How to manage CTR? See our best practices

Are those customers who opened your email also clicking on the links inside the emails?

If you don’t know, it’s high time you had a look at your CTR (Click-through rate) rate.

What is a CTR Rate?

Simply speaking, the email click-through rate or email CTR is showing how many customers clicked on the links in your campaign emails.

To calculate email click-through rate, take the number of people that have clicked on your email campaign and divide that with the number of emails you have sent – to get a percentage, you can then multiply that number by 100.

Easy enough.

The thing is, plenty of factors can affect your CTR rate –  not only your email headline or email copy but also the position of the link, the phrasing of the CTA, whether the email is opened on desktops or mobiles or even time of the day!  

Another thing you should be aware of is that average click-through rates vary a lot from industry to industry. E.g. real estates industry have a different CTR rate than animal care services or restaurants.

To get some insight into how your company is doing, look up the average CTR rates for your industry. If it’s above average, then it means your marketing strategy is doing great (but always could do better!)

But if your CTR is much lower than expected, that’s a problem.Less clicks = less conversions = lower revenue. That’s why improving your CTR rate by making your customers want to click on your links is essential.

More clicks mean more traffic to your website and more people acting on the offers in your emails. So what can you do to improve your CTR rate?

Here are 9 best practices you can use straight away!

Test your subject lines

Before you can get the customer to click on the link in your email, you need to make them open the email first. For that you need a catchy subject line.

35% of email recipients open email basing solely on the subject line. What is more, 69% of people might delete or mark the email as spam before they even open it. For example, because the subject line sounds suspicious (according to Convince&Convert).

A great subject line is a must! But how can you write one? Depending on your needs, you can do this by either making people curious (so they want to open the email to learn more) or by adding the subscribers’ name in the subject line (it makes the content inside the email feel personal).

Just remember to keep the subject line short and straight to the point.
Here are some tested email subject lines that you can refer to.

It’s also important to avoid using certain words that are sure to trigger spam filters. There’s plenty of words (such as the infamous “Free”) that will make your emails land in the undelivered emails folder.

Test delivery times

To increase your open rate, it’s best to send your emails when your customers check their inbox. There’s plenty of studies on this topic, saying that one specific day or certain hours are the best ones. But there’s no guarantee they will work for your audience.

The most straightforward way to learn what hours work best for your audience is to test different delivery times for your next few emails sends. Then select time slot that give you higher open rates.

Less is more

I’m sure you have plenty to say about your new product. But does your customer have enough time to read it all?

Unlikely.

People are in so much hurry nowadays, they don’t even read the whole email unless it’s short. According to Boomerang’s research, emails that have between 50 and 125 words had the best response rates at just above 50%.

Instead of sending an essay on your product benefits, focus on the essential information.

Putting things in short paragraphs or numbers also makes reading your emails easier for people who skim the text for most important information.

Same thing with packing multiple offers into one email, hoping the customer will find something they like and click on it.

Too many options lead to so-called “paradox of choice” – customers, in the end, don’t pick anything because they feel overwhelmed. So decide on your primary goal and stick to just one offer for one email!

Include social sharing options

Majority of your existing and future customers are on at least one social media portal. Why not use the power of social media to increase your CTR rate too?

According to Econsultancy, including one social sharing option generates 30% higher click-through rates and with 3 or more options the CTR soars to 55 %.

Even if the recipient of your email isn’t interested in your email offer, he might know friends or relatives who will be.

And what is a more natural way to let them know about it than by posting the offer on their social media account?

So don’t forget to include social sharing buttons in emails – a good email marketing software can do this easily.

Segment your email lists

You probably heard a lot about the email segmentation already – wonder what the fuss is about?

There’s plenty of reasons why you should be dividing your email lists. Starting from that segmented emails have 208% higher conversion rates than “one size fits all” (Marketing Sherpa) and they bring much better revenue too.

Besides, all your subscribers have different interests and needs – what’s the point of sending the same offer to them?

With email segmentation, not only you do not annoy your email recipients with irrelevant offers, you can give them an offer custom-made for them, increasing the chance your customers will click on it.

There’s plenty of ways in which you can segment your email list. For example, by gender, occupation, city they live in or how long are they your customers, all depending on your needs.

Personalise your emails

Personalisation is one of the most popular marketing practices in 2018 – Emails with personalised subject lines generate 50% higher open rates says Marketing Dive.

What is more, more than 50% online retailers find personalisation and segmentation as their most effective conversion tactics. (Statista)

The most known form of personalization is using customers names in subject lines and the email copy, but that’s only a fraction of personalization true powers.

You surely have data on your customers’ purchase history, website activity, engagement levels or they interests.

Why not use the data you already have about your subscribers to tailor your email marketing messages to them?

For example by showing them products or offers they might be interested in, based on their purchase data.

Or you can change images in your email based on types of data you have – customer’s gender, whether they are in your loyalty program, location, preferences and more.

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Create a sense of urgency

Even if someone’s interested in your offer, they might think they’ll “check it out later” since they have plenty of time to think about the deal and close the emails.

Then they get distracted and quickly forget about your email. Sounds familiar?

Using urgency tactics might be just what you need – many marketers already noticed that when you give people a deadline for the offer and make it clear what they might lose by missing out on offer, they get higher CTR rates and higher conversions.

How can you use urgency tactics in your emails?

There’s plenty of ways. You can emphasise that your newest product stock is limited, that there’s a special offer for first X customers only or there’s a set deadline on getting a deal.

Even better if you use a countdown clock – there’s nothing quite like a ticking clock to get people to take action.

Use urgency tactics in moderation though – if you have sales all the time and items are about to run out every day, pretty soon your customers will stop noticing your efforts.

Put extra effort into your call to action

Your CTA (Call to action) button is the most critical part of your email – it is a button or link that leads your email readers to complete the desired action, in this case, clicking on the email link.

But no one will click on your CTA button if it’s bland and uninteresting or is in a bad place.

Sadly, there’s no single method to make a high converting CTA button – various researches were made, but they are pretty much inconclusive.

The best method to get an amazing CTA button is to test every part of your CTA button – what text works best for your audience? What size, colour and placing works best? Small change (such as changing the size of the button) can have a massive impact on your CTR rate!

Also, stay away from the temptation of using several different CTA buttons in one emails – you will just confuse your customers.

Make your emails mobile-friendly

You’ve surely heard about the stats on mobile emails, right?

There are over 3.5 billion of mobile internet users (Statista), and the average user spent 69% time of their media time on a mobile device (comScore).

What is more, 61% of U.S. email was opened on mobile while only 15% on the desktop(Adestra) – and the number is only expected to raise! If you want to increase your CTR rates, you should have a look at how mobile-friendly your emails are.   

One of the main problems mobile users have to deal with when using mobile devices is “fat fingers” – while it’s easy to click on even small links on desktop devices, our fingers are unfortunately much less precise and it can be pretty hard to click on a link in an email opened on a smartphone.

How to optimize your emails for mobile?

Prolonged loading time, unreadable text or large photos are among the biggest annoyances for mobile users too. To make your emails ready for mobile devices, there are a few things you need to have in mind:   

  • Text must be easily readable, without the need to pinch the screen
  • The text is written in a legible, simple font
  • Images should be optimised for mobiles to increase loading speed
  • Links and buttons must be bigger, and the spaces between them should be increased too – to avoid the situation your customer will accidentally click on something else than they wanted.

Emails that are optimised for mobile generate 15% higher click-through rates compared to emails that are not optimised for mobiles so optimising your emails for mobile users is definitely worth the effort!

Summary

To conclude, here are the main things you can use the next time you plan an email campaign to increase click-through rates:

  • Test various subject lines to see which one works best for your audience
  • Try sending your emails on different days and times of the day  
  • Write shorter email copies – less is more.  
  • Add social sharing icons to your email template
  • Segment and personalise your email campaigns
  • Use urgency tactics but in moderation
  • Try testing your CTA elements like colour, shape or text
  • Make sure your emails are optimised for all devices

Now you are ready to prepare email campaigns that are more engaging than ever before!

The next time you will be planning an email campaign, try to add one or two of the above tips.

If your campaign performance improves, you are going in the right way, so why not make your campaign even better next time?

What tactics did you use to increase the CTR of your email campaigns successfully? Which tactic has worked the best?
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