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Successful Tactics to Increase Clicks

Most messages sent by email marketers seek to entice recipients to click on a link, and increasing click rates is one of the most common goals of marketers. Many factors can affect click rates, but in this article we'll focus on the links themselves and some tactics to employ--and avoid.

Hyperlinked text and images in your messages serve a variety of purposes:

1) They enhance the reader's experience. Links naturally stand out from the rest of the text body, thereby piquing readers' interest. They also transform your email from a passive read into something recipients can interact with.

2) They enable senders to provide access to rich content such as Flash or Web forms. Either of these elements can be included in email messages, but they may present deliverability challenges due to aggressive spam filters or display problems with email clients that refuse or are incapable of displaying this content. Senders can avoid these issues by providing links to this type of content, which is subsequently served through a Web browser.

3) They allow marketers to provide access to file downloads. Many recipients are suspicious of messages with file attachments, and many email systems are likely to block such emails. Message designers can prevent this problem by hosting the files online and providing links for recipients to use to download the message.

4) They enable senders to deliver large amounts of content. When marketers have a significant volume of information to deliver, they face a challenge. On the one hand, they must accommodate a recipient's predilection for scanning, yet they must still offer the complete content. Designers overcome this challenge by presenting a teaser or summary in the email message that incorporates a link to the full content.

5) They give marketers better tracking information. Since marketing systems detect opens through the display of images, open tracking events are not registered for recipients who use email clients that block images. However, even if recipients have images blocked, a link click-through can be recorded. Engagement marketers can also learn from link tracking which parts of their message are more interesting to readers and effective overall.

6) They provide recipients a mechanism to execute the message's call to action. Recipients can act more immediately on links then they can on other actions such as calling a phone number. The quicker recipients can act on a call to action, the more likely they are to do so.

When providing linked text and images in messages, follow general good Web design practices and accommodate the unique nature of email design by following these do's and don'ts.

  • Use images of buttons and other attractive graphics to entice clicks, but always provide text link alternatives in case images aren't displayed.
  • Link words or phrases within the body text. As recipients read through the text, they are in a state of engagement and may be more amenable to clicking through to find out more or to act on your offer.
  • Place call-to-action links throughout a message so they're always visible and quickly accessible, but avoid having more than a few primary call-to-action links visible at any time.
  • Ensure all links in messages are trackable.
  • Never use an IP addresses in links--doing so can cause spam filters to block messages.
    • Example: http://192.168.0.0
  • Use short, friendly text phrases for links and avoid long, technical-looking URLs.
    • Example: Use a clickable Welcome To Acme Widgets instead of http://www.acmewidgets.com/content/index.jsx
    • Note: You may need to list a complete URL in certain critical situations, such as an opt-in confirmation link

By following the tips above, you'll help engage customers and achieve the elusive click-through increases you've been seeking.

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