The Best Place to Put an Email Call to Action in a Daily Newsletter

Membership Email Marketing Frameworks

Are people finding and clicking on your email call to action, or is your click-through rate dwindling?

The Dalai Lama said, “In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” And if you want your customers to take an action, you must put the instructions in front of them. Otherwise, how will they know what to do?

Before we get in too deep I should clarify that at Mequoda we distinguish between several different email types. Here are the two main types of emails that our clients send:

  • Daily email newsletters: Published daily which distributes the free content you publish on your Portal.
  • Spotlight emails: Single-product promotions, usually sent two times per week.

And of course there are other types like circ-builders and sponsor emails, but let’s focus on your daily email newsletter.

The general goal of a free email newsletter is not a transaction, it’s to distribute the content you produce. However, it would be a bit too humble to say that there is no monetary goal of sending out email newsletters. After all, the cost to maintain and send to an email list of tens and hundreds of thousands to millions of email subscribers comes at a cost.

And so, this is where we decide the place to put an email call to action, even within an editorial email.

Our best practice is to design a single-column template, and layer the free content in between text ads. You can see it visually represented here. 

Your primary calls to action in a daily email newsletter are really to get people to click back to your website to read your article.

However, if you place a text ad below your first article, you have the secondary goal of converting free email subscribers into paid customers.

Text ad calls to action within daily email newsletters

Here’s a perfect example. Below is a section of Countryside Daily’s email newsletter. Directly after an article about how to properly wash eggs, they promote a book about egg recipes. They figure if the egg article caught your eye, maybe the egg recipes book will too!

email call to action

Most of our clients will always include paid text ads like this below their articles. And if there are six articles in an email newsletter, there will be six related text ads below each of those articles.

Sponsored calls to action within email newsletters

Many of our clients also have advertisers and they do a great job at multiplatform bundling, so email spots are often sold. Advertisers care about specific metrics, and getting clicks is one of them. If you consider your sponsor’s ad the priority email call to action, then you’ll want to place it above the fold in your email newsletter. We know several clients who use the method of including a letter from the editor in their daily email newsletters. Right next to the introductory note, you’ll find the featured email call to action for their sponsor.

Below is an example of this email call to action in practice, via Yankee’s New England Today email newsletter.

email call to action yankee magazine


So far we’ve tackled calls to action for your paid products and for sponsors, but what about other types of calls to action?

One big call to action that often gets lost in email is for your social accounts. Many publishers don’t include these links at all, but we think they’re important because it gives you the opportunity to add existing subscribers to more than just your email list. We suggest adding these icons to the bottom of your email at a minimum. Users are used to finding social icons at the bottom of web pages, so that gives them a user-friendly place to be found.

Another item, which I wouldn’t call a desirable call to action, but still just as important, is your unsubscribe link. While you don’t want to encourage people to unsubscribe, you also don’t want them frustrated enough to click the “junk” button instead. Don’t hide your button to unsubscribe or manage email account preferences. Place it at the bottom of your email where people expect to find it, and don’t bury it in paragraphs of copy.

What would you add to this list? What are your best performing email calls to action? Leave a comment below.



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