Iuliia Nesterenko

Technical Writer

Effective Email CTAs that Generate Clicks

Effective Email CTAs that Generate Clicks: Useful Tips & Great Examples

A well-designed call to action (CTA) is a real motivation booster that invites people to continue the conversation with your brand and evolve from a visitor into a customer. It stimulates faster decisions, builds up a sales funnel, enables your audience to engage with your company, and serves as the finishing touch of your campaign.

Being such a great multitasker, no wonder a CTA is one of the key email campaign elements most businesses routinely test for optimization, according to Marketing Sherpa.

Key email campaign elements most businesses routinely test for optimization

And many of these tests suggest there are 3 elements that determine the success of any CTA:

  • message;
  • design;
  • placement.

What Makes a Great Email Call to Action


A CTA button space is often limited to a short phrase. When it comes to an email, the limit doubles. The message length typically allows you to choose two or three clear and compelling words to get the job done, so you need to make a wise choice. Short and clear, a message by a CTA should include active words like buy, get, join, visit, as well as describe the benefits of the promoted action. Guarantee, free, results, gift, new, learn, improve, etc. - give a CTA more value. Get more tips instead of Subscribe states benefits rather than directly orders to act, yet the outcome is as effective.

Another technique to do the wording right is to use impactful language that creates a sense of urgency and induce to act fast. Such urgent words as now, today, last, expire, limited, only encourage clicks from those who don’t like to miss out on any opportunity.

To make people related to the offer the CTA promotes, include in the copy personal pronouns like I, me, or my. Such first-person language as I’m in or I want a free demo makes a call to action more relatable and is hard to ignore.

Here is a short list of the most common email button CTAs you may consider using in your campaigns, with a necessary upgrade, if needed.

CTAs to Subscribe:

  • Sign In;
  • Subscribe now;
  • Join us;
  • Join our team;
  • Enter the team;
  • Welcome on board;
  • I’m in;
  • Count me in;
  • Ready to subscribe;
  • Jump in;
  • Join 233,000 other subscribers;
  • Become one of the 23,451 people who subscribe to our blog;
  • Join the club!
  • Join the movement;
  • Register now.

CTAs to Shop:

  • Shop now;
  • Shop our summer collection;
  • Shop arrivals;
  • Get it now;
  • Shop our best sellers;
  • Shop sales;
  • Get 50% off now;
  • Act now;
  • Save today;
  • Buy now;
  • Buy it today;
  • Yes! I want one;
  • Take my money;
  • Order now;
  • Repeat your order;
  • Claim your discount;
  • Reveal my mystery coupon;
  • Start saving today;
  • Don’t delay. Save now;
  • See the best deals;
  • Redeem my prize;
  • Get 50% off now;
  • Grab your freebies now;
  • Shop for the clothes you want;
  • Get the style you want;
  • Get your winter wardrobe;
  • Get free shipping;
  • Free gift with purchase.

CTAs to Find Information:

  • Learn more;
  • Read our blog;
  • Read our articles;
  • Find more tips;
  • I need useful tips;
  • I need advice;
  • Get free advice;
  • Download e-book;
  • Read more;
  • Curious? Read on;
  • Download now;
  • Keep reading;
  • Read the full story;
  • Hear our story;
  • Hear from our CEO;
  • Watch now;
  • Find out how;
  • See how your business benefits;
  • I want to learn more.

CTAs for the Holidays:

  • Find holiday gifts;
  • Shop Santa’s favorites;
  • Shop all Halloween;
  • Add holiday vibes;
  • Get it before Christmas;
  • Send love;
  • Send your mom a gift;
  • You deserve it;
  • Happy birthday;
  • Let’s celebrate;
  • It’s time to celebrate;
  • Click to start celebration;
  • Spread holiday cheer;
  • Claim your birthday coupon;
  • Shop birthday deals;
  • Yes! I want my birthday deal.

CTAs for Service Promotion:

  • Book your next appointment;
  • Book cheaper now;
  • Activate your free trial today;
  • Start your free trial;
  • Act before it’s too late;
  • Schedule consultation;
  • Send me lessons;
  • Upgrade now;
  • Yes! I want a free upgrade;
  • Get your discount before it’s gone!
  • Make me a VIP;
  • Don’t miss out!
  • Limited quantities available!
  • Sign up and save;
  • Start now. Get results;
  • Reserve your seat;
  • Become a master;
  • Make it happen;
  • Book your tickets;
  • I’m coming!
  • I’ll be there!
  • Book now for early bird prices;
  • Sign me up;
  • Save me a spot;
  • Register for our webinar;
  • Start your journey.

CTAs to Collect Feedback:

  • Complete our 5-minute survey;
  • Now it’s your turn;
  • Have your say;
  • Take a survey;
  • Leave a review;
  • Give us your feedback;
  • Let us know your opinion;
  • Tell us what you think.

Create emails with powerful CTAs


Some advice suggests your call-to-action button should be short and laconic; some say it should stand out and catch the eye. We say that a CTA should match the general tone of the email. That means your CTA design solutions should complement the email copy and serve its embodiment. Bright and glittering campaigns need to have as bright calling buttons; smooth and unicolor messages don’t need to create visual cacophony with acid colors.

Picking a unique color rarely used in your emails before is a good idea as long as it keeps the color balance right. Picking the right size carries as much significance: to make sure you’ve come up with the appropriate button size, preview your email to see how it looks on the desktop and in mobile devices. For example, in the our  system it takes one click to ensure your CTA is displayed as intended:

How to preview a CTA in the email in the our system

You can go beyond size and color, and experiment with fonts and dynamic elements, for example GIFs. One text style used for both the email body and CTA buttons would make your campaign look like a monolithic piece. In times of so intense competition, you need to make use of everything capable of giving you advantage over competitors, and a well-thought design definitely belongs to this everything.


As with any other element of the email, disputes over the best place to put a call to action keep going, and it doesn’t seem like some agreement would soon be reached. Two main opinions suggest that you need to

  • put a CTA on top for subscribers to notice it without scrolling down;
  • place it at the bottom to avoid being too aggressive and pushy from the first seconds.

The truth is, as always, somewhere in between. Figure out what placement ensures the most convenient and logical interaction with your campaigns. If the purpose of the email is easily understandable from the very first sentence (for example, you ask to subscribe), it makes sense to position a CAT above. However, if your offer needs extra explanation (for example, you propose to upgrade an app), put a call to action after you enlist all the reasons how people can benefit from it.

You can consider putting several calls to action, but avoid being too clingy. Although multiple CTAs provide more options to get engaged and choose the best offer, their usage in email marketing requires balance. Coming across four calls to action per two paragraphs, people may feel a bit overwhelmed. If you want to provide several CTAs, give them a different message, color, size: they should have different weight rather than be complete duplicates.

CAT in Email Marketing: How Major Brands Do It

Now we’re moving to the best part - cool examples and winning techniques by the most original companies around. Some of them gave standard CTAs a fresh update, and some went really creative with a custom design. Yes, an original design requires time and effort, but according to Hubspot, a smart (custom) CTA converts 202% better than default (standard) versions. A good motivation to go beyond Subscribe or Buy Now, isn’t it?

Conversion rate by CTA types

Short CTA Buttons in Email

  • Go Hunting

Using the same language, the CTA correlates with the message in the email body and gives it playful vibes.

Short CTA button examples: go hunting


  • Float On

Even not knowing that Oru Kayak designs folding kayaks, one can learn from their CTA that these folks are somehow related to water activities.

Short CTA button examples: float on


  • Peel out and shop

The CTA color resonates with the central image of the email and contains the upgraded option of default Shop.

Short CTA button examples: peel out and shop


  • Reveal More

The image and the CTA make one composition: it’s not easy to visualize such phrase as Reveal More, but a fortune cookie by J.Crew did the trick.

Short CTA button examples: reveal more


  • Get Started

Billie employed a rather creative approach towards a usual button. Their razor release looks like an art performance rather than a commercial promo. The color of the product is incorporated in the CTA, making it a logical continuation of the offer.

Short CTA button examples: get started


  • Explore the Looks

This is a non-direct CTA that invites instead of directing. Looks like Lancome only wants you to check the makeup ideas for Halloween, with no purchase intended.

Short CTA button examples: explore the looks


  • Treat Yourself

This we-miss-you email by Missguided is designed in a non-aggressive style and pastel colors, and so is a petite CTA Treat Yourself. No extra images, no bright colors, no complex structures - just plain text, cute emojis, and as cute call.

Short CTA button examples: treat yourself


  • Dig In

Short doesn’t mean boring - proved by Rue La La. And the best part about this campaign is a perfect color match of every element.

Short CTA button examples: dig in


  • Choose Your Friends

This is how you kill two birds with one stone: with one email, Harry’s reminded of their existence and potentially collected new email addresses.

Short CTA button examples: choose your friends


  • HI-YAH!

Who would have thought that Start Now can have such an unexpected yet perfect synonym.

Short CTA button examples: hi-yah


Long CTA Buttons in Email

  • Get It Before The Weekend

A sense of urgency + humor make perfect ingredients for the last offer campaign by Chubbies.

Long CTA button example by Chubbies


  • Shop the Halloween Boo-tique

Modcloth used basic elements of an event-triggered email: a recognized holiday-themed symbol, a GIF, play of words in the email body, play of words in the CTA.

Long CTA button example by Modcloth


  • Log In to Unwrap Your Gift

Folks from Fundbox went beyond a simple Get Gift, and made their CTA Christmas-themed as well.

Long CTA button example by Fundbox


  • Get on the Guest List

This CTA makes you feel as a guest, not a customer. And it’s psychologically more convenient to accept a friendly offer rather than respond to a commercial.

Long CTA button example by Zoom


Multiple CTA Buttons in Email

  • Sharing is caring by Bombas: simple steps to follow, simple CTAs to click on.

Multiple CTA button example by Bombas


  • Four calls to action with different purposes let subscribes skip the irrelevant information and get straight to what they’re most interested in at the moment.

Multiple CTA button example by Gogobot


  • All three CTAs by Charity Water aim to tell new subscribers about their organization. This is a smart choice for a welcome email: introduction first.

Multiple CTA button example by Charity Waters


  • Don’t need a coupon, move on to reading. Not interested in our articles, tell us why. This welcome email not only serves its main function of actually welcoming, but also performs a role of a feedback request.

Multiple CTA button example by Rei


  • At first, Stylist Live provided the extensive info on the event, its focus, speakers and location, and only then suggested to see more sessions or buy.

Multiple CTA button example by Stylist Live


All these great examples prove that a small change in a CTA can make a difference. Most probably, you’re also a subscriber to some blogs or newsletters, so ask yourself as a customer - what buttons I’d be likely to click on.

Last post

Like your overall email marketing strategy, the type of CTA you’d put in emails depends on your industry, audience, and campaign purpose, but the variety of CTAs listed above can help you get started. Next, it’s up to testing and trying new things: find out what CTA makes the best impact on your audience.

And of course in the article on CTAs, we couldn’t help but put our own - you can subscribe to our blog by clicking on the one you like the most.

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Iuliia Nesterenko

Technical Writer

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