7 Ways to Increase Email Marketing Click Through Rates

by Email Marketing

You’re pumped.

You’ve spent more time than you want to admit carefully crafting the perfect email subject line (after reading this article about writing better email subject lines, of course) to ensure your email makes to the inbox AND gets opened.

You’ve sent the email to your list of current and potential customers and you KNOW they’re interested – plus they already know, like and trust you. You’re just waiting for the sales/sign-ups/survey results to roll in.

Except nothing happens. 

Only 3 people took action from your email and clicked on your links and one of them was your mom (and she only joined your email list to support you. Moms are great.).

Sound familiar? What went wrong?

If you’ve ever sent an email promoting a product, service, event – anything – and didn’t get the response you were looking for, these 7 tips should help get you back on the right track.

#1 Every email should have one clear goal

Every email you send should have a goal. An action you want readers to take. A purpose.

If you send an email just to send an email, you’re going to dilute your brand. If readers are taking the time to open an email from you, make it worth their while.

Some common goals of emails are:

  • driving website traffic
  • encouraging survey responses
  • drumming up registrations for an upcoming event or fundraiser
  • promoting products
  • selling online courses

And the list goes on.

Thanks to something referred to as “Analysis Paralysis,” you should keep emails to having only one, clear goal.

The idea behind Analysis Paralysis is that when you provide someone with multiple options, rather than empowering them to make better choices since they have more options, it can subconsciously lead to greater fear of making the wrong decision.

This fear leads to overanalyzing the choices and halting the decision making process. This is true in both trivial matters as well as in more important decisions.

Do I take the survey or register for the event? Maybe I should send a reply and ask? I’ll just unsubscribe.

To eliminate analysis paralysis, limit the choices readers have.

Once you’ve chosen an end goal, make the email 100% about that goal (2 goals MAX) and nothing else. If you have multiple goals, consider breaking them up into multiple emails to be sent at a later date.

Whirlpool got a 42% CTR increase by changing the number of “Calls to Action” in its emails from 4 to 1.

You have a ton of amazing information you want to share with readers, but remember: if you give them too many options, they will choose no option.

#2 Give links their own lines

Over half of all emails are being opened on mobile devices which introduces a new factor to consider:

Mobile devices have smaller screens.

If your emails are not mobile-friendly or “responsive” this is a change you need to make ASAP. If your email marketing platform doesn’t offer mobile-friendly emails, look for a new provider.

In order to make links easier to click in emails being read on mobile devices, put links on their own lines.

Here is a desktop screenshot of an email I sent that had a 21.2% click through rate.

email marketing desktop example

Here is that same email, but viewed on a mobile device.

email marketing mobile example

You’ll notice I implemented the first tip from above by limiting the number of actions a reader can take – there is a single link.

The link I want my readers to click is also prominently displayed on it’s own line, which provides 2 big advantages:

  • it makes the link easy to click on any device (even if you have large thumbs!)
  • the link stands out much more against the other content

#3 Include the link more than once

Including the same link more than once in an email (twice is enough) is actually good practice.

By providing the link more than once, you’re increasing the opportunity for someone skimming the email to click.

Sometimes readers need to gain a little more information about the value of the link before they click it. Providing the link near the top and bottom of the email is a great way to make it convenient for readers to complete the desired action.

#4 Remove everything but the essentials

As consumers, we’re getting more picky with how we spend our time online.

As I mentioned in a previous video on how to boost reader engagement on your website with simple formatting changes, the formatting of content can go a long way to make it easy for readers to consume the content.

Give readers only the information they need so that they can quickly scan the information and make a decision. After all, the goal of the email is to get readers to go deeper.

A few suggestions:

  • make emails a single column
  • if you must use an image, use as few as possible
  • keep content precise and to the point. Don’t use 4 sentences if you can use 3

#5 Demonstrate the value

Taking the previous tip a step further, really hammer home the value you’re providing to readers.

Tell them why they should care.

Be clear on how completing the action in the email will help them. If you can provide examples of the benefits of the action, this a great place to do it.

John Lee Dumas over at Entrepreneur on Fire does a great job with this in his emails. Here is an example of an email I received from EoFire:

Right off the bat, readers are presented with the value John’s bringing: a simple solution for podcasting.

On top of that, this email does everything right:

  • it’s a single column so it’s easy to read
  • presents the value it’s offering
  • links are on their own line

If you want readers to actually take action in emails, tell them WHY!

#6 Use the PS section (Serial Position Effect)

One of the most powerful yet under-used sections of an email is the PS section.

It’s been around for a long time and while some marketers use it effectively, most do not.

In fact, TechCrunch detailed how Hotmail was about to use the PS section of it’s emails specifically to grow 3,000 accounts/day!

The reason the PS section is so powerful is because of something called the Serial Position Effect.

Serial Position Effect

The Serial Position Effect is:

the tendency of a person to recall the first and last items in a series best, and the middle items worst.

Since the PS section is found at the end of the email, it’s able to be more easily remembered and standout in the reader’s mind.

Here is an example from Rick Mulready from Social Media Examiner using the PS section of his email to create a sense of urgency as well as provide an additional link to his program:

Rick Mulready email PS example

A PS section is a great way to capture those readers that skim too. Use that PS section to your advantage!

#7 Act like a human being, not a rep

A survey performed by Software Analysis revealed that 65% of respondents preferred a casual or informal tone to a formal one in customer service emails.

People feel more comfortable interacting with other people. More so than interacting with brands.

They want to know there is a human being on the other end.

Even big brands and box stores are making their emails feel more personal and casual. By keeping your tone honest and casual, both you and your brand are going to resonate more with readers.

I’m not saying throw all of the formalities out the window – you should still maintain a level of professionalism. However, I recommend to find a balance between professional and casual.


If readers have taken the time to open the email you’ve sent, the next goal is to get them to take action! The tips outlined above should give you a great foundation on how to get started doing just that.

Did I miss anything? Have other tips/strategies of your own to increase email click through rates?

Drop them in the comments section and let’s continue the discussion!

Contributed by: Alex Brinkman

Alex is the owner and founder of Green Tree Media. For the better part of a decade, he has been helping organizations of all sizes create and grow their online presence and achieve their online goals. Aside from web design and development, Alex also has a passion for internet marketing, bio-hacking, motivational and inspirational quotes, giving strangers hi-fives and is pretty much addicted to obstacle course races.