Having a strong email list is great for any business. Email marketing is a low-cost way of getting your content and your brand in front of a very wide audience, and it’s a really excellent way to maintain connections with potential clients or customers. However, emails, just on their own, aren’t enough. It’s great to have your content seen, but if your email strategy begins and ends with “read this email,” then those emails aren’t providing any material value to you.

Indeed, if those emails aren’t a point of contact that promotes a deeper interaction with your site, then they really aren’t being used to their fullest extent. If you’ve got a huge email readership, but you’re not seeing a corresponding uptick in site traffic, then your CTR could use some improvement. With these ten tips (and a bonus eleventh!) you’ll be ready to do just that.

11 Ways to Improve your Email Marketing CTR

1. Don’t buy lists — let people sign up

Let’s start with the very basics. You can’t expect people to follow up on your site if you’re sending emails out of the blue. There has to be some reason why a person is on your list, or the content will most likely just get marked as spam and forgotten. With so many emails in a day, very few people are going to respond well to cold-calls.

Instead, focus on building an email list organically, by encouraging sign-up with a relevant call to action (CTA) on your site.

2. Incent sign-up, newsletters, samples, and more

If you give an incentive, like offering a free ebook or webinar for those who subscribe to the email list, then you’ll already have a foot in the door when the next email comes along offering some new, equally engaging bit of content to engage with. Signing up for an email list is an act of good faith, and people are right to expect something of real value in return.

3. Strike while the iron is hot

Once someone has signed up, you’ve got a pretty narrow window to hold their attention with a follow-up email. A confirmation thanking them for the sign-up should come immediately, including any offers — like an ebook, as above — so that your brand is still fresh in their minds when new leads get your first emails. Don’t send too many, but a follow-up, like a newsletter or the first stage in a drip campaign, should follow in a few days. After that, don’t go more than two weeks without a contact, or else you’ll see that enthusiasm start to wane.

4. Be personable; don’t write as a company

Emails are direct communications, right? So, why should they come from an impersonal, faceless enterprise? Don’t use your business voice. Instead, write something friendly and approachable. Don’t be unprofessional, of course, but it’s important to strike a balance, so that your readers will leave with the impression that a real, genuine person wrote the email just for them.

5. Keep hyperlinks distinct, but don’t use blue

Adding hyperlinks to your text is a great way to increase the number of potential contact points to the rest of your site, but for many readers, the old blue-with-underline approach is just a signal to skip ahead. Hyperlinks are oversaturated, so make yours distinctive. If you’ve got a branded color scheme, set your hyperlinks to match. You can make them stand out in bold, a different font, and so on. Make sure you’re embedding them, too. Unless your hyperlinks themselves are unusually memorable, it’s generally bad form to paste them in full rather than embedding them.

6. Nest secondary hyperlinks in unexpected places, like images and subheaders

And while we’re on the subject of embedding hyperlinks, don’t limit yourself to just the copy itself. Any section headers, titles, or pull-quotes should be clickable, as well as any images. If your primary goal is an increased click through rate, you can’t go wrong by adding more options to click.

7. Place a clickable above the fold

“Above the fold” is a vintage phrase, sure, but it’s still got a lot to offer. It refers to the top-half of the front page of a newspaper. For our purposes, we might think of the fold as a floating point, set based on the screen resolution, after which a reader needs to begin scrolling. On mobile devices, you’ll only have a few inches. Desktop platforms are a little more forgiving, but in either case, be sure that a reader doesn’t need to scroll before they will encounter an inviting clickable invitation back to your site.

8. Don’t use flashy HTML or complex design

Emails are absolutely not the right time to show off. An email is the sort of thing that a reader should be able to read while waiting in line at the bank. Knowing how, and when, to bling your email is important. You want it to be comprehensive, relatively simple, clear, and quick to load. Complex layouts, elaborate HTML, interactive design elements, or even too many images can drastically slow down load times and make it much harder to engage with the content.

9. Add social sharing buttons

Social sharing buttons are rapidly becoming a universal design element. You’ll find them on just about every webpage, usually tucked away in the footer. Including them in your email offers one more potential point of contact. Remember that it might take two or three interchanges for a lead to find their way to your site, and giving them one more potential point of entry, like through your Facebook profile, is sure to help.

10. Optimize for mobile

Mobile devices are the new norm. There’s no getting around it. When you’re drafting your emails, be sure you’re writing them with mobile devices in mind. Emails, in particular, are the sort of thing most people will prefer to read on their phones or tablets, so don’t alienate them with outdated desktop-preferential layout.

11. Track your performance!

We did promise a bonus tip, didn’t we?

All these tips and tricks for increasing your CTR won’t be worth anything if you can’t measure the results. Be sure that you’re following the attribution path for your web traffic, and tracking your email campaigns appropriately. If you try something new, check back in a week or two and see whether it made a difference. Always be reviewing the data to be sure that your emails are delivering the best possible results for your business.

Colibri Digital Marketing

Need to increase the CTR for your email campaigns? Get in touch to book your free digital marketing strategy session, or find us on Facebook and Twitter for more great tips like these!