Many businesses struggle to improve their email click through rate. They have an incredible product or service they are selling, or a valuable article their industry will appreciate, but can’t convert email readers to website visitors.

Unfortunately, having a quality product, service, or article isn’t enough to convince email recipients to click a link and visit your website. Read on to learn 12 easy changes you can make to your email campaigns to get the CTR you want.

What is an Email Click Through Rate (CTR)?

The email CTR, or email click rate, is the percentage of your email audience who click on the call to action or hyperlink contained in an email.

Low email click through rates are a common problem that businesses face; if you can’t get your customer to your website you can’t grow your business.

How is the Click to Open Rate (CTOR) Different from the Click Through Rate?

The CTOR is a more specific calculation that looks at how what percentage of the email audience who opened the email clicked on the CTA.

When you email your subscriber list you have two challenges:

  1. Get them to open your email
  2. Get them to click on your call to action (CTA)

The combination of these two is your Click to Open Rate. Mathematically speaking, (# clicks) ÷ (# email opens) = CTOR.

What are Normal CTRs and CTORs?

According to The Campaign Monitor Company,

  • Your average email open rate should be between 15-25%
  • Your average click-through rate should be about 2.5%
  • Your average click-to-open rate should be between 20-30%

Calculate these numbers for your last few email campaigns, then use the above averages to hone in on which part of your email campaign needs improvement.

12 Smart Steps to Increase Email CTR and CTOR

These 12 changes can make a noticeable difference on the click through rates and click to open rates of your email campaigns. Remember, simple changes can have significant effects!

  1. Place only ONE call to action in your email

According to research performed by Litmus Enterprise, average email read time is approximately 13.4 seconds. That does not give you a lot of time to engage your reader and convince them to click on your call to action.

If you have multiple links, or a lot of text to scroll through, your reader isn’t going to engage in the email long enough to read the call to action, or may see multiple links to click and close the email due to time constraints.

Think of yourself when you go through your email box. If an email is visually overwhelming and hard to scan, you skip it. If you see a bunch of hyperlinks and aren’t sure what they are for, you rarely take 30 seconds to read closely and figure out what each link is for.

If the goal of your email is to have subscribers take action and click on a link, ask them to do just ONE thing.

Removing choices makes decision making easier for the reader and increases your email CTR.

  1. Make Your Call to Action Easy for the Reader to Find

In general, buttons are more likely to be clicked on by the reader.

This makes sense: if you scan an email and after a few lines there is a bright yellow button with clear labeling, you are more likely to click it, vs if a few words of one sentence are underlined.

Campaign Monitor has a free tool called Bulletproof Email Buttons that creates HTML-based buttons for you to embed in your email.

  1. Make Your Call to Action Wording Simple and Clear

If your call to action button or hyperlink is difficult to understand, hidden in a long paragraph, or hard to read, your reader is much more likely to skip it. The message should be short and clear:

“Click here to read entire article”

“Register today”

“I want to learn ___”

  1. Put Your Single Call to Action in Two Locations in the Email

You don’t want to overwhelm the reader, but you also want to be sure you give them multiple opportunities to click on your link.

You can use two buttons, or a button in one location and a hyperlink in the other.

  1. Place Your Call to Action Locations Strategically

Your reader may only look at the beginning of the email, or they may scan to the end. If your call to action is in both locations you make it easier and more likely for them to click one of them.

The two most strategic places to put your call to action are above the fold (the part of the email the reader can see without scrolling) and at the end of the email.

These two places are the most viewed parts of any email, so putting a call to action in each place maximizes your CTR.

  1. Make sure your emails are optimized for mobile

Test your emails before sending them to your mailing list. View them on your phone and confirm these things:

  • Is the text size easy to read?
  • Is the CTA button showing when you open the email?
  • Is the CTA button large enough to easily click with a finger?
  • Is any hyperlink easily clicked with a finger?
  • Is the email easily scannable on your phone? (i.e. not too long)
  1. Schedule an email re-send to recipients who did not open the original email

This is a solid strategy that can double your CTR.

We all have days when we don’t have time to read many emails. Re-sending to recipients who did not open the initial email gives them a second chance to click your call to action.

Here is how to do this to maximize success: 2-3 days after you send the initial email, re-send it BUT change the following:

  • Change the subject line
  • Change the preview text

Then re-send the email to anyone who didn’t open the original email.

Not only will this increase your CTR, but it will also give you insight into which subjects and preview lines are most effective.

  1. Grab the Reader’s Attention with Compelling Subject Lines

Email engagement is directly related to quality subject lines. According to, 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone.

Compelling title characteristics include:

  • Short is best: 6-10 words (45-50 characters)
  • Include a strong word conveying an emotion, inspiration, urgency, or curiosity

Test different types of words and titles when creating your re-send subject line in #7. Note what works with your recipients and use it in the future.

  1. Create short, concise emails

The goal of your email is to convince the customer to click your call to action. If they have to wade through a long email, you will lose your reader.

Emails are a good example of the “less is more” philosophy: a few concise sentences can be more powerful than a paragraph.

Grab their attention with short, compelling sentences containing an impressive fact and describing the benefit they will encounter if they click on the CTA button or hyperlink.

  1. Consider a P.S. Section

Many readers scroll through an email, scanning for anything that catches their attention. If they missed the first CTA at the beginning of the email, many times they will scan a “P.S” section added on at the end of an email.

Putting your second CTA in this P.S. section is a time-tested strategy. Marketers know that people tend to remember the first and last items in a list most of all.

Putting your CTA at the end can pay off.

  1. Timing Is Everything

Determining when to send your emails is best decided by trial and error. It depends on the industry, the customer, and much more.

If I was going to start experimenting, I would try sending on a Tuesday. There were multiple studies referenced on the internet that noted Tuesday campaigns getting better email open rates and click through rates.

Try different days and different times, then track email open rates, CTRs, and CTORs. Compare results based on sending day and sending time and capitalize on this knowledge.

Once you determine the optimum day and time, settle into a regular pattern. Your reader will start to expect your email on that day & time each week/month.

  1. Analyze Click to Open Rates (CTORs)

Analyze your email campaign metrics to determine what is working and what isn’t. If you have high email open rates but low CTORs, this would indicate your subject line was effective but your email content has a problem (too long, unclear, ineffective CTA).

Conversely, if no one is opening your emails, an ineffective subject line or your sending day/time choice may be the culprit.

It’s Time to Increase Your Email CTR!

You can’t convert email contacts into clients if they don’t click on your CTA.

Use the 12 tips above to create emails that capture your reader’s attention and entice them to click on your call to action.

Do you have strategies that increased your email CTR? Share your tips in the comments below.

Need Some Help?

Are you overloaded with the day to day operations that keep your business running smoothly? Robin Kramer is an Online Business Manager that has been working with small businesses for 23 years. Her varied experience enables her to step in and help get your business functions streamlined, setting you up to achieve the business growth and profitability you’ve dreamed of.

To learn more about Robin’s skills and how she could help your business, contact her for a free consultation today.

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