How To Write A Call-To-Action Email

by Michael Griffiths | Aug 17, 2012

One of the most important forms of communication in the current time are emails. You have the benefit of sending one to an acquaintance without having to leave home. You may personalize it, make it fit for your addressee and make friends or customers in the process.

Many believe that the most important factor of an email is the address/addressee. Although it is obvious that having the right list of addresses could make or break an email marketing campaign, it may not be the key factor. The message, and how it is written, is the heart of a message.

So what are the important things to remember when you want people to notice your emails? Here are the three most basic.

Make your subject line sing - not whisper. Too many emails are sent to the trash bin just because the beautiful message has a subject line that definitely does not make the message compelling to read. Like, who actually pays attention to an email with a subject line saying "HELLO!" Uhh, may we remind most readers that a lot of the spam emails which contain viruses have this subject line. If you really know someone well, would you actually send him an email with "hi" or "hello" as subject line? To avoid being given the brush off, it would be best to have the recipient in mind when writing the subject line. Think - would your addressee be interested if he saw the subject line you wrote? Would it be relevant to him? A good example of a subject line is:

"ABC Corporation: Contract-signing tomorrow, May 3 at the ABC Corp. Boardroom"

This is a good subject line because it reflects the urgency of the message, yet it does not reveal too much (no time indicated - and no contract details) that the addressee is forced to open the email itself to get more details. Don't make the mistake of losing the attention of the

Make your message relevant to the recipient. Especially if you're using email for marketing, always make sure that the body of your emails contains some kind of benefit to the recipient. Otherwise, your subject will regret even opening the email. Good emails for existing customers, for example would be updates on current menu offerings (for restaurants), coupons or discounts for retail stores, benefits for loyal customers. If you are trying to entice someone to be a client, always think thoroughly about what to write. You may send a colorful email with easy-to-read copy, explaining how your product can help the buyer. Enumerate its benefits, and indicate where they can be purchased. Make it easy for the reader to know exactly what your message is. No matter how tempting it is to just cut and paste a hyperlink or link to your website - avoid it, especially if it's the first time you're sending an email. We cannot stress this enough - make it easy for your addressee to read. Minimize clicking and waiting time to load. Those 5 seconds it took for a link to load is already long enough for the reader to click on that escape button.

May we also stress that some seemingly innocent email that contains a link or hyperlink is dangerous to open. It may be a virus sent by some deranged person who causes the addressee to lose valuable contacts or information - so avoid making the link the sole item in a message. If you must, include a good introduction, or list of testimonials, or photos - the hackers won't waste time preparing such a tedious malicious email.

Always make a call to action. Next to the subject line, the first two lines of the body of an email increase the likelihood of action being taken. If there is an immediate need for action, then clearly indicate "action needed" within the first 2 sentences.

If you want action, also avoid doing any of the following, because they totally decrease the urgency/importance of an email:

Forwarding a message or link

Copy furnishing (cc) a whole group of people who do not know each other.

This is the tactic of a lazy emailer / writer…or even an auto-enabled emailer. This makes the email a waste of everybody's time. It makes the message so impersonal, so random and makes the addressee feel so unimportant.

Marking everything urgent - even if it isn't. Heard the story about the boy who cried wolf?

CAPITALIZING ALL LETTERS and using too many exclamation points!!!!!!!!!! - WHAT AN EYESORE! (pardon the pun)

Writing and sending monologues. Hey, the reader has other things to do.

An email is a great tool of the modern technological times. It may save you lots of money, but you must make the effort to write good messages to make them effective.

About Michael Griffiths

Connecting Women In Business helps women business owners generate more leads, clients and increase profits with more networking, business insights, tips and tricks on marketing, growth, business and accountability strategies. We invite you to get your free social media tactics ebook when you visit


About Chia-Li Chien

Chia-Li Chien

Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, CRPC, PMP; Chia-Li “like JOLLY!” Succession Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs. She is Chief Strategist of Value Growth Institute dedicated to helping private business owners increase the value of their firms. She is the award-winning author of Show Me The Money and faculty member of American Management Association. Her blog and newsletter was named a top small business resource by the New York Times “You’re the Boss” blog.


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