Iuliia Nesterenko

Technical Writer

How to Build a CTA for an Email

How to Create a CTA for an Email

A call to action is an important element of the email campaign that makes it more efficient. It's hard to imagine promotional messages and transactional emails without a button - these elements are essential to grab customers' attention and encourage them to buy, read, visit the website, etc.

For advanced users, it is probably easier to create a button from scratch than to bother with editing a ready-made one. We've researched popular practices of design and CTA examples, and are sharing them below.

1. Image CTA

If you don't want to bother with the layout, or design of your email requires unique buttons with special characteristics, like shading, glowing, animation, gradients, or custom fonts, you can always use a CTA button created in the graphics editor. Such a button will be displayed the same everywhere, but some email clients may not upload it immediately. For example, Outlook blocks image uploading by default.

Call to action button examples

To enhance your design and add an innovative touch, consider integrating your logo or a key image into a QR code. This not only ensures visibility regardless of email client restrictions but also adds a creative element to your emails, making your call to action stand out. And don't forget to use ALT text for image buttons. Duplicate the name of your button and apply styles for Alt text formatting.

2. Campaign Monitor

The company has developed a tool to create buttons based on VML. VML supports the vector markup the same as HTML supports the text markup. It’s used for proper display of the button in MS Outlook.

Call to action examples

You can easily create such a button at buttons.cm. You only need to specify the original parameters, and the code will be automatically generated. Depending on the editor you plan to add the CTA to, you may have to edit it a bit.

Code sample:

<div><!--[if mso]>
  <v:roundrect xmlns:v="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" xmlns:w="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:word" href="http://company.com" style="height:35px;v-text-anchor:middle;width:120px;" arcsize="12%" stroke="f" fillcolor="#28b422">
      <a href="http://company.com"
  <!--[if mso]>

The button, however, has a lot of code. In Outlook, such a button looks good, but it's not universal because of its fixed size. It turns out that it needs to be constantly generated anew, changing sizes depending on the text length and font. Otherwise, the text will be split into two lines.

Create a CTA in a drag-n-drop editor

3. MailChimp

The company offers table-based buttons. You can find a sample button at Buttons.

CTA examples

Code sample:

<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="background-color:#28b422; border-radius:4px;">
    <td align="center" valign="middle" style="color:#FFFFFF; font-family:Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size:16px; font-weight:bold; letter-spacing:-.5px; line-height:150%; padding-top:10px; padding-right:10px; padding-bottom:10px; padding-left:30px;">
      <a href="http://company.com" target="_blank" style="color:#FFFFFF; text-decoration:none;">Read More Stories On Our Blog</a>

Note. This code works as intended only in MailChimp because it uses its styles. On other platforms, you may need to do some editing. For example, in our system, click the container and delete width=”100%” in its code. Set the background color of the container as it’s transparent by default.

Call to action marketing

Note that a click on such a button will work only if you click exactly the button text. The button also has a lot of code which means it will increase the size of the email.

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4. Our platform

We build our buttons wrapped in to create a border or shading around the button.

Code sample:

<td align="center" class="esd-block-button es-p10" style="" bgcolor="transparent">
<span class="es-button-border" style="border-width: 4px; background: rgb(40, 180, 34);">
<a href="http://company.com" class="es-button" target="_blank"
style="background: rgb(40, 180, 34); border-color: rgb(40, 180, 34);">Show more</a> </span> </td>

We don't set fixed-size buttons; that’s why they adapt to the entered text lengths and width.

The button borders around the text are configured as border widths of span. It enables the button to keep its volume in Outlook and not turn into a link with a colorful background. However, Outlook doesn’t support the CSS property border-radius, that’s why a rounded button in it will be displayed sharp-edged in Outlook.

Best call to action button

To add a button to the email, simply drag the block Button to the template.

Call to action email examples

You can configure button settings in a few clicks even without HTML knowledge:

  • link;
  • text;
  • text style and size;
  • color scheme of text, background, buttons;
  • alignment, border radius, width adjustment;
  • icon (not supported for Windows Outlook 2002, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019);
  • padding;
  • hide a button when opened on a particular device (PC, mobile);
  • layout (HTML, AMP or both);
  • event type (a click can automatically trigger a related workflow, for example, a welcome series after confirmation).

Email call to action

>> Watch How to Add a Custom CTA to an Email.

In addition, if the buttons in the email are the same, you can customize the design for all of them in Appearance > Button: colors, border radius, borders and font, and highlighting. To do this, enable Highlight hovered buttons and choose alternative colors which will appear instead of the main when being hovered over:

Call to action email examples

New buttons will be added with ready-made design and save time on the layout, but each of them can be edited separately if necessary.

Another useful option is Support of Outlook. It allows to convert a button in VML so that the design in this client is displayed as accurately as possible. For example, the border radius will remain rounded. Enable it if you have recipients reading emails in Outlook or in <9 IE.

Note that each such button can add up to 1 KB to the size of the email.

And here's how the button looks like without and with VML:

Best call to action button

That's it! Now you only have to come up with a nice catchy call.

By the way, we offer all our new users a free email template based on your company style to get started with the system in no time. The template also includes design for the main and additional buttons of your future campaigns.

Call to action marketing

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Iuliia Nesterenko

Technical Writer

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