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Email Click-through Rates

12 Winning Strategies to Boost Your Click-through Rates

You optimize your website… You A/B test your subject lines… You spend hours perfecting your sentences…. But you realize that your subscribers ar...

You optimize your website…

You A/B test your subject lines…

You spend hours perfecting your sentences….

But you realize that your subscribers are just not clicking through on your emails. Your click-through rate is in a sad, sorry state.

And if subscribers aren’t clicking through on your links, it means that your sales are likely suffering as well.

So how big of an email intervention do your click-through rates actually need?

Well, it depends on your numbers.

Your click-through rate is the percentage of people who clicked on a link in your email from the total number of people that opened it. It reveals how people are responding to the content of your email and if they find your content relevant enough to click-through for more.

Mailchimp’s 2017 benchmarks on email open rates by industry show click-through rates ranging from 1.25% in the restaurant industry to 5.13% in the hobbies sector. HubSpot’s benchmark studies place the median click-through rate at between 6-7% depending on the number of email campaigns sent and size of the company.

Look at the industry averages and compare your numbers with them. If you’re panicking or shaking your head in dismay, you’re not alone.

In a 2015 survey of 300 marketers, Ascend2 found that low email click-through rates were the single biggest challenge email marketers faced.

Every part of email template you created has a role to play. Your subject line sells the open. But what you do within your email and how you present your link, is what sells the click.

That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this post. By the end of this post, you’ll know 12 winning strategies to boost your email click-through rates.

#1 Have one primary call to action

Check this out and then do this and then do that

Ever received an email with several calls to actions?

Don’t have too many calls to action unless your email style is that of a curated newsletter. Because when you do, your most important one gets buried and your subscribers never take action on what you want them to.

Always define the primary purpose of an email before writing a single word.

Once you’ve done this, it’s easier to craft your email such that every single element is designed to lead your subscriber into taking that desired action.

Dropbox does this very well. Every single email they send is based on ONE primary call to action.


#2 Segment your list

Do you send your emails to everyone on your list?

Then it’s about time you stop.

Not every email or offer will be relevant to everyone on your email list. The purpose of segmentation is to avoid list exhaustion where you send too many emails or send emails that are irrelevant to your subscribers.

By segmenting your list, you’re able to tailor your content for different groups of subscribers. You can use what members of a segment have in common to deliver more relevant emails to that segment. You’ll not only enjoy higher click-through rates but sales as well. Research has shown that Marketers experienced a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns.

There are several ways to segment your email list but here are 3 simple ideas on how you can do so.

  1. Behavior-based on actions taken in emails – You create a segment of subscribers who have clicked on links in emails or a set of links related to a specific topic or clicked to sign up for specific events in an email.
  2. Entry Point – You create a segment based on what they opted into
  3. Self-selection – You create a segment based on what your subscribers have indicated as their topics of interest

#3 Clean your list

An email list decays by about 23% every year.

These include people who have stopped opening your emails or includes email inboxes that people have abandoned.

It’s in your best interest to delete these subscribers because:

  1. The higher the number of inactive subscribers you have, the lower your engagement rates will be. For instance, if 1500 recipients open your emails and you email 10,000 people, your open rate is 15%. If 4000 of those people are inactive and you decide to not email them, your open rate jumps to 25%. The sale goes for your click-through rate. You get a better picture of your stats and what content resonates more with your audience.
  2. The lower your opens and clicks, the lower your sender score or sender reputation. Each of the email delivery providers gives you a sender score. The lower it is, the higher the chances of your emails being placed in the promotion or junk folder. This even hurts the placement of your email in the inbox of subscribers who may be opening your emails.

How do you clean your list?

Step 1: Identify cold subscribers

Most email service providers help you maintain a cold subscriber list.  If yours doesn’t, create a segment of people who haven’t clicked or opened your emails over a 3-6-month period.

Step 2: Run a re-engagement campaign

Tag these subscribers as ‘Cold subscribers’. Remove this segment from any of your ongoing email campaigns. You will immediately see an increase in your open and click-through rates.

Then, craft a series of 2-3 emails letting this segment of subscribers know that they haven’t opened or engaged with your emails and ask if they would still like to be on your list.

Give them the option to stay on your list and to indicate their interest by clicking on a link. Anyone who doesn’t act on that email gets deleted off your list.

It’s not uncommon to have several thousand cold subscribers. Sidekick removed a whopping 38k subscribers who were not engaging with their content.

#4 Include a link more than once

Let’s be honest.

We all skim our emails. That’s one of the reasons you should include more than one link in your emails. Preferably in the top–middle–end–P.S. That’s how many you can include.

An unused P.S, in particular, is wasted email real estate. That’s one of the first places that skimmers look. Look at this email from Courtney Johnston of the Rule Breaker’s Club. She weaves in her link several times in the length of her email.


#5 Prime the click

What’s behind the click?

What transformational piece of information are they going to get?

What offer are they going to uncover?

Is there a compelling reason for them to want to click?

What exactly is the benefit?

Once you know this, it’s easier to improve your call to action phrases – the words you use just before the click-  that lead your subscriber to click through.

Here are some ways to do this.

Ask a benefit-driven question

For example,

  • If these are the questions on your mind, I help you answer them in the latest post: How to grow your tiny list with 29 simple but powerful tactics. (Click here to read my answer)
  • How do you make your freelance design term work harder for you without paying extra dollars? Click here to find out

Show Proof

For example,

  • This process increases opens by 3x. See how it works here
  • This template cuts my writing time in half. Get it for free here

Make them nod and say yes via a rhetorical question

For example,

Want to grow your list on steroids? Download this template for free

This is your last chance to get [name of offer]. I may never offer this again. Want to get rid of your traffic problems? Sign-up Now

#6 Use Video

According to research by Forrester, when marketers included a video in an email, the click-through rate increased by 200% – 300%.

Not all email clients support the ability to play video right in the inbox though. It’s likely yours doesn’t.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t give the illusion of a video in your subscriber’s inbox.

Having a play button on top of a static image is one of the best ways to link to video sales letters or video content hosted on sites like Vimeo and YouTube. See how Digital Marketer does so here.

digital marketer

#7 Use Button CTAs

Buttons always prompt readers to click. They stand out as well.

See how MarketingProfs uses a brightly colored button to prompt subscribers to click.


#8 Have an animated GIF

Using an animated GIF on your call-to-action button is another way to draw attention to it and compel subscribers to click. StoryBrand does this really well right at the top of their email.

animated GIF

#9 Use images to boost your click-through rate

Using images strategically can boost your email’s call to action. See how Amy Porterfield does this.

Amy Porterfield email

But remember that your plain text email has to make sense even if you remove your image because several email clients block images. One way around this is to use the alt-text – a short description that displays when a subscriber is unable to access an image. Most email marketing services let you easily fill this field for your images.

#10 Use trigger words in your call to action

Utilizing certain keywords in your call to action can trigger higher click rates. For instance, Copyblogger states that these are the 5 most persuasive words:






Keep a list of trigger words in your swipe file and collate them over time by analyzing your email campaign data. Use them in your call to action to enjoy a boost in click-through rates.

#11 Create Urgency

Subscribers need to clearly know when your offer or sale period ends. Create a sense of urgency so that they are prompted to buy now rather than later by using words such as ‘Hurry! Offer Ends Soon’ or ‘Last Chance’. You can also use a countdown timer in your emails to emphasize urgency. Here’s an example from CreativeLive.

creativelive email

#12 Make sure your emails are mobile optimized

In June 2018, mobile opens accounted for 46% of all email opens. 75% of all Gmail users access their email on mobile devices.

Give your readers a pleasant mobile reading experience. To ensure that your emails render the same way across different email clients and devices, keep your emails simple.

Remove distractions from your email template. Resist the urge to add complicated designs.

Plan your email’s layout well so that the reader is naturally drawn toward your call to action.

How do click-through rates affect your business

Don’t end up paying lip-service to vanity metrics without knowing how they directly affect your business.

Is it ok if subscribers throw heaps of engagement at you but never buy from you at all?

Is it ok if they click-through and never buy? It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security but always see the bigger picture and the impact it brings to your business. Remember these 12 tips to boost your click-through rates!

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Meera Kothand

Meera is a certified email marketing specialist, blogger and a self-professed email nerd. She blogs over at MeeraKothand.Com where she helps bloggers and solopreneurs create authentic blogs and businesses minus the sleaze to build an unmissable online presence. Her speciality: She simplifies marketing strategy with no-fluff, direct and actionable advice and a smattering of tough love.

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