E-Mail Marketing: 10 Tips for a Higher Click-through Rate

Every day we hear or read the disbelief in responses from people who send email marketing campaigns. “Are there only so few people clicking on a link?” “Are there only this many people who read my emails?”. Often they simply give up on email marketing altogether.

However, email marketing is not dead. In fact, it’s very much alive. It remains the marketing tactic with the highest ROI. We’ve dedicated a blog post to this before. Of course, we’re not going to lie here: not all recipients will open your email and, only a small percentage of those will click through to your website or landing pages. The percentages do vary per industry, and from company to company. But you still score better with email marketing than with other channels. And maybe you can boost those results even more. 

So we’d like to share with you 10 tips for a higher click-through rate.

1 – Personalize

It starts with collecting data from your target audience. Make sure you have names, so you can use those to speak directly to those people in your campaigns. Don’t forget about the GDPR rules though. Try also to get other personal data can help you personalize your emails if it’s relevant for your business, like their city or a company name.

Personalise your emails

But you can also dive deeper into personalization: for example event-driven emails. Those are emails that you send based on an action taken by the recipient. This could be for example a subscription to your emails, an online order or an email with birthday wishes. You send those messages at a time that is very relevant to your recipient. The return is much higher than your average newsletter, because it’s much more personalized. They have much higher  click-through rates. In terms of return on investment, this will definitely create a lot more value.

2 - Responsive design

Not only websites need to be responsive. More and more people read their emails on their mobile phones. So your email should also be responsive. By focusing on that you make it easier for your recipient to understand what your message is all about and to read your emails. For example, you can put columns below each other or delete images to make your emails easy to read even on mobile devices.

3 – Don’t make an image a call-to-action

A lot of email clients only download the images in an email when they specifically ask for it. By default, they see only alt text. Your message will initially show up without any images. If your most important piece of content, your call-to-action, is embedded in an image, your recipients will not get to see that content. That’s a shame. 

If you use buttons as images in your email, the most important content is not directly visible. Instead, you can use tables. That way a recipient can read the text in your call-to-action even if he didn’t download them. This way, your most important content is always visible, and people can click through.

4 – Ask your recipients to share your emails

Try to convince your target audience to share your emails in their network. On all email marketing platforms, you can insert social media buttons that allow readers to share your content in their personal network. Not everyone will do that but when someone does it, the reach of your email increases immediately.

10 tips for a higher click-through rate

5 - Less is more

Do not send a huge list of several different topics in one emails. It’s even better to not send a complete blog post in an email to your recipients. People don’t like to receive huge chunks of text via email. Short and simple texts increase the chance your emails will be read. Once someone starts reading, it’s important to convey your message quickly and very clearly. If your first paragraph doesn’t exactly say what it’s about, readers will drop out right there. The fewer sentences you need to convince your target audience to click through, the more they actually will.

6 – Add benefits

People are only interested in your emails when you give them an answer to the question: what’s in it for me? What does your reader gain from your email? Why should they click through? It would be rather naive to assume that recipients know where to click and why they should, if you don’t explain it to them first. Don’t say ‘click here’ or ‘read more’, that’s way to generic, it doesn’t say a single thing. Instead, use text that explains why someone should click through. For example: ‘Buy this item’, ‘register for our webinar’ or ‘get 10 tips for a higher click-through rate’. That’s a more efficient and clear way to tell them what to do, and recipients appreciate that.

7 – Don’t distract your readers

Make sure that images in your emails support your message. Images that are distracting are bad practice. Check how many products or offers you include in your campaign. The bigger the choice, the harder it is for your recipient to choose. It can be very tempting to insert all your offers in your email campaign, hoping your reader will show interest in at least one things. That doesn’t work: your readers will get confused, and won’t have the patience to work their way through that amount of content. They’ll just delete your e-mail.

8 – Make your call-to-action stand out

Make sure that people don’t have to scroll to see your call-to-action. If it’s featured right away, your readers will see it faster and they’ll be more likely to click it. Also, make it stand out enough that it stands out. You can do that by using a contrasting colour. If people have to search for your call-to-action they will quickly leave and you may have lost a potential customer.

10 tips voor het verhogen van je doorklikpercentage - call-to-action

9 – Use alternative text

Images support your message visually, and that’s great. But make sure you include alternative text with each image. That alternative text shows up when your image isn’t visible. This way a recipient can still see what your email is about, even when the images aren’t visible. A good alternative text can convince users to click through. Email marketing platforms allow you to easily add alternative text to each image.

10 – Be patient

Don’t expect massive growth in the number of click-throughs. The tips above can help, but you will have to test what exactly works for your target audience. By testing and building on the things that work, you will see the click-through rate increase over time.

When your campaigns are focused on sales, don’t expect that they will click on the order button the first time. They will click when they are ready to buy your products or services. It’s often good to offer them a call-to-action to get more information. Send them to a landing page with more information, then on that landing page get them to click through to your sales page.

Strategy is everything

We have one more bonus tip: start your email marketing activities with a well thought out strategy. Sending random emails may seem like more fun, but you will not achieve the desired results. Think in advance about who your target audience is, what you want them to do, what content is important to them and what you want to achieve in the end.


Here you go, these are our 10 tips for a higher click-through rate. After this, we can only recommend you to just get started. What works for us may not work for you, and vice versa. Check what’s important for you and proceed systematically. If you need help setting up your email marketing activities or if you would like to have more information, you can always contact us for an informal talk and a cup of coffee.

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