John Tackett

Email Marketing: Change in CTA copy increases clickthrough 13%

The “ask.”

When you strip marketing down to its core, your call-to-action is arguably the most important element in your email marketing.

If you get it just right with your copy, customers will give their permission with clicks, downloads, a purchase or whatever desired action is intended.

Get the copy wrong, however, and a CTA is becomes “ignore-the-action” from the customer’s perspective.

So what role does copy play in the success of a CTA?

A pretty big one.

To illustrate this, let’s look at a recent Web clinic where the MECLABS research team revealed the results of an experiment that drilled down into how CTA copy impacts customer action.

Here’s a little research information on the test.

Background: An audio technology and engineering company offering professional and personal audio products.

Goal: To significantly increase the number of clicks from a promotional email.

Primary Research Question: Which email CTA copy will produce the greatest clickthrough rate?

Approach: A/B single factorial split test





In Version A, the team hypothesized that using “Shop Now” as the CTA copy was a potential source of customer anxiety.

According to the MECLABS Conversion Heuristic, anxiety is simply a negative factor that reduces the likelihood a potential customer will take a desired action.





In Version B, the team tested “View Details” as the CTA copy.





What you need to know

In this case, the “View Details” CTA increased email clickthrough rate by 13.04% when compared to the “Shop Now” CTA in Version A.

The results also led us to a larger question: Why did two words in an email CTA create such a significant difference in customer response?

One explanation is when you change the context of your marketing message, you also change the conversation you’re having with customers.

Or as Austin McCraw, Senior Director of Content Production, MECLABS, simply put it, “It is not the magnitude of change on the page that impacts conversion, but rather, the magnitude of change in the mind of the customer.”

To learn more about why the simple change was so impactful, check out the free on-demand Web clinic replay of “Email Messaging Tested” for testing insights from the MECLABS research team you can use to aid your own conversion rate optimization efforts.


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Categories: Email Marketing Tags: , , ,

  1. March 24th, 2014 at 13:34 | #1

    I’ve seen similar tests, and am curious if this measured down to final sales. I’m not terribly surprised the CTR went up, as ‘View Details’ doesn’t imply as much of a commitment as ‘Shop Now’. In similar tests, the CTR did increase, but overall sales decreased because there was a mismatch in expectations.

    Any more information would be appreciated.

    • John Tackett
      John Tackett
      March 28th, 2014 at 10:21 | #2

      Hi Justin,

      Excellent question.

      I followed up with the MECLABS research team to get a little insight. According to Jon Powell, Senior Manager of Research and Strategy, MECLABS, decrease in sales from this kind of testing approach is rare. Here’s what he shared with me:

      “What I see in tests is either no statistically significant difference in direct sales (multi-visit purchasers, common on sites with higher priced items) or a statistically significant increase in direct sales. Rarely, if ever, have I seen these types tests result in a significant sales loss,” Jon explained.

      I hope this helps,


      John Tackett

  2. April 2nd, 2014 at 12:53 | #3

    By adjusting CTA copy to reduce the apparent risk it it seems obvious that more users will click on the button. By lowering risk you get ‘less committed users’. Keeping users in the funnel is better, even if they’re less committed to purchase.

    On the other hand, you could improve the closing rate (sales made/click) by putting strong language in the button. How about “don’t even click here unless you’re ready to buy”! A ridiculous suggestion that demonstrates the dynamic in advertising between broader reach and specific targeting. The softer CTA language lets more people in the tent of ‘prospects’ but also allows more cold prospects.

  1. April 15th, 2014 at 11:35 | #1
  2. May 22nd, 2014 at 10:06 | #2