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How to Improve Email Click-through Rate (CTR) by 32%?

Written and researched by experts at AvadaLearn more about our methodology

By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

Drive 20-40% of your revenue with Avada
avada email marketing

If you’ve been running an email marketing campaign for a few months, you can probably predict each campaign’s open rate. Just imagine how frustrated you would be after getting high open rates, just to lose readers with an email that didn’t generate clicks. A great email engages readers and gets them to click. And if they don’t click, you get fewer leads and sales.

With email marketing still being considered one of the most sure-fire ways to promote a business, let’s start improving that click-through rate to give your campaign something to smile about. In this article, you will find 13 amazing ways to improve your email click-through rate in an impressive way. When you see that revenue is going up with more successful sales through emails, you know you can celebrate. Let’s get started!

What is the email click-through rate?

What is the click-through rate?
What is the click-through rate?

In definition, the email click-through rate is calculated as the number of subscribers who clicked on at least one link in your emails of a marketing campaign.

To calculate click-through rates of emails, take the number of people who clicked on your email campaign and divide it by the number of emails you sent. You then multiply that number by 100 to show the percentage.

Here is the formula for email click-through rate:

Email CTR = (Number of clicks / Number of delivered emails) x 100

For example, if you have an email marketing campaign that sends emails to 1000 people and 120 people clicked on links inside, then your click-through rate is 12%.

Click-through rate is one of the most important measures for your email marketing campaign’s efficiency because it shows how your emails influenced the target audience’s behavior and did you achieve your campaign’s goal of making people check your offer in the links provided. Just through one click, they are already one step closer to converting into a customer.

A high clickthrough rate is a good indication that your email campaign is relevant and that your subscribers are taking action. A low clickthrough rate means there are things to improve. This also applies to other aspects of your digital marketing strategy, including organic SEO, in which context the CTR you generate also translates into a higher ranking. A service like Top of the Results is a useful tool if you’re also eager to earn more clicks on SERPs, in addition to boosting email-based engagement. But, what is a good email click-through rate?

What is a good email click-through rate?

The best way to know how you’re doing with your email marketing campaign is to compare your own data with the industry average. This will be the foundation step to aim for your own goal of the average email click-through rate.

Email marketing benchmarks vary throughout many different industries. In the reports on average email marketing campaign stats by Mailchimp (updated for 2019), the company tracked all campaigns that went to at least 1,000 recipients with users from giant corporations to small startups.

The results showed that the average click-through rate for all industries is 2.62%, ranging from 1.40% in the restaurant industry to a whopping 5.01% in the hobbies sector.

However, I must say different research does bring different stats, like this article from KnowledgeBase suggests that the average email click-through rate for all industries is even 7.17%. On the other hand, the email click-through rate also varies among B2B and B2C sections, as well as different devices. Emails optimized for mobiles with a responsive design can generate 15% higher click-through rates!

You can choose which research you find the most relevant, then find your current email click-through rate in your email marketing service provider’s dashboard and compare it to the industry average. If your stat is lower, you have a target right the way. If yours are higher, then the next 13 tips will help improve the click-through rate even more.

Read more:

How to improve your email click-through rate significantly?

Now that you know email click-through rate is crucial to your conversion rate and what is the average rate for your industry, let’s see the thirteen tactics that you can apply to improve your own campaign’s click-through rate:

1. Use social proof

Use social proof
Use social proof

Popularity is very influential. Use this to your advantage by having social proof in your email campaign. Adding product reviews and testimonials as social proof along with product recommendations can build trust. This makes the recipients feel more confident to click on your link to check your offer.

Social proof works both on websites and emails because it gives a more “human” example of the people using your products or services. From there, email recipients can see what previous buyers think of your business and if your offers really work or not. And if the reviews are great, they will feel like they are missing out on something good.

In the example above, you can see how Freshbooks integrated social proof into their email campaign for the launch of their new ZenPayroll partnership feature. A testimonial from a happy customer was in the middle of the email copy, persuading readers to try it out as well. By seeing another customer like Rudyard here being successful with the product, others are more likely to follow his footsteps and become customers.

2. A/B test the subject line

Click-through rate is normally used to refer to the percentage of people clicking on your links in your content email. But first, you need your recipients to open the email. Once you’ve mastered email delivery, start A/B testing the subject lines you are using. The subject line affects click-through rate, conversion rate, and even unsubscribe rate.

If people open your emails based on the expectation created by the subject line, if they get disappointed by what they find, they may soon hit the unsubscribe button, and can even mark your account as spam. You, of course, will want to avoid that. So the more you test the subject line, the better content your email can deliver to meet recipients’ needs.

Some more tips to get it right with the subject line are:

  • Using time urgency to trigger the fear of missing out.
  • Writing subject lines that entice curiosity.
  • Ask relevant questions
  • Including symbols and emojis (if suitable) to make your emails stand out
  • Keeping the subject lines short makes them look better on mobiles
  • Personalize subject lines with recipients’ names

3. Include social sharing options

Include social sharing options
Include social sharing options

GetResponse has an interesting infographic of how email social buttons contribute to a massive increase in email click-through rate. It stated that emails that include social sharing buttons have a 158% higher click-through rate. The data comprised the clicks made on social media buttons and clicks made by whom emails reached via social sharing. The data is a bit old, but it still shows a big opportunity for email optimization.

And it is easy to implement too, most email service providers nowadays have a drag-and-drop builder so you can place your social sharing options conveniently. Our app AVADA Email Marketing is the proof! Even if your readers don’t want to click on your offer, they may know some friends who do. Let them share more easily with social sharing buttons, and watch a rise in your click-through rate.

4. Segment the email list

Segment the email list
Segment the email list

Do you send the same email to all subscribers on your list? If you do, it’s time to change the tactic. That’s because people won’t be interested in everything, so if you want to have a better click-through rate, you’d better send them relevant information. That means you need to segment your audience.

In addition to preventing you from annoying email recipients with irrelevant offers, list segmentation also allows you to offer a more targeted offer, which increases the likelihood that your readers will click on the link. In fact, research shows that marketers who segment their list enjoy 24% more leads, 18% more transactions, and 24% more revenue.

You can better segment your audience right from the website. Invite them to join a survey and ask which type of information they would like to receive. The more data available, the more relevant your emails can get, and the more likely people will take action. See the opt-in funnel example from Survival Life above for inspiration.

5. Personalize the content

Another way to increase your email campaign’s click-through rate is by personalizing the content. Studies show that marketers who use personalization to make their emails more relevant increase click-through rates by up to 139%!

One way to do this is to add the recipient’s name in the subject line and body copy of your email. By doing this, the emails look tailored to recipients’ needs and make the content more personal and relevant. This approach helped a B2B marketing team achieve a 17.3% increase in click-through rates.

Effective lead nurturing requires you to know about the purchase history, satisfaction score, download history, and website activity of your customers. This will help you offer the most relevant offers that will get more click-through due to the targeted nature of your emails.

6. Get the timing right

Timing is another important factor in the click-through rate of your email. If your email arrives when people don’t have time to check it out, they may never open it, not to mention clicking on a link.

Believe it or not, research from Spaceship suggests that people are more likely to open and click through on your email between 8 pm and midnight, wherever you are in the world. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Each person receives a lot of promotional emails each day. And 95% of those emails come between 9 and 5. So, why should you compete with millions of other businesses to get the attention of your recipients at the same time?

Frequency is also important for the email click-through rate. Send too few emails and people will forget who you are, so they won’t open and click. Send too many and you may go straight into the spam box.

7. Create urgency

Create urgency
Create urgency

One tactic that’s particularly effective for product marketers is to set limits on your offers. This forces readers to redeem the rewards quickly, increasing your clickthrough rate. But don’t feel like you are making them do something. If your email marketing is segmented well, you are offering them a product that fits their needs!

Try using the countdown timer with specific hours, minutes, and seconds until the sale ends. These eye-catching visual elements prompt the recipient to click through before they miss out. The example above from Harry’s is great not just for the timer but also for the popping design that makes subscribers can’t look away.

8. Highlight scarcity

Highlight scarcity
Highlight scarcity

Highlighting scarcity causes fear of missing out (FOMO), which encourages recipients to click-through. Try adding real-time alerts that show which of your items are running low to take advantage of this tactic.

But be careful of the words you use for scarcity. Words like ‘hurry’, ‘free’, ‘sale’ are often overused by eCommerce companies and can be immune to consumers. Ban.do grabs people’s attention with some items that are about to be gone, and that is just too good to miss.

The email above shows that recipients get free shipping and a free drink floaty for orders over $50. Offering freebies and highlighting the scarcity with power words is a smart move to sell more products. Plus, the tactic can convert prospects who don’t check discount codes often.

9. Make use of call-to-action

Make use of call-to-action
Make use of call-to-action

A good CTA will always win some clicks. For best results, give people one clear action to do when they read your email, and they are more likely to do it.

To start perfecting your call to action, you can:

  • Make sure your email is built on a single call to action in mind
  • Write compelling copy using language that is relevant for your target audience with action words
  • Test button style, text, size, and color for best click-through rate

CTA position is also really important to test for the best result. For example, Digital Donuts found that if you place CTA on the right side of an email, the click-through rates increase. However, always test to see what works best for your campaign.

10. Include a P/S

Include a P/S
Include a P/S

P/S in email is a great tactic for reminding an offer or grabbing the attention of email scanners (most of us are anyway). Subscribers’ eyes are naturally drawn to the visual call from the P/S section and it is a great opportunity for testing to check if your offers get more or less click-through when including it.

Besides, you never know how many people scroll to the very end of your emails without reading anything at the top or in the middle. So a P/S is going to score big time in getting these quick readers to click through.

11. Optimize your email format

The correct format can make a huge difference in whether people read your entire email or ignore it. And I don’t really need to remind you what will happen to your click-through rate if they don’t read.

Here are some formatting areas to optimize in your emails:

  • Create scannable content: If the email is long, break it into sections like a blog post, with subheadings for better readability.
  • Make sure your email has the right width: Being too wide or too narrow can leave a bad impression, and stop people from clicking on your links. You can solve this by having a responsive design that automatically adjusts to all screen sizes.
  • Have a mobile-friendly design: More people read emails on mobile devices than ever, so this is essential. Unoptimized emails will be abandoned immediately.
  • Avoid hiding key messages in images: If images are blocked by default, recipients will miss your information which makes them decide to click, and it is bad for accessibility too.
  • Follow the F-layout for content: It is how people scan an article, so try to front-load your emails and offer the most important content in the beginning.

12. Resend campaigns

If subscribers don’t open the first time, try sending it again. Giving your emails a resend can increase the chances of opening and clicking through. In fact, resending emails to those who don’t open can increase campaign open rates by 50%.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with a new subject line, plus you’ll definitely want to send your emails at a different time of day. This tactic can gain more extra openings and clicks than you imagine.

13. Refresh the email design

Refresh the email design
Refresh the email design

If the email design doesn’t seem to bring as much click-through as you expect, you can make your emails more persuasive with an inverted pyramid design. This is a way to structure your email which draws recipients in and motivates them to click on your call to action.

The main design elements of this tactic are:

  • A bold headline that highlights your value proposition
  • Images and messages that convince the benefit of clicking-through
  • A stand-out and compelling call to action

Besides that, you can test with a new button design, colors, or content length. The best thing about emails is that it is so cheap to test out different options. Stay with your brand design guideline and keep testing until you find out the best elements for your email marketing campaign. That is the way to improve your email click-through rate.

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Final advice

Now that you have read over thirteen tips to improve your email click-through rate, I hope you can see your engagement rate increase. When that happens, a spike in conversion is the natural follow-up. Of course, each campaign is different with different marketing goals. The next time you start a campaign, try to include one or two of the tips above and compare it to the previous campaign.

If you find that your performance improves, don’t stop! Add more tips and see even higher click-through rates. If something seems off, refine your list by removing unsubscribers and test again to see which tips can boost your email click-through rate.

Best of luck, and leave a comment if you want to share your strategies on increasing email click-through rate!

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.