How To Create Effective Email CTA

email call to action

How To Create Effective Email CTA


Next up is the Call to Actions of your email. As we discussed briefly in the section on email strategy, a call to action (CTA) is an engaging button or link that you place in your email to drive readers through to a landing page.

As you can see on the slide, there are a number of CTAs that can be used in your email, depending on the type of campaign you are running:

  • Apply Now: Useful in Offer or News emails, such as ‘10-week live training and certification’ where the user must apply for something.
  • Download Now: Useful in a Social Proof or News email where you are offering a guide or eBook that the reader must download.
  • Sign Up: Useful in an Offer or News email where the user needs to register for an event or webinar.
  • Book Now: Similar to ‘Sign Up’, the user has to register but this could also be used for a restaurant or cinema.
  • Learn More. Useful for a Social Proof or Story email where it wouldn’t make sense to have all the text in the email and the rest of the story is on your company website.
  • Buy Now: Can be used in an Offer email where you are encouraging the user to make a purchase.


Clicking the CTA is often the main objective of an email. Having a clear CTA at the top and bottom of the email will make it easier for the reader and help them click through to the landing page you wish them to visit. The CTA should stand out from the rest of the content and not be hidden. You will want to drive as many clicks as possible from the email so place your CTA in a location where it is easily visible and makes sense for someone to click on it.

The CTA should use a strong command verb and add a sense of urgency, prompting the reader to take action. It should be obvious and set expectations on what will happen when it is clicked. E.g. “Read more” should bring the user to a landing page where they can read more of the article/blog post etc.

email call to action

Email Templates

What should you consider when designing email templates that use email images? What are the pros and cons of using email images? What are the best practices for using images? Let’s dive into exploring the how’s, why’s, and why-not’s of images and email.

So should you use images? If so, how many are too many? First of all, yes, using images in email is critical for driving email conversions and promoting your brand. The healthy balance to strike is using images in a way that will benefit your email’s performance rather than detract from it.

Lets first look at how images can be included in your emails.

There are two ways to include images in your email template:

1.Embedded Image: where you embed an image, which means you attach the image to the email

2.URL Image Link: where you provide a URL reference to the location of the image on your server, the same way you would for a web page


We will look at the pros and cons for both to help you decide which way is best for email deliverability and conversions.

With image embedding, essentially you are attaching an inline image to the email using HTML image tags that reference the image. The main advantage to this approach is that recipients are sure to get the image, whether they download it or if it is displayed in the email. The cons to this approach are that it increases the size of the overall email causing varying results across email clients and higher spam scores as spam filters lookout for large, embedded images. It is important to be aware that image files are often used to plant viruses on computers. To combat this most ESPs set the default settings on delivered messages to ‘images off’, meaning that a large percentage of your emails with images will not be seen unless email users turn on image viewing.

The second way to add images to your email, an image link that provides an attached URL reference, comes with its advantages and disadvantages. In comparison to embedding images in the email, it is less technical, requires very little effort and it keeps the email weight light meaning you won’t get caught for spamming. The downside to this approach is that the recipient will actively need to turn on image viewing in their email settings to see the image.

The best way to figure out which method will suit your email campaign is to look at marketing emails you have seen from larger scale companies, view the code (in Gmail this can be done by clicking on ‘show original’ in the email dropdown menu), look at their email headers, and discover what works for them. Then apply it to your emails and test it.



There are a number of factors to consider when including images. As with all digital marketing activities, the delivery differs from traditional marketing and specifically from print. Your approach to email needs to focus on usability as well as aesthetics. Email is not like a print brochure or mailer, it does not have the same flexibility as the print would, therefore conversions rely on your email images encouraging the recipient to click and take action.

Not all ESPs will display your email images, so whether your recipients have selected the option for images to be turned off, your email text needs to convey your message. Your email needs to be designed to appeal to your entire subscriber base, including those who do not see the images.

Another important consideration to make is that overusing images or bad use of images in an email can result in your email being sent to the spam folder. If you do experience a deliverability problem, then one of the first steps to take is to remove some of the images from your email.


I have discussed the importance of using images in emails, how to attach them, what downfalls to consider and avoid so now we will look at the best practices and top tips for using images in your email campaigns.

  • Brand assets: Your brand guidelines may specify what types of photos or images are allowed on its website. This should also be followed in the emails to have a consistent experience for the reader.
  • Product photos: It helps to include images of your product e.g. the new iPhone in Apple’s emails or a recently viewed product in Amazon’s emails.
  • Size your images: An important thing to note is that your images should be sized correctly. If the image contains text, make sure it is clearly legible and not distorted.
  • Use pixel tracking images: After you have designed your email, you will want to know how many times it was opened. When creating your email you may need to add a tracking pixel. A tracking pixel is a 1×1 pixel transparent image added to the code of your email. When a user opens your email, the image is downloaded letting the tracking software know that the email was opened. Some ESPs will add the tracking pixel automatically so double-check with your ESP if you have to add it manually. Gmail will cut emails that are too large (>102kb in file size) and only display the top portion to the user, therefore if you are manually adding the tracking pixel, add it towards the top of the email so the opens are tracked. Alternatively, ensure your email isn’t too big.
  • Use the ‘less than 25%’ rule: When deciding how many images you should include, refer to the ‘less than 25% rule’ – no more than 25% of your email should be image-based. You want 75% of the email to be readable without images.
  • Include alt and title text: As some ESPs settings default to ‘images off’, ensure your email still conveys the message in the image by including alternative text and title text contained in your image URL. This text will appear when your image does not display.
  • Don’t trap your messages: Since images may not display for the email recipient, don’t trap your messages in an image. Ensure that your readers receive all the important information in HTML text rather than image text. Without images turned on, readers should still have a description of your product, price and where to click to take action. These CTAs should be HTML buttons.


Action Point

I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you can drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.



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About Adeniyi Salau 889 Articles
I am an IT enthusiast and a man of many parts. I am a Certified Digital Marketer, Project Manager and a Real Estate Consultant. I love writing because that's what keeps me going. I am running this blog to share what I know with others. I am also a Superlife Stem Cell Distributor. Our Stem Cell Products can cure many ailments.

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