10 Tips for Writing a Call To Action in an Email

Updated November 7, 2022

A call to action (CTA) is a statement that invites readers to do something specific. Many industries use calls to action in communications with consumers to increase awareness of a company or encourage people to purchase a product or service. When communicating with clients, customers or coworkers via email, you may need to use a call to action, so it can be helpful to understand how to write one. In this article, we consider what a call to action is in an email and explore a list of tips for writing a successful call to action in an email message.

Related: How To Write a Call to Action

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What is a call to action in an email?

A call to action that appears in an email is a message that asks readers to take a certain action. When writing a call to action, the most important element to include is an action word that gives an instruction, such as "try now" or "start my free trial." You might use a call to action in an email to potential clients to encourage them to visit your business or purchase a particular product or service.

Another use for a call to action in emails might be to invite your coworkers to attend a specific meeting or event in the workplace.

Related: 51 Call-To-Action Examples and Why They Work

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10 tips for writing an effective CTA in an email

Here are 10 tips you can use when writing a call to action for an email:

1. Use active language

As a call to action's purpose is to encourage someone to perform a certain action, it's crucial to use active language when writing your call to action. Using active language can give readers specific instructions that make it simple to interact with the content or processes you want to promote.

For example, an email to customers announcing a new product might use active language like "call for more information" or "find it at your local store" to invite customers to engage with the new product and learn more about it. This might result in more sales and a rise in awareness about a company and its products.

Related: 4 Steps to a Winning Call-to-Action

2. Stay concise

Professionals often write calls to action with the intention of making them easy to read and quick to navigate. One way to achieve this is to make sure that any calls to action you use are as brief as possible while still offering the information you want to come across. You can keep your calls to action concise by writing each one in two or three words and setting a maximum of five or six words. This can help ensure that an audience can read your calls to action quickly and understand the message you're trying to convey.

3. Write your call to action in a larger font

When writing a call to action for an email, it can be especially important that your call to action stands out from the rest of the text in the message. Doing so can attract the attention of readers quickly and ensure they read your call to action, even if they might not explore the rest of the email. To make sure your call to action stands out, one effective method is to format the text of your call to action to be in a larger font than the remaining text in the email.

This can emphasize your call to action as important and increase the chances of readers paying attention to it.

4. Establish a sense of urgency

Calls to action can be most successful when they contain a sign that taking the action they present is an urgent matter. As an email typically offers additional information outside of a call to action, it's crucial to create a sense of urgency in the call to action so that it stands out from the surrounding text and encourages readers to take action quickly. One of the most common ways to evoke urgency in a call to action is to use language like "only" or "now" that seems to place a time limit on the action you present.

5. Use colors in the text

As a call to action in an email needs to stand out from the remaining text, it can be helpful to use colors when formatting the design of your email. Colors can attract readers' attention and might increase the chances that they read the information you include in your email. To use colors to highlight your call to action, you might change the color of your call to action to a bright shade while keeping the rest of the text in the email black. This can maintain professionalism in the body of your email while emphasizing your call to action.

Related: The Color of Business: What Colors Mean and How Designers Communicate With Color

6. Design an interactive button

Calls to action can be very effective when they present a way for readers to interact with them immediately. One popular way to achieve this is by adding a button to your email that readers can click on to navigate to a certain website or page where they can complete the action you're inviting them to perform. By formatting your call to action to be an interactive button, you can provide readers with a simple way to take action right away and respond to your call to action if they're interested.

7. Place your call to action at the top of the email

Because a call to action typically exists to grab readers' attention and encourage them to participate in a certain task, it can be helpful to situate the call to action at the beginning of your email. This can increase the likelihood that a reader might see and respond to your call to action, even if they do not read the rest of the email's message. To do so, you can format your email so that the call to action appears at the top of the page, separate from the remaining text.

8. Consider other additions to the email

Some emails might use a combination of content types to appeal to readers. For example, an informational email about new products might include a body of text describing the product, a photograph of the product and a link to the page where customers can purchase the product. When writing a call to action in an email like this, make sure to separate your call to action from any other additional content or links in the email. This can help readers identify the call to action quickly and distinguish it from other details.

9. Include white space

Many emails contain multiple paragraphs of text that are separated by single or double spaces. When you want to include a call to action in your email, it can be beneficial to add extra white space around it to separate your call to action from the rest of the email. Adding white space around your call to action can also emphasize its importance, which might encourage more readers to pay attention and follow its instructions. To include white space around your call to action, you can add extra spaces before and after the statement.

10. Write in the first-person perspective

While some calls to action can function without a direct reference to the audience reading them, it can be helpful to use the first-person perspective when addressing readers directly in a call to action. This might increase your chances of receiving a response, as some readers might be more inclined to interact with a direction that feels personal. For example, rather than using the phrase "request your sample" in a call to action, you might say "request my sample" instead.

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