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The number one wasted opportunity in email marketing

The TruExperts Performance Study* data shows that more than one-third of pharma email campaigns miss a call-to-action. (CTA), e.g., 'Download now' or 'Register here' and 46% of those that do have one are poorly designed.

Why is this important?

In the context of multichannel marketing, email is usually the connector between other channels and it helps the intended audience move through the customer journey. Therefore, without a well-designed CTA, progress halts.

A CTA is one of the four key components of an email alongside the subject line, pre-header and the email copy itself. Simply put, the CTA is a button or link prompting readers to click.

The CTA does not function independently within an email, it is the climax of a compelling story, which has been told by the other three key components before it, before getting to the inflection point, where the reader gets to decide what happens next.

An impactful CTA is one that compels the reader to engage and it should leave zero doubt as to what happens next.

A missing CTA is the equivalent to closing the door in the face of your most engaged customers. Are you doing this?

You can consider the CTA well designed if it meets the following criteria:

  • Uses action-orientated text - e.g., 'Reserve my spot', 'Try it out', 'Download my copy'

  • Stands out from the rest of the email - large enough to read easily, with white space around it

  • Short and appears as one line on mobile - two or three words max

  • Gives a sense of urgency - adding words like 'now' or 'today' at the end

  • Appears above the fold - clear for the reader quickly what the ask is

You can track the effectiveness of your CTA in two main ways:

  1. Click-to-open-rate (CTOR), which is the number of people who clicked it vs. opened the email, expressed as a percentage. This shows the level of interest, which can demonstrate that the email was targeted to the right audience, however there is room for inaccuracies with accidental clicks

  2. A bespoke conversion KPI based on the CTA itself. For example, if the CTA and objective of the email were to promote a webinar, how many people directly from that email came onto the webinar registration form and completed it? This shows a further level of success, in that not only was the email targeted to the right audience, bu the right offer was provided


*The TruExperts Performance Study is a first of its kind email performance benchmarking study conducted in collaboration with Prof. Turkheimer, Kings College, London. It provides unique competitiveness data blended with in-depth qualitative insights linked to top performance. Results from the interim report are based on the analysis of 400+ pharma specific email campaigns, across a range of topics.

This article was written in collaboration with the TruExperts Digital, a European network of experts, academics & agencies all with a strong data-driven approach.


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