How to Increase Click-Through Rate in Email Marketing?

How to increase click-through rate in email marketing

Around 53% of email marketers struggle with low click-through rates. So, if you’re wondering why more people aren’t opening your emails or why your email campaign isn’t as effective as you thought it would be, you aren’t alone. 

Luckily, there are plenty of tested strategies you can use to make your click-throughs go the other way around. Want to know what’s what? 

Let’s talk about how to increase click-through rate in email marketing, what causes it to be so low in the first place, and how Campaign Refinery can help. 

What Is the Email Click-Through Rate?

The email click-through rate (CTR) measures the number of email recipients who engage with your email by clicking on a link, a call to action (CTA), or an image.

When businesses send out their emails, they want to prompt recipients to perform a specific action upon opening the email. This may range from participating in a survey to making a purchase.

To achieve this goal, emails typically include a CTA. This encourages recipients to interact with the email by clicking on a link. Each time a recipient clicks on a link, they’re directed to a webpage, landing page, abandoned shopping cart, or another relevant destination to complete the intended action, contributing to the email’s CTR. 

You might also come across the term “click-to-open rate.” While it’s sometimes used interchangeably with the click-through rate, experts like to differentiate between the two. 

Click-Through Rate vs. Click-To-Open Rate: What’s the Difference?

Another closely related (but different) metric you might come across is the click-to-open rate. Here is how it’s different from the click-through rate.

The click-through rate measures the number of people who click a link, an image, or a CTA in an email. It considers the total number of clicks within an email divided by the total number of emails delivered.

The click-to-open rate is different. It measures the number of clicks out of the number of opens. So, it considers the number of unique clicks to unique opens.

People may realize that your product or service is not for them. So, they do not click on the advertisement or link in the email, which could cause your click-through rate to drop, but keep your click-to-open rate high.

How to Find Out Your Click-Through Rate?

You can easily find out your CTR by looking at the metrics dashboard of your email campaign tool — Campaign Refinery clients have this option readily available. But if the nerd within you gets the better of you, you can use the following formula for a manual calculation:

CTR = (Number of people who clicked on a link/total number of successfully delivered emails) x 100.

For instance, let’s say you’ve sent emails to 5,000 people, and out of those, 4,800 have been successfully delivered. Now, 200 people engaged with your emails and followed the link to your landing page. 

In this case, you can calculate your CTR by the following calculation:

CTR = 240/4,800 x 100 = 5%

So, your CTR would be 5%, which is considered excellent. 

Why Is CTR Important? 

The click-through rate (CTR) represents the ratio of link clicks to link impressions. It indicates that your link or ad is getting attention and diverting traffic to your site. This means more conversions and revenue for you. 

However, that’s not the only reason.

Your CTR is also an indicator of your email performance. So, if you have a low CTR, it may indicate that your headline or copy isn’t compelling or you’re targeting the wrong demographics. 

But what should be the average CTR you should aim for? That’s a tricky question to answer. 

What Is a “Good” Email Click-Through Rate?

The average email CTR falls from 1% to 5%. But a “good” email click-through rate is considered to be above 3%. 

However, email CTR depends on the industry your business is in, as well as your budget, goals, and audience size. Let’s understand what it looks like for different industries: 

IndustryAverage Click-Through Rate
Agriculture and Food Services2.94%
Architecture and Construction2.51%
Arts and Artists2.95%
Beauty and Personal Care1.92%
Business and Finance2.72%
Computers and Electronics2.08%
Creative Services/Agency2.66%
Daily Deals/E-Coupons2.23%
Education and Training2.90%
Entertainment and Events2.36%
Health and Fitness2.69%
Home and Garden3.03%
Marketing and Advertising2.04%
Media and Publishing4.62%
Medical, Dental, and Healthcare2.49%
Music and Musicians2.94%
Photo and Video3.23%
Professional Services2.55%
Public Relations1.98%
Real Estate1.77%
Recruitment and Staffing2.53%
Restaurant and Venue1.40%
Social Networks and Online Communities3.32%
Software and Web App2.45%
Travel and Transportation2.25%
Vitamin Supplements1.62%
Click-through rate per industry, percentage. Source

It’s a good idea to aim for a CTR equal to or higher than these averages.

5 Reasons Why Your Click-Through Rate Is Low

If you’re one of those 53% of people struggling with a low CTR, here are five reasons you may be running into this issue:  

1. Using Images That Don’t Load

Research shows that visuals boost a person’s inclination to dive into a piece of content by a whopping 80%. Simply put, blending images with text gives the most effective results for your email — and is an easy way to experience improved email click-through rates. 

However, if your images don’t load because they’re too large or aren’t displayed on your audience’s screen properly, you’ll lose that 80% increase in interest. Plus, your CTA — if you added it to an image — goes down the drain. 

2. Sounding Too Sales-y

If your every email begins like “this is too good, buy it now” and doesn’t justify WHY your product or service is great, you’ll see people open your email and then not click through. Why? Because your hyped-up language won’t make people trust you. 

And your CTR will fall even lower if you don’t warm up your prospective customers a bit. So, if you’re writing an email to promote a product or service, familiarize your prospect with what you’re offering before you go for the sale. 

Also, instead of making your product sound like the greatest thing since Google, show people evidence that it is actually good. You can use statistics, case studies, client recommendations, and what you think can help, even videos! That’s exactly how to increase email click-through rates consistently!

3. Creating Unhelpful CTAs  

“Buy now,” “Get it today,” “Sign up,” and “Subscribe now” are some of the many unhelpful CTAs you see in copy across the internet. While they seem okay at first glance, they aren’t helpful because most people aren’t looking to perform an action instantly. 

So, when people come across these CTAs, they don’t click on them — not even if you’re giving a free e-book and all your insights — which leads to low CTR. This makes it crucial to get your CTAs right on the first try. 

Here’s how you can do that: 

  1. Ask yourself WHY your prospect would want this offer.
  2. Now complete this sentence: “I want to ….”
  3. Use the clause after the verb to create your CTA. 

4. Not Cleaning Your Lists

Email lists naturally decay by 22.5% every year. So, if you have 1,000 emails in your list, 225 will become invalid annually. If you don’t do anything about this degradation, such as performing a cleaning, your CTR will fall off a cliff. 

But how can you clean your list? You’ve got two options: 

  1. Use your email engagement tool to find unengaged contacts and remove them. If you’re using Campaign Refinery, you won’t have to do this manually. We have a built-in list cleaning tool that automatically removes undeliverable, malformed, bot, spam trap, disposable, and other risky email addresses from your list. This increases the average customer open rate by 37%.
  2. Use an email verification tool to clean your list.

Once you’ve cleaned your list, you’ll be left with people who will actually receive your emails, which can lead to a higher CTR. 

5. Not Working On Your Preview Line

The preview line of your email determines whether or not people will read it, so you have to make it count.

For instance, check out how Alex Garcia’s preview text hints at how Ridge used YouTube to scale to $100M. That’s interesting because YouTube isn’t a channel frequently used to scale businesses.  

How to increase click-through rate illustration
Alex Garcia’s preview text hints at how Ridge used YouTube to scale to $100M

When we click the email, it walks us through the case study and helps us learn exactly how Ridge used YouTube to reach that $100M+ business value. Alex has used an open loop by giving his readers a teaser of what he will be talking about, which prompts them to open the email. 

This means email clickthrough rates can be improved by focusing on your preview line. So, if your emails aren’t using the preview text to increase curiosity, it may be causing you to miss out on the benefits of your CTR. 

How to Increase Click-Through Rate in Practice?

Now that we’ve covered why your CTR is through the floor, let’s figure out how to point it in the other direction: 

1. Optimize for Mobile 

Around 41% of email views come from mobile devices. So, if your emails look awesome on a desktop but are difficult to navigate, cluttered, or cut off on mobile, you’ll lose at least one-third of your audience.  

Fortunately, just a simple preview on mobile can solve this issue. Here’s what to do:

  • Make sure your layout invites your audience to click through. 
  • Look at your chosen font size on mobile. Is it legible? If not, make it bigger. 
  • Ensure all links are working properly and aren’t broken. You should test this on different browsers and email clients to get a feel of any possible restrictions. 
  • Double-check the loading speed of any images and videos. You don’t want these to not display when somebody opens your email. 

Also, while you’re at it, you should also give your CTA a last glance. If it doesn’t prompt action or isn’t interesting enough, change it. An external opinion, such as a friend, a manager, or a beta tester, would be helpful in this case. 

2. Nail Your Subject Lines

The subject line of your email sets the tone of your efforts because your readers need to open your email before they ever engage with it. But how do you write a killer subject line? Here’s what to do: 

  • Make sure your subject line explains why your email matters or gives the reader a reason to explore your message further. 
  • Ensure your subject line is 50 characters or less because most email clients don’t show subject lines longer than that. 
  • Ask questions. 
  • Don’t use words like “percent off,” “reminder,” and “help” because they’ve been shown to be bad for open rates. 
  • Try to ensure your subject lines convey information but with personality. 
  • Use emojis and symbols to make your emails stand out. 

Once you’ve made sure your subject line checks all these points, perform an A/B test. Send two emails containing the same content but having different subject lines. Which one has a higher CTR? Choose the one that makes a bigger splash. 

3. Use the Preview Text Effectively 

Every two in ten people look at the preview text to understand what an email is about before they ever decide to open it. Here’s what it looks like: 

How to increase click-through rate illustration
Effective use of Preview Text in email

The preview text ranges from 40 to 140 characters and helps readers understand what they’ll learn from your email. It is often pulled from your email content. Campaign Refinery clients are able to edit this text themselves, thanks to our special features.

If your email marketing software gives you this option, you can add the following to the preview text line: 

  • Email summary
  • CTA
  • Second subject line. 

3 Ways to Make Your Email More Clickable

Now that you’ve ensured that people actually open your emails, let’s figure out how to keep them clicking: 

1. Don’t Beat Around the Bush

Instead of cramming everything about a subject in one email, spread your talking points over several emails. And with people’s attention spans being the lowest ever, you haven’t got enough time to sketch a story. 

So, be direct and remove anything that doesn’t add to your email. In other words, kill your darlings and get straight to that link. 

2. Include a Clear CTA

A call-to-action is what gets you that click-through. If your call to action is non-specific, your CTR is going to be middling. For instance, if you’re offering a yearly report to your audience, you may get a better CTR with “Download Your Report” than with “Download Now.” 

Aside from that, make sure your CTA is near the top of your email so people see it first. This doesn’t mean you should just shoehorn it at the beginning. Instead, you should add it naturally to the first 40% of your email. 

3. Get the Timing Right  

If you send emails in the middle of the night expecting that people will see them in the morning, that may not work. Similarly, sending emails in the evening may not work either — because people may not check their emails after work. 

So, getting the timing of your emails right is crucial. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all time range you should stick to. However, here’s how you can make your life easier: 

  • Send your emails during the sweet spot between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Most people check their emails during this period. 
  • Use an A/B test to understand when your readers are most active. You’ll most likely be getting more clicks at certain times of the day. Make that your baseline. 

Plus, stick to a regular email schedule that fits your organization’s goals and workload. It might mean one email a month or one a week, depending on what works best for you.

Fuel Brand Growth with Campaign Refinery  

With the average person getting 121 emails on average, getting people to open your email is hard enough. So, it’s understandable that prompting them to click through is like pushing a boulder uphill. 

However, there are many ways you can get your CTR rolling as you’ve seen. But they are only one puzzle piece of the game. You also need to use email marketing solutions to track your campaign. 

And that’s where Campaign Refinery can help

With our platform, you can ensure your emails land in your recipients’ inboxes every single time — and at the right time. We help you control every aspect of your email campaign, from the preview text to the delivery method, helping you beat the average CTR of your industry. In fact, we’re so good at it that we work only with the best senders out there.

Check out our pricing and apply to join our excellent group of clients!

And we aren’t shy about sharing what we’ve learned. If you’re struggling to reach the inboxes of your recipients or don’t know why your copy isn’t working, we’ve touched every point in our Inbox Formula guide, a practical walk-through filled with our core strategies.

And you can get it – for free – because we love to share: Get the Inbox Formula here.

Nab it, consume it, and put it into practice. 

Until then, happy emailing! 

Written by Eilaf Meenai

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