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How to use Calls to Actions Effectively in Email Marketing

5 tips to use Calls To Action (CTAs) effectively in your email marketing

Here are five tips to use Calls To Action (CTAs) effectively in your next email campaign.

1. Number of calls to action

How many calls to action should you have in one email? It might seem like more CTAs give subscribers more options, which means increased engagement with your brand. But that’s not always how it works.

If your email has too many calls to action, subscribers can get overwhelmed. Make the choice simple by providing one call to action and if you must have more than that, give your secondary CTA a different weight by making it a different color or placement.

2. Calls to action placement

Where’s the best place to put a call to action? There’s a lot of debate on this one. Some email marketing experts say your call to action should be “above the fold,” which means subscribers should see the call to action without scrolling down. Others say placing the call to action at the bottom of an email makes the most sense.

They’re both right. To figure out which one is right for your email, use common sense. If a subscriber can quickly understand the purpose of your email, placing a call to action above the fold makes sense. However, if your offer requires some explanation, put the call to action at the end of the email.

In the example below from Birchbox, the call to action is placed at the end of the email because the offer requires some explanation:

3. Call to action design

Your call to action should stand out. That means you should make a few design decisions that encourage subscribers to click. Here’s a list to consider:

Create a button

You can still include hyperlinked text in your message, but don’t use it as the sole call to action. Create a call to action button. Using a button rather than a hyperlink can increase conversion rates by as much as 28%.

Pick a unique color

Make the email call to action a color that’s not used, or rarely used, in your email so it stands out. Take a look at the email from De Beers. Notice the light blue color used for the call to action.

Size matters

Make sure the button looks right size-wise in your email. Preview your email after it’s designed to make sure the call to action fits with your overall presentation.

Use white space to your advantage

Don’t feel the need to clutter the area around your call to action, leaving white space near it draws the eye. Take a look at the white space around the “Register Now” call to action used in an email by SXSW:

4. Call to action copy

Don’t underestimate the importance of word choice in your call to action. The words in your call to action provide the necessary direction for subscribers to follow through with an action. Use these tips to get your wording right:

Use action-inducing words

You want subscribers to act fast, so make sure your word choice reflects that. Use action words like “shop,” “book,” and “order.” Tack on an urgent word to encourage instant action like “now” or “today.” Consult this great list of 80+ marketing words for more choices to use in your email marketing campaigns.

Keep it short

Your call to action should be short and to the point. Notice that most of the call to actions in our master list above are about 2-4 words long. That’s what you should aim for.

Be relatable

More and more calls to action contain “I” or “me” in the copy. You’ll notice several examples in our list like, “Yes! I want a free upgrade” or “Count me in!” Using language like this makes a call to action more relatable and encourages subscribers to click.

5. Test your CTA

A small change in your call to action can make a big difference. You might not expect higher click-through rates as a result of moving your call to action above the fold, or changing the color, but it happens all the time. That’s why testing is important.

You can test every aspect of your call to action. From placement to copy, you can test various aspects and let your audience’s response decide what’s best.

Of course, you only want to test one thing at a time or you won’t know which change makes a difference. For example, if you want to test call to action copy, one group of subscribers gets an email with “Shop Now” as the call to action copy and the other group gets an email with “Shop our Spring Collection” as the call to action copy. The test focuses on one thing: the text. Use the data to make the best choice.

Don’t Blog Unless You Use These Five Blogging Tools

Are you having a hard time coming up with ideas to blog about? I did at first and still do on occasion. Now there are all kinds of free tools to help you brainstorm about ideas and also see which topics are trending. Obviously it makes more sense for you to blog about trending topics in your niche since you want eyeballs – and lots of them – reading your blog. Don’t even think about blogging unless you use these five blogging tools.

Blogging Tool #1: Quick Sprout

To start, simply enter your URL or your competitor’s URL here. You’ll see a report that looks like this:

Quick Sprout Site Analysis Tool

When you click on the “social media tab,” you’ll see a table that shows all the pages on any given domain and sorts them by social shares. This is useful because if you want to see what blog posts are working well for your competition, just put in their URLs into the tool. The table will show you their popular posts.

By analyzing your competition with the Quick Sprout tool, you’ll gain insights into what is working for your competitors and the type of content you should be producing on your blog.

Blogging Tool #2: Buzzsumo

It isn’t easy to come up with topics to write about. Luckily, Buzzsumo helps with the task.

All you have to do is visit Buzzsumo and type in a keyword related to your industry. For this example, let’s use the phrase “content marketing.”

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo crawls the web for blog posts and indexes them all like Google. Buzzsumo then sorts the results by social shares and shows the posts with the highest share count at the top.

You will see what type of content has done well in the past. You can then come up with article ideas based on the list.

For example, one of the most shared titles was “An Internet Marketing Education in 16 Ebooks and 20 Emails. No Charge.” You could easily use this to write a blog post of your own and change the title to “Get Your MBA in Internet Marketing with these 16 Ebooks and 20 Emails.”

Blogging Tool #3: Open Site Explorer

Do you want more search traffic?

Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer is a useful tool because it sorts all the URLs within a domain by backlinks. And as you know, the more backlinks a website has, the more search traffic it will typically receive.

This helps you understand which of your blog posts are delivering the most backlinks. You should be writing more posts like those.

The tool also shows you the-most-linked-to posts on your competitors’ blogs. See what is working for them, and try to replicate that on your blog. When you do this, don’t copy your competitor. The goal is to one up them and create a better blog post. This way, you can email all the people that link to your competitor and ask them to also link to your post.

Blogging Tool #4: Emails

The best traffic source for practically any blog is email. You want to make sure you have all types of opt-ins on your blog to make it easy for people to add themselves to your mailing list.

Once you have a list, you can then email your subscribers through a service provider such as MailChimp, Aweber or Constant Contact.

As a general rule of thumb, you will want to notify your list of each blog post you release. But if you release more than three posts a week, you should consider a weekly blast to avoid flooding people’s inboxes and angering them.

Blogging Tool #5: Simply Measured

Simply Measured is a social media analytics platform and I like them because they have a handful of really cool, free social media analytics tools.

You can put in your social media handle in one of them, and the tool will tell you the best times for you to send a tweet or share a post on Facebook.

simplymeasured

Their reports will break down data such as:

  • Words and phrases your users want to see in social media posts.
  • Time of day they use these social media platforms. This way you know when to post.
  • Top users that follow you and the times when they log in.

The reason you want to use these tools is because you don’t want to tweet at 8 a.m. when all of your followers are on Twitter at 4 p.m.

Conclusions

Blogging doesn’t have to be hard. There are a ton of free blogging tools out there that can help you generate ideas and increase your readership.

Email Marketing Best Practices

Email marketing is a great way to reach your customers, clients, constituents, or prospects. But are you doing it effectively? Are your emails standing out in an already saturated inbox? Are they even making their way to an inbox? Current email marketing best practices confirm that engaging readers by asking questions, using short subject lines, and making sure your email design works on mobile devices, leads to higher open rates and keeps you and your message from being ignored.

Would you believe that more than 122 Billion emails are sent each hour, worldwide? B2B open rates are 11 to 15% and click through rates are 2.1% to 5%. Make sure your email stands out!

Top Ten Best Practices for Email Marketing

Subject Lines – General

1. Punctuation is unnecessary.

2. Use Capital Letters to Increase Engagement

Example: The Top 5 Reasons To Open This Email

Subject Lines – Details

3. Personalization increases open rates.

Users are 22% more likely to open an email when addressed by first name.

4. Keep the character count to a minimum.

Mailchimp suggests 50 characters or less.

Content Tips

5. Don’t sound like a salesman. Drop the jargon and use clear wording.

6. Focus your message to meet the promise of your subject line. Less is obviously more.

Be Creative / Call To Action

7. Our experience shows that questions spike reader interest and encourage clicks.

8. Colors are important.

Orange and red are the best colors for call to action buttons. Make sure to place buttons at the very beginning and also end of your email.

Testing

9. A/B Testing is critical to constantly improving email marketing campaign performance. Some approaches work better than others.

Be sure to conduct your tests with a sizable audience to ensure statistical significance.

Mobile

10. Responsive Design. Make sure your email looks great on phones and all devices.

 

How to Push Blog Posts to Constant Contact

Suppose you have a blog with regular posts and also a Constant Contact email marketing account. Since time is money, whenever you can save time doing a repetitive process, you are essentially saving money. In this case what you want to do is push summaries of your blog posts to a Constant Contact email template to reduce the amount of time involved in putting together a marketing email. I will show you how to do this in a few easy steps.

Step 1: Create a Google Feedburner Account

Go to http://feedburner.google.com and set up an account. If you already have a gmail account, just log in with your gmail account and follow the prompts to link the two accounts. Once you are logged in, you will see the following screen:

Enter your sites rss feed link. If we set up your site the link will be http://www.yourwebsite.com/feed

You should see the Congrats! confirmation page. Click the “Skip directly to feed management” link adjacent to the Next button at the bottom of the page.

To complete the initial set up, click the Publicize tab at the top > then choose Email Subscriptions on the left side. From the Email Subscriptions page > click the Activate button located at the bottom of the page.

Step 2: Create Your Email in Constant Contact and Push RSS Feed to Email Template

Go to your Constant Contact account and log in. Find your email template. If you have one you like and use regularly, you can just copy the most recent campaign. Select the area where you want to insert blog content.
Click Blog Content in the left sidebar and enter the RSS feed url from Feedburner.

Then select the blog posts that you want to push from your website to your email campaign. You will see a list of all the blog posts on your website. You can pick and choose whichever posts you want to use.

Then you just need to determine how much content you want in the email. Do you want to use a summary and redirect traffic back to your website? Or would you prefer to give your audience the entire blog in the email. It’s up to you.

When you click submit, the blog posts will appear in your email within Constant Contact. You can then make additional design and content edits. If you don’t like the summary, you can even edit the summary.

The Eight Critical Steps to Internet Marketing Success

Marketing is the process of connecting people and products. With proper implementation, technology enables connections. We are the midst of a marketing paradigm-shift. There are new marketing tools that allow for low-cost direct connections between organizations and their constituents.

The challenge is knowing how, why, and when to utilize these new marketing tools.

The Eight Critical Steps to Internet Marketing Success Are:

  1. Marketing Plan
  2. Target Audience
  3. Message
  4. Medium
  5. Website
  6. Press Releases
  7. Email Marketing
  8. Social Media Sites

Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is essential because it will allow you to think about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats ahead of time. The marketing plan will help you:

  • identify and set goals;
  • determine your budget;
  • target specific audiences;
  • create and prioritize messaging;
  • identify the most efficient and effective distribution medium; and
  • create a time line for implementation.

Target Audience

Identifying a target audience is critical. Internet marketing is particularly well-suited for a highly segmented target audience. If you want to take advantage of this opportunity, however, you need to know the socio-demographic characteristics of your audience.

Message

What is the most important thing you want to say? What is the most concise and attention-grabbing method of saying it? That is your message.

Medium

What is the best way of distributing the message? There might be several different ideal mediums – website, email marketing, press releases, pay per click advertising through Google AdWords, for example.

Website

There is no excuse for not having a website. Any organization that wants to interact with customers online must have an online presence. Generally, less is more. Websites are no longer repositories for data. Audiences expect better and will judge you based on the quality and presentation of your site. A site that looks like a dollar store in a seedy neighborhood should not be trying to communicate with an audience that doesn’t shop in dollar stores.

Press Releases

Online press releases can be extremely effective.

Email Marketing

Email marketing campaigns using Constant Contact are a very good way to communicate directly with, and develop, existing relationships with your constituents.

Social Media Sites

There are more Facebook users than the U.S. population. If you have time to focus on social media sites, this can be a very effective way to leverage the Internet for free. The key is spending time, however.

To learn more about effective Internet Marketing, visit Connect4 Consulting. Connect4 Consulting is a full service marketing and technology communications firm.