You planned and crafted a beautiful email campaign with the perfect subject line, spot-on copy and an offer your recipients can’t refuse. You are already patting yourself on the back on a job well done. But, before you hit “send”, are you sure you’ve included an actionable and properly optimised call-to-action?

I don’t mean the simplistic “Buy now!” or “Read more” call-to-action (CTA). I’m referring to a call-to-action that will be truly effective, perfectly optimised and will fit your email campaign’s goal(s). 


“Action is the fundamental key to all success. For your email campaign to achieve success, it needs to contain a strong, straight-forward call-to-action.” – EmailOut

From writing amazing and relevant copy through to using attention-grabbing hooks to making an offer your subscribers will find beneficial, you did everything you were expected to. Yet, your click-through rate is not nearly what you anticipated it to be. Wondering what went wrong? You might’ve neglected to optimise your email campaign’s call-to-action (CTA). Today, I will unveil the secret of how to make your call-to-action stand out, the best and worst CTA wording and give you some killer call-to-action examples.

In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:

  1. What are the main elements of a killer call-to-action?
  2. Call-to-action words: DO’s and DON’Ts
  3. Call-to-action examples

Let’s dive in.

Each one of your email campaigns serves a purpose. Without a call-to-action, your subscribers will have nothing to act on. Consequently, that will reduce your emails to nothing more than a piece of information. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but… without an actionable call-to-action, you will not get the ROI you are aiming for. Thus, make sure your email campaigns have either a hyperlinked call-to-action or a clickable CTA button.

The copy and design of your CTA have a significant role in your email marketing campaign’s overall success. From colour through to placement to choosing between a hyperlink or button CTAs, all play a vital role in whether or not your subscribers will notice and interact with them. With that in mind, here are some intriguing stats about your call-to-action in email marketing – 

  • 48% of brands prefer to match the colour of the CTA to one in their brand logo
  • button-based call-to-actions improve CTR by 28%
  • call-to-actions with first-person language increase clicks by nearly 90%
  • the average CTA button contains 14 characters, with the shortest character count being 3 characters (“YES”) and the longest66 letters

A call-to-action with perfect design, relevant copy and spot-on placement will make a world of difference to the success of your email campaigns. Don’t just slap a dull, over-used, boring CTA in your email – it won’t work. Instead, learn how to write and design killer CTAs that will convert.

The Three Main Components Of A Great Call-To-Action

If you want to design a kick-ass call-to-action that drives results, you need to know the three main elements that make the perfect call-to-action.

1) Copy

Words are free. How you use them though… that might cost you. CTA buttons offer a limited word space and when it comes to email that limitation might be double. Therefore, when crafting your call-to-action copy make sure your message is short, clear, with active (buy, join, visit, etc.) and urgent (now, expire, today, limited, etc.) words as well as personal pronouns (I, my, me, etc.) and offer benefits

Pro tip: If your call-to-action takes more than 6 seconds to read, it’s too long.

Pro tip 2: Personalisation is not only for your email copy. It also goes a long way with your CTA.

2) Design

You got the words right. Now, it’s time to put them into a stunning visual design. To ensure you are on the right track, I recommend following CTA design best practice – 

  • use a bold and legible font that complements the rest of the email’s copy
  • apply contrasting colours to draw the subscribers’ attention and make the CTA stand out
  • pick the right size – the average call-to-action button is 47.9 pixels tall, you can pick a bigger one but make sure it won’t overwhelm your copy; send a preview test to see how it renders on both desktop and mobile devices

Pro tip: Take advantage of professional email marketing software where you can choose from several pre-designed and fully optimised templates with a call-to-action design ready to use.

3) Placement

Once you have the words and the stunning design ready, it’s time to drop your CTA into the email copy. But, where? Debates over the best CTA placement have been ongoing for quite some time and it seems an agreement won’t be reached anytime soon. However, there are two important things to consider when deciding your CTA placement – 

  • you want your call-to-action to be easily noticed without the subscribers scrolling down your email copy too much, therefore, why not place it in the above-the-fold area? (in the viewable area of the preview-pane)
  • you want subscribers’ main focus to be on your offer, therefore, why not place the CTA towards the bottom to avoid being overly aggressive and pushy?

Defining the perfect CTA placement isn’t easy. For some, a CTA at the top might work, whilst for others, the one at the bottom will convert better; and, for the rest, a call-to-action placed in the middle of the email campaign is the best location with the highest results. It’s all pretty much a “trial-and-error” process. Try different placements and perform A/B testing to see which one drives the best results. 

Once you’ve figured out the most convenient and logical placement that drives higher engagement, it’s all smooth sailing going forward. You can also consider including more than one call-to-action, but do try not to come across as too pushy. It might put your subscribers off and turn them into unsubscribers.

CTA Wording: DO’s and DON’Ts

You get limited word space with CTAs. You can either go simple and a bit dull, overcomplicate with too much text or try to be as original and witty as possible to lure the recipients and have them take the desired action. Of course, that will only happen if you already have developed great copy that grabbed their attention and your CTA is just the final nudge needed to “seal the deal”.

I’ve curated some of the most common tried-and-tested power words you can use in your call-to-action broken down by category.

1) To encourage purchaseshop now, shop our fall collection, act now, save today, yes! I want one, start saving today, get 50% off now, get free shipping, free gift with purchase, etc.

2) For the holiday seasonfind holiday gifts, shop Santa’s favourites, get it before Christmas, spread holiday cheer, ‘tis the season – donate now, our Christmas gift: 30% OFF, etc.

3) For contentread more, learn more, curious? Read now, get your ebook, download today, keep reading, get the full story, etc.

4) For eventsbook your ticket, register now, sign me up, save me a seat, get your spot, count me in!, I’ll be there!, etc.

5) To collect feedbacktake a survey, leave a review, tell us what you think, give us your thoughts, your opinion matters, how did we do, etc.

6) For social mediafollow us, stay connected, like us on… (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc.), share on social media, etc.

I know you want your call-to-action to be perfect, fully optimised and actionable. However, make sure to avoid friction words. Some of the most common ones are: apply, download, submit, order, sponsor, support, complete, switch, find, start, visit, etc.

Think about it. How often do you want to spend time downloading or applying for something? All subscribers want is to get the end benefit downloading or signing up will bring them. Therefore, to avoid annoying your subscribers with friction words, replace them with some of the call-to-action examples above.

12 Call-To-Action Examples

Now that you know how to create a call-to-action that converts, let’s take a look at 12 call-to-action examples from different brands that nailed it.

1) Charity Water 

12 Call-To-Action Examples That Convert | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

This example from Charity Water showcases CTAs focused on familiarising the subscriber with the organisation’s history and background. As unusual as it might be to have three CTAs in such a short campaign, they have been purposefully used to build trust and affinity with the subscriber. The call-to-actions are prominent, clear and to the point.  

2) J.Crew

12 Call-To-Action Examples That Convert | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

This email campaign is designed to lead the recipients to the brand’s awesome “25% off” deal followed by four demographically-based CTAs. From the typography and point size through the gradient background and colour scheme to the email copy, all elements guide the recipients from a place of just being interested to a place where they’ll take action upon the brand’s offer and start shopping. 

3) Zoom

12 Call-To-Action Examples That Convert | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Zoom has become one of the most popular video conferencing tools. This email example showcases the company’s intent to get people to register for their webinar. The message is clear, focused and creates a sense of urgency. The entire design offers a sense of exclusivity making the CTA even more effective than the boring overused and simple “signup” copy. Each element of this campaign is reverse engineered around the call-to-action leading directly to it.

4) Banana Republic

12 Call-To-Action Examples That Convert | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

The thing that makes Banana Republic’s email so good is the colour scheme (lemon yellow) which is relatable to the main message – “fresh effect”. The keyword has been used twice, in the title and the call-to-action, making the entire email campaign more cohesive, effective and ultimately, successful for the company’s end goal.

5) PlayStation

12 Call-To-Action Examples That Convert | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

PlayStation’s holiday-themed email campaign showcases personalisation can be used not only in the email copy but in the call-to-action as well. By personalising your CTA, you will make it that much more inviting to the recipient which, consequently, will drive better results and ultimately, higher revenue. 

In PlayStation’s case, the company is focused on rewarding its customers by giving them a limited-time gift to show their appreciation. The email is clean, simple, to the point and with a prominent perfectly placed CTA which cannot be lost on the recipient. 

6) Lonely Planet

12 Call-To-Action Examples That Convert | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

This email example from the Lonely Planet has it all – CTAs for social media, both hyperlinked and button call-to-action and, of course, great copy. The brand has decided to emphasise on the actions they wish recipients to take by including five logically placed CTAs promoting their content. From the colour scheme, typography and copy, the company’s call-to-action screams “click me” and also keeps the recipients on task.

7) Spotify

12 Call-To-Action Examples That Convert | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

Take a look at Spotify’s email, for example. The call-to-action simply exemplifies best practice. It contrasts strikingly compared to the background and tells the recipient exactly what will happen if they take action. The less time there is between the call-to-action once clicked and the result, the better. In this example, if the recipient already has the app on their phone, they don’t have to wait for anything. However, if they don’t, Spotify went the extra mile and added links redirecting the recipients to the proper app stores where they can get the app in just a couple clicks.  

8) Chubbies

12 Call-To-Action Examples That Convert | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

The copy of your call-to-action is what will ultimately convince the recipient to take action – or not. Each call-to-action must trigger an emotion in your recipient. Take a look at Chubbies email, for example. They tap into the recipients’ fear of missing out to get people to click-through. They included 2-day free shipping, a fun image, witty email copy and, most of all, a prominent carefully crafted CTA which immediately grabs the attention. 

9) Lancome

12 Call-To-Action Examples That Convert | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

Lancome’s email campaign’s non-direct call-to-action serves as an invitation to the recipients to explore Halloween makeup ideas without the intent to purchase. 

10) Artifact Uprising

12 Call-To-Action Examples That Convert | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

This brand has given its email campaign and CTA a very original twist. As you can see, the telephone and the gradient background colour work together to visually lead the recipient to the call-to-action. Moreover, the copy above the CTA also entices people to take the survey thanks to the $10 discount code offered. From the mail copy to the call-to-action, everything is clean, original, witty and enticing – all the necessary elements of a successful email campaign that converts.  

11) HelloFresh

12 Call-To-Action Examples That Convert | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

When trying to connect with subscribers who’ve lost interest in your product/service, you have to step up your game if you want to grab their attention and get them back. Therefore, your “come back” call-to-action needs to be perfect and placed within an irresistibly outstanding email campaign. 

Take a look at HelloFresh’s email campaign. They are pulling off the “come back” CTA perfectly. There is an attention-grabbing discount which is surrounded by stunning mouth-watering imagery leaving the recipients drooling for their next meal.  

12) Moo

12 Call-To-Action Examples That Convert | EmailOut.com - free email marketing software

Is there anything in this email campaign that does not grab your attention? From the scarce but to the point and witty email copy, the funny imagery and the prominent perfectly placed CTA – “HI-YAH!”, Moo’s entire purpose is to offer the recipient a reward and, of course, entice them to get it. If I got such an email, I’ll be clicking-through. 

Final Thoughts

The power of your email campaign lies within the actions they drive. To encourage swift actions from your subscribers, you need to have a killer call-to-action – on top of awesome email copy, of course.

The top five things to take into account when designing a call-to-action that converts are the number, the placement, the design, the copy and the ability to test your CTAs. With these in mind, you will ensure that your call-to-action is making the right impact on your target audience.

The type of your email’s call-to-action depends on three factors: your business’s industry, your target audience and your email campaign’s purpose. With those out of the way, crafting a call-to-action that converts won’t be as tough as you might think. This article has already given you all the knowledge you need plus some amazing call-to-action examples. Are you ready to design an outstanding call-to-action that converts?

Highly recommended further reading – 

1) Email Design Best Practice
2) Optimising Your Emails for Small Screens
3) The Ultimate Email Checklist

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