The Email Marketing Click-Through Rate Explained

Your Click-Through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who received your email over the people who clicked on any link in that email. For most product or service campaigns, it can be used to measure your campaign’s performance in terms of recipient interest or response.



Why it’s Important

If your email’s goal is to get recipients to click a link (say, for more information or to buy your product on a website), it’s a pretty accurate representation of audience interest in your email’s offering.



Most campaign reporting applications track not only the total number of clicks, but also break down clicks by each unique link. By analyzing which links got more clicks, you can fine tune your design to maximize clicks, and to make sure that readers are clicking on your target Call to Action. It’s a handy distinction if you’re featuring more than one link in your emails.


Why it’s Not Foolproof

Some Emails are the End of the Road
In some cases, your email’s goal may not require a click. Your email could be a sales confirmation for a flight, a movie, or a new computer. In those cases, your goal may not include clicking on a link to complete your email’s interaction.

A Lack of Clicks Doesn’t Always Mean a Lack of Sales
For example, if you’re selling something available in more places than just your website. For example, a manufacturer of Bluetooth speakers might sell them in retail outlets as well as in their own online store. In that case, a recipient may not click on a link, but opt instead to go into a store to buy the speakers.



Click-Through Rates are Super Low
Don’t be discouraged by low Click-Through Rates. Industry average Click-Through Rates are even lower than traditional direct mail response rates. Aim to improve your own Click-Through Rate by refining your message, your design, and your email lists. (MailChimp has a great roundup of CTR averages by industry.)

Practice Link Clarity
Make sure your links stand out from the rest of your email’s text with visual cues with underlining or a different color. Link text should reveal exactly what the recipient should expect if they click on the link.

Focus on Call to Action Links
‘Call to Action’ (CTA) is a fancy term for telling your recipient how and why to take the next step. (Read more about CTA’s in my previous post.)

Use a Button Graphic. Buttons are pretty much universally recognized as an action trigger. They visually define a CTA as an action, and act as great motivators for recipients.

Play With Your CTA Text. Instead of ‘Click Here,’ try to be more personal and specific to the recipient, and never forget that an exciting tone can be infectious. Consider CTA button wording like, ‘Take me to the Savings!’ or ‘I Want to Learn More About Awesome Widgets!’

CTA Placement Matters. Aim for instant impact. Place your CTA toward the top of your email so it’s within your recipients’ viewport the instant they open your email. And if it helps with the logical flow of your email, repeat the button under your Body Copy.