Quick Lifts: 4 ideas to increase email clickthrough


“The goal of an email is to get a click.” –Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS

Editor’s Note: It’s a simple concept and you have likely heard it a lot if you’re a regular MarketingExperiments reader. If you can provide your prospect with enough value to get them to click out of their crowded, highly competitive inbox and onto your landing page, the email has done its job.

Of course, it’s one thing to be able to say what the goal of an email is, and another thing entirely to accomplish it. It takes a lot of experience testing and optimizing emails to develop your own internalized methodology for writing effective email messaging.

To fill that void, Adam Lapp, our Associate Director of Optimization and Strategy, was kind enough to lend us his years of experience in testing and optimizing emails and give us real optimization ideas for a specific audience-submitted email. By observing how Adam looks at a page, we can get a glimpse into the methodology he uses to optimize an email and draw out some transferable principles to apply to our own pages.

The following email was submitted by Zoe. The audience for the email is marketing managers and above. The objective is to introduce clients to the benefits of Data Enhancement through a free, downloadable whitepaper.


Email Sample: 

Click to enlarge


So from here, I’ll let Adam take it away.

4 ideas for getting more clicks in the email:

Overall, this is a relatively good email. There are several things marketers could take away from the email as it is. For example:

  • There is a clear problem and solution presented
  • The benefits of the solution are clearly articulated
  • The whitepaper has an image associated with it to make it feel more robust/tangible
  • The side column is used for supporting material
  • Personalization is used in the signature

With that said, I came up with a few ideas to increase the performance. Here they are in no particular order:


Idea #1: Add relevance by indicating a prior relationship

First, I would increase this email’s relevance. If the email is to existing clients, then you should mention you have a prior relationship with the recipient.

This immediately orients the recipient and gives them a reason to continue reading.

One way to do that would be a subject line or headline like:

  • New information regarding your IBIS account
  • New content available in your IBIS file


Idea #2: Use the title area of the email to set expectations

Currently, the title of the email simply explains what IBIS is. No value is communicated. Instead, communicate what’s coming in the body of the email by naming the series of emails.

Some example titles might be:

  • IBIS Customer/Subscriber Update
  • IBIS Monthly Newsletter
  • Free IBIS Whitepaper of the Month


Idea #3: Draw more attention to the button

This idea is a little bit of a no-brainer, but the button could do a better job of standing out and drawing the eye.

As it stands, the gray fill blends in with the white background and the eye skips over it. Use a different color to draw the eye to it.


Idea #4: Promise more value in the button

Once you have their attention with an eye-catching button, get them to click by promising a little more value than “download whitepaper.” While it’s certainly better than “submit” or just “download,” you might draw attention to the fact that there are no form fields to fill out on the other side.

Something like, “Get instant access to the whitepaper” might communicate that idea a little better.


Related Resources:

All-new 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report — Launch Special: Save $100 (offer ends Nov. 30)

Email Copy: Half the words, 16% higher clickthrough rate

Test Your Marketing Intuition: Which email achieved 104% more clicks?

Email Messaging: How overcoming 3 common errors increased clickthrough 104%

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  1. Valentina says

    To me, the very first goal of an email is to not be deleted before being read. It would be really interesting if you’d write a post on compelling email subjects. Could you, guys?

    Best wishes,

  2. Paul Cheney says


    The short answer is…yes. We can and probably will write about email subject lines in the future. 😉 But we’ve also written a lot about it in the past. Here’s four posts I found right off the bat:





    We also did a Web clinic on headlines that might be helpful as the same principles apply to email subject lines:


    Hope that helps 🙂

  3. Valentina says

    Thank you Paul, you’re really kind… as usual! 😉

  4. Kevin Moreland says

    I’d add some testimonials – A couple of benefit-laden statements would help qualify the whitepapers content.

    I’d remove other ‘escape routes’ i.e the social buttons.

    I’d also get specific in the bulleted copy about what kinds of exact benefits Marketing Managers will gain. Right now there’s not really any evidence of impact…”Methods of data capture’ etc is a little vague

  5. Nick Bosch says

    Almost every time I read a Marketing Experiments article it reminds me of something I could have improved in an email series or on a landing page. This was no exception and gave me some items to add to my copywriting checklist. Specifically in the second email in a series I just sent out, I did a poor job of clearly outlining the problem and solution. Rookie mistake.

    Thanks for the insights Adam.

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