6 Underused CTAs to Include in Your Email Marketing

Rachel Leist
Rachel Leist



email-arrowYou probably know you should have a big, standout call-to-action (CTA) in every email marketing message you send. But do you know that there's a lot of different opportunities for CTA placement and type, beyond that same old "Download Now!" button you're used to?

While it may be a bit frightening to include CTAs other than a big, bold redemption button, CTA variety is actually critical for improving your email engagement, which can result in a wider funnel through email marketing and higher net new lead gen.

With that in mind Let's nestle in and get creative, folks. Here are some primary and secondary call-to-action opportunities to consider in your email marketing, all taking different forms that you might not have thought of.

1) Include text CTAs.

When someone thinks of a CTA, they normally think of a button or graphic that's used to help people take action. But CTAs don't have to be visual; they can actually just be text. You can choose whether you want to link that text to something else -- or just have it be a statement.

For example, if you're running an email campaign to follow up with a group of people who have done a demo but not purchased your product, you may want to send out a personal email from your sales rep following up with them. (Note: You can send an email campaign like this using HubSpot so your sales reps don't have to do this individually). A CTA that's as simple as "Please send me an email at xyz@company.com and we can set up a time to chat" may be a good way to ask your leads to take that next step in your buyer's journey. 

This type of CTA can be a great way to help you qualify your leads. If someone takes that extra step to call you or email you back asking to hear additional information, you can bet your sales team is going to be interested in continuing that conversation. .

2) Add CTAs to signatures.

Email signatures are often forgotten landscape that can be used for CTAs. That could mean including your Twitter handle within your signature and linking to your Twitter profile, including your company's phone number, or even promoting registration for an event or webinar that's coming up. (If you regularly communicate with anyone at HubSpot, for example, you may notice many signatures rocking an INBOUND 2014 registration call-to-action.)

When deciding what type of CTA to add to your signature, think about the content of the email and the placement of the CTA. Ideally this secondary CTA will either align with the subject matter of the email (if you're sending an email about a social media ebook, you offer registration to a social media webinar), or be general enough to be interesting to anyone (like INBOUND registration).

3) Link your images to landing pages or blog posts.

Here's something we learned over the past couple years -- people love clicking images.

With that information, we've learned that images can do more for your email marketing than just be a visual cue to the contents of the offer you're promoting, or draw the eye to where you want your reader to go. They can actually help improve the conversion rates of your email -- particularly when the image in your email has a natural tie-in to the offer you're promoting.

For instance, if you're promoting a checklist in your email message and you include an image of a checklist in that email, it's natural for readers to think they could click that checklist to redeem the offer. Yes, even if you have a big colorful "Get Your Checklist" button in the email. So link that image to your checklist landing page!

You can see an example of this in action in the image below -- a linked PowerPoint presentation (that looks like, conveniently, a presentation). And yes, I've linked the image in this post, too.


Solving for how the reader might act, instead of how you want them to act, can help you improve conversion rates across all your marketing, email included.

4) Make it easy to email or forward your message.

A lot of people get confused about using email to generate leads. And for good reason. If you're already sending them marketing emails, they're already a lead. Nurturing tem via email can only help you create opportunities and customers, right?

While email is typically used for nurturing leads into customers, including calls-to-action to email your messages to a friend can help you generate new leads with your email marketing, too. Some people will forward on their own, to be sure, but including specific CTAs within your email to forward can help even more people take action.

In the example below, you can see that we made it as easy as possible to send an email to a colleague. It even states what the email preview will look like so you have a complete understanding of what will happen when you click the "Email this to a Colleague" link or button. Also notice that there is a text link and button, appealing to different people who prefer one over the other.


5) Include social sharing buttons.

Social sharing buttons and links are a quick and easy way to encourage people to share the content of your email. Just as you need to make it as easy as possible to encourage your readers to forward your content to a colleague, you should make it as easy as possible to allow your readers to share content on social media.

Using HubSpot's email tool, you can quickly and easily add social sharing buttons to your emails. Simply insert a link that you want to share on social media, and pick the channels that you want to include on your emails. HubSpot will automatically format it to the different social networks, making it easy for you to promote your content on social media -- but also easy for your audience to share this content.


6) Optimize your preview text.

When you open your inbox, you see a list (a loooong list, usually) of your emails. Along with that list of emails is preview text letting you see part of the email, to give you more details about what it's about so you can decide whether or not you want to open it.


But did you know that that preview text isn't necessarily the first line of your email? You can actually customize it to make it more action-oriented. 

Think about the ideal copy (it's got to be short) you want your audience to see that will encourage them to open the email. Remember, it may not necessarily be the first couple lines of your email; it could actually be something much farther down in the email, maybe a portion that highlights your call-to-action. Treat your preview text as an opportunity to present your readers with another call-to-action -- one to open your email in the first place.

What other CTAs do you use in your email marketing, beyond the typical primary redemption button?

free examples of effective calls-to-action

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