How to Improve Email Click Through Rate


Over the last three years, email marketing has played a big part in my career. From building an email strategy to the execution of email campaigns, email marketing is an extremely valuable and effective marketing campaign and should be utilised by all businesses in my opinion. However, it doesn’t stop at setting up an account with the likes of MailChimp or Salesforce Marketing Cloud – you need to continuously improve your campaign’s performance. Let’s start with our first metric – how to improve email click through rate.

There are multiple metrics to measure with email marketing; deliverability, open rate and unsubscribe rate to name a few, but in this post we’re going to focus on how to improve email click through rate – or CTR for short.

Photo by Vojtech Okenka from Pexels

What Is Click Through Rate?

Click through rate (CTR) is a ratio of users who click a link in your email to the number of users who have received your email. For example, let’s say you sent an email campaign which delivered 10,000 emails and your campaign received 300 clicks. You divide the clicks by total emails delivered, then x 100. This is then your click through rate.

300 / 10,000 = 0.03 x 100 = 3% CTR

It’s important to remember to divide your clicks by the ‘delivered’ emails, not total emails sent. Not all emails get delivered to the recipient’s inbox, but you can read more of that in my post about email deliverability.

Why is CTR Important

If you’re wondering why is CTR is an important metric for email marketing, it’s because without clicks to your landing page, how will your users convert? A high click through rate is a good indication that the content in your email is either relevant to the user, enticing i.e. a discount, or has the ideal call-to-action which drives clicks i.e. Shop Now or Download Now.

What Is a Good CTR?

Good question, but not straight forward to answer. Click-through rate is all relative. It depends on various factors:

  • Your Industry
  • Your Campaign
  • Your Audience
  • The Device

Let’s start with the first factor – Your Industry. According to Campaign Monitor, the average click-through rate for all industries is 2.6%. But make note – that’s for all industries combined, so isn’t relevant to your industry alone. For the likes of Retail it’s 2.10%, Automotive is 1.20%, and Real Estate is 3.60%. Very different numbers once you start focusing on your own industry, so it’s important to find the benchmark relevant to you.

Your Campaign.

Let’s say you’re an online retailer and you have a 20% off sitewide promotion running. This is likely to interest your database very much and your CTR will prove that with high click-throughs. But compare it to a campaign you perhaps sent the week before which was content-focused i.e. a new blog post that was aimed to educate your database. That might not get as many clicks, as it may not be enticing enough for the user to take action. But that brings me on to the next factor to consider…

Your Audience.

Despite the campaign you’re sending, if you’re sending to the wrong audience then your click through rate won’t see any growth. That’s where segmentation is important. Only send content emails for the likes of new blog posts and product guides to those who are most likely to click. Consider sending promotional emails to the window shoppers, those who have a low average order value (AOV) and those who are likely to convert, as they’re your target segment.

The Device.

In the world of SEO, having a mobile-friendly website is crucial for your site to rank. A similar mindset should apply for email – if your campaigns aren’t designed to work for both desktop and mobile, you’ll find your CTR will suffer. I never open an email in my personal account on a desktop – it’s only mobile for me. But for my work email it’s the opposite; always desktop, not mobile. I’ve opened emails in the past on desktop however, which I’ve then later gone to open again via mobile when away from my computer, to find the email design is all over the place; content blocks overlapping, buttons not aligned, text far too big for a smaller screen etc. Always keep mobile at the forefront of your mind.

6 Ways to Improve Click Through Rate

A/B Test – I can’t stress how important this is. Without split testing your campaigns, you’ll never know what works for you. Here are a few ideas of what to A/B test in your next campaign to improve CTR.

  1. Call-to-action

    Test the wording i.e. Shop Now vs Buy Now or Shop Offer vs Shop 20% Off. Even consider short vs long call-to-actions i.e. Shop Now vs Get Your 20% Off Today.

  2. CTA Style

    This is an A/B test I’m doing myself currently and that’s testing text links vs buttons. Typically I’ve always used buttons for my CTAs as they seem like a no-brainer. But after analysing a recent campaign, I noticed the text links I used as a CTA for the first time performed far better than buttons. Who’d have known if I never tested it?

  3. Length

    Does your audience engage with shorter emails? Or do they prefer more meat to an email? Consider testing two layouts to see which gets a higher CTR.

  4. Personalisation

    If you’re acquiring subscriber’s names at signup, use this information – if can be gold if used in the right way. Consider A/B testing name vs no name in the headline or main copy of your email. This is also a great one for improving email open rate.

  5. CTA Placement

    Where you place your CTAs could be having a huge impact on your click-through rate. Split test the placement of your CTA to see what impact this has. For instance, if working with 50/50 blocks i.e. image on left and text/CTA on the right, try switching them around. Keep the content the exact same but simply give their position a switcheroo and see what happens!

  6. Images

    Image or no image, that’s a good question. Test! Depending on your industry, image generally performs well, especially if you’re pushing a product. But which performs better – portrait, landscape, square, or even a narrow letterbox banner image? It’s important to test all variations. You’d typically do this for Facebook Advertising using their Dynamic Content feature, so apply the same method to other channels.

What have you tried to improve CTR for your email campaigns? Share your tips on how to improve email click through rate below.

Share this post?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.