but as a general rule you do not want to use images as a way to indicate to readers that they should click something. Graphic buttons that say “buy now” or “click here” work great on web pages. However, since many email service providers do not automatically load images when an email loads, your readers may never see the “click here” or “buy now” or “join now” or “sign-up” button and may actually not know where to click. Make all of the images in your email links just in case they don’t load and users click them. Also, and more importantly, make sure that your main links in email are always text links. If you must use an image link (for example, if your design department insists on it), be sure to have a text link directly beneath it.
Formatting Links in Email
It’s incredibly important that your links in email both stand out from the text around them as well as appear in a way that users immediately recognize as links. The most “fool-proof” way to accomplish this is to use a traditional link-style. That, of course, means using a blue, underlined font. It’s also a great idea if all of your links are bolded. If you can’t use a blue underlined font, it’s strongly suggested that you, at a minimum, use an underlined font. Web users are trained to understand that “underline means link” even if the color is not blue. Bolding your links will help them stand out.
If your design standards don’t underline or bold links, it’s strongly suggested that you make an exception within your links in email. Again, even more-so than on a web page, the funneling of users from your email to a website or landing page where you can monetize them is the ultimate key to success.
Finally, if your web style guide involves denoting links by changing their color or style when a user passes his or her mouse over the links, do not replicate that in your email. CSS use in an email template, which would be required to create that effect, can breakdown in various email service providers. Additionally, you’re then relying on users and readers to actively mouse over your email text in order to find links. You want the links to “pop” and be obvious immediately when a user scans your email so that he or she can transition from the email to the web page as quickly as possible.
What to Say in Your Links in Email
Your links in email should be your email call-to-action. Don’t make links in email single words, and certainly don’t make them too long. Nothing is harder on the eyes than three lines of bolded, underlined link text! In short, the best links are ones that tell users what they will be doing when they click them. “Buy Now.” “Click Here.” “Join for Free.” A strong, brief, clear call to action is the best text for your link!