Creating Email CTAs That Captivate And Convert

CTAs are not just about selling; they guide customers through a thoughtful and personalized journey. While CTAs like “Buy now” or “Shop now” used to be very effective, modern CTAs require creativity and alignment with the diverse mindsets of potential buyers.

Elevate your email game with simple yet effective techniques. Explore the article below to master the art of inspiring action through compelling CTAs!

What is CTA in email marketing?

CTA (Call to Action) is a prompt or instruction encouraging an email recipient to take a particular action.

The most common type of CTAs in email marketing is a clickable button, link, or text that directs the reader to act, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, downloading a resource, or visiting a website.

The five types of CTAs to boost your email

1. Engage with content

This type of CTA encourages recipients to dive deeper into the details of your product, service or brand offerings in your email. It often appears in welcome series emails. 

Some examples of content CTAs: 

  • Download an ebook
  • Explore case studies
  • Complete a survey
  • Read customer testimonials

Each of these content CTAs aims to engage users in different ways. The associated conversion metrics provide insights into the effectiveness of these engagement strategies.

  • Download an ebook → Number of downloads and subsequent engagement with the downloaded content.
  • Explore case studies → Click-through rates to page and the time spent reviewing case study content.
  • Complete a survey → Survey completions and the data quality collected.
  • Read customer testimonials → Click-through rates to page and the time spent reading customer testimonials.

The measurements help marketers understand user behavior, interest, and the impact of various content types on these audiences.

Engage with content

An appealing CTA example from the welcome email of Earthy. Their CTA is threefold:  

  • The main CTA button asks recipients to explore detailed information about the brand.
  • The secondary CTA encourages readers to make their first purchase by offering a 10% discount. 
  • The last CTA provides information about the unique selling points of the brand.

The brand’s primary goal is to collect customer-first data to enhance the personalized brand experience, enabling the delivery of more relevant offers to subscribers in the future.

2. Try something for free

These CTAs are frequently linked with premium models, which are most effective when a sense of urgency is integrated into them. This urgency is typically conveyed by including an expiration date on the offer. The time-sensitive element encourages prompt action from recipients, increasing the likelihood of them taking advantage of the trial offer before it expires.

Take a look at these trial-focused CTA examples:

  • Try premium features for free
  • Join a limited-time course
  • Receive exclusive early access
  • Access premium content during a free trial

When analyzing the impact of trial CTAs, you’re focusing on:

  • Try premium features for free → Number of users activating features.
  • Join a limited-time course → Number of course registrations and participation rates in the online sessions.
  • Get exclusive early access → Number of users gaining early access and subsequent engagement with the exclusive content.
  • Access premium content during a free trial → Number of users accessing content and their engagement metrics during the trial period.

These metrics provide insights into user engagement and potential long-term adoption of the offered services.

With just one clear and concise CTA, Spotify encourages users to try out premium features for free for a month. After experiencing these special benefits completely free of charge, transitioning to a long-term subscription becomes easier.

Try something for free

The success of a CTA is not solely determined by the choice of words but is equally influenced by the ease with which the recipient can engage. No matter how well-crafted the message is, if it isn’t straightforward and convenient for someone to take the desired action, the impact of the CTA diminishes.

3. Encourage a purchase

The purpose of purchase-driven CTAs is to take advantage of the customer’s interest and encourage them to complete a purchase. Purchase-driven CTAs create a clear and compelling message that encourages immediate action.

The old ways of encouraging purchases often used phrases like “Buy Now” or “Shop Today.” Nowadays, purchase-driven CTAs have innovated in many ways, often including dynamic elements like personalization, urgency, and value proposition. This provides a more engaging and compelling experience for the contemporary consumer.

Here are examples of purchase-driven CTAs:

  • Shop for exclusive deals
  • Grab your offer
  • Save 20% off
  • Claim discount now
  • Buy 2 get 1 for free

DryHeat employs concise and compelling CTAs to effectively capture customer’s attention. Each CTA serves as a precise guide, directing recipients toward specific purposes. 

Encourage a purchase

4. Complete a purchase

This type of CTA is particularly effective when customers have shown interest in a product or service but are yet to finalize their transaction, such as abandoned cart and browse abandonment emails.

You can personalize these CTAs by tailoring them to the specific products left in the cart, offering related product suggestions, or emphasizing the potential benefits of completing the transaction.

Examples of CTA reminders include:

  • Seal the deal
  • Complete your purchase
  • Check out with 10% off
  • Take another look

An example from Better Brand uses a CTA to encourage customer purchases, creating a mutually beneficial experience. Instead of employing a CTA urging customers to pay immediately, Better Brand transforms it into a value-driven CTA by encouraging them to grab free shipping benefits and complete their shopping carts.

Complete a purchase

5. Offer feedback

These CTAs are typically used after someone buys a product. The aim is to gain customer feedback on product satisfaction.

Here are examples of feedback CTAs:

  • Submit testimonials
  • Rate your experience
  • Share your suggestions
  • Recommend a product to a friend

When you’re measuring the performance of feedback CTAs, you’re focusing on:

  • Submit testimonials → The number of positive testimonials or feedback received.
  • Rate your experience → The rate or scores to evaluate the overall satisfaction level.
  • Share your suggestions → The number of suggestions implemented into your products or services.
  • Recommend a product to a friend → The number of times customers recommend your product to their friends.

Sometimes, you don’t need a complicated survey for feedback; using a score is a way to check customer overall satisfaction. 

Bellroy used this approach in their feedback email. They included a scale from 0 to 10 and a question. This example serves as a reminder that not all CTAs must be complicated. In this case, the email is set up to make it simple for people to share their thoughts without much effort.

Offer feedback

Five best practices for creating effective email CTAs

1. Align the CTAs with recipient behavior through omnichannel marketing

Your email CTAs need to make sense based on the reader’s behavior. Think of it this way: if someone sees your message in an email and then on social media, the action you want them to take should be consistent. This makes it easier for them to understand and follow through with your request.

According to Forbes, it usually takes about 6 separate touchpoints for someone before they buy something. When these touchpoints use CTAs to create one continuous conversation instead of many scattered ones, it becomes much simpler for your brand to provide people with an experience that matches how ready they are to make a purchase. 

2. Reduce cognitive load with your CTAs

Having too many CTAs lengthen emails, making them harder to read and understand quickly. This also increases the likelihood that users will click on nothing at all.

How can you tell if your email needs more than one CTA?  Your goals, or what you want to achieve with the email, will guide you. If you wish to give your customers multiple options, having more than one CTA might be necessary.

After analyzing the examples below, you will understand how to insert CTAs correctly.

Reduce cognitive load with your CTAs

Huckberry uses only one CTA in its cart abandonment email reminder. This approach makes sense, as the primary goal of this email is straightforward: to redirect recipients back to their shopping carts and encourage them to complete their purchase.

 cart abandonment email reminder

In the welcome email from Greendigs, they use several buttons you can click – is this okay, and does it work? The arrangement of CTAs in this email is logical, as the brand intends to showcase its diverse product range to new subscribers. Allocating a distinct CTA to each product category facilitates easy navigation and allows customers to explore specific sections, creating a user-friendly shopping experience.

3. Set CTAs expectations with a clear copy

While getting as creative as possible with your CTAs wording might seem appealing, it’s essential to exercise caution. While being clever can work in certain situations, it’s generally better to prioritize clarity. 

Opting for straightforward language ensures readers understand what they are clicking on, preventing any feelings of confusion or being misled. If users feel uncertain and click only to find something unexpected on the landing page, they will likely leave quickly. All the effort you put into crafting a compelling CTA could be wasted if clarity isn’t prioritized.

4. Identify the optimal position for your CTAs

“80% of people do not go beyond the initial section of the email. So, incorporate three key elements at the top of your email – above the point where readers need to scroll.” – Connie Cen, the founder of Rocketeer Media, advises. 

These elements are the headline, an image, and CTA. The goal is to capture your audience’s attention immediately before they scroll down. So, making a strong impression in this visible area becomes crucial for maximizing engagement and revenue.

5. Create email CTAs with a color contrast ratio of 4:5:1

In emails, the CTAs should have colors that stand out and are easy to notice. Pick colors that are very different from the background around the button, and also make sure the text inside the button is easy to read against the background color.

Some guidelines suggest the difference between the text and the background for people who might have trouble seeing colors or have difficulty with vision. For big text, they recommend a difference of at least 4.5 to 1; for regular-sized text, they suggest a difference of 7 to 1. This makes it simpler for everyone, including those with vision challenges, to use and understand the buttons in your emails.

Create email CTAs with a color contrast ratio of 4:5:1

The email from Doughp employs text and CTA buttons in the color (#144CA6) against a background color (#030100). When checked on WebAIM, the results prove this color combination creates a strong contrast, effectively capturing the reader’s attention.

CTA buttons in the color


Clear and compelling language guides our readers toward the action you want them to take. Remember, simplicity is key, and aligning your CTAs with your overall goals will help you connect better with your audience.

So, apply these tips, and watch as your email CTAs inspire meaningful actions from your readers. Good luck!

IMP provides digital marketing services for global ecommerce companies. Our solutions help businesses increase their profits sustainably and reduce dependency on paid media.