Email CTAs: 6 Design Tips To Make Sure Your CTAs Don’t Get Clipped

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January 15, 2015 Best Practices

Email clippingWe talked a lot about email calls to action (CTAs) last year. This year will be no different. Why? Because CTAs are one of the most powerful tools in your email marketing strategy. An effective CTA determines whether or not your email gets a click. It’s as simple as that.

As we’ve discussed, the placement and content of your CTAs is important, but so is the design. What’s the most effective way to visually represent your ask? Should it be an image, text, or html? This is where it can get tricky…

Image, Text, or Both?

When you’re creating your email, (and your CTAs) it’s important to first dig into your email marketing analytics to see how your subscribers are viewing your email. Be sure to take into account both the device and the browser that they’re using. I mention the browser in particular because Gmail has been known to “clip” (limit how much of an email your recipient sees) emails that exceed 102KB. This tends to occur when images are linked—most commonly with CTAs. And since there tend to be more CTAs in marketing email, than transactional, this has a higher likelihood of affecting your promotional sends.

Many marketers tend to eschew making their CTAs just images (in case images are disabled) and instead provide a text link along with their HTML. While this is a safer bet, it also has the potential to create some problems. Marketers tend to add tracking parameters to their CTA links, which can bloat your links (especially if your ESP includes additional tracking links) and increase the size of your email send.

So, what are your options? How can you still have an effective email marketing strategy, led by strong CTAs and still get your full experience across to your subscribers?

6 Tips

I sat down with two of our senior technical account managers, (SendGrid email experts for high volume accounts) Derek Baines and Erik Ault, to get some advice on how to reduce your email size and capitalize on your CTAs.

Here are their top suggestions:

1. Make sure that all of the links in your creative count. Only link the CTAs that you need to and make your ask concise.

2. Don’t put your whole website in your email. Be efficient with the space you have and consider offering a site navigation at the top of your email to offer quick links to areas in the site they may be more interested in at that moment.

3. Hire a strong email designer. There are a lot of email designers who really want to be web designers, so they don’t have a lot of experience around templating. (Movable InkSendwithus, and Stamplia offer good options.)

4. Remember to test sending your email to a Gmail address before you send it to all of your subscribers to ensure that your email isn’t being clipped. (Email on Acid and Litmus are a great resources for this.)

5. Get to your point quickly: ensure that your main CTA is included in the first 20% of your email.

6. Be mindful of adding tracking to your links. The more tracking you add, the bigger your email size.

If you want to create the most effective email CTAs (and avoid any potential rendering issues) keep them: short, sweet, and simple. Short in their copy and tracking links, sweet (and strategic) in their offer, and simple in their design. To learn more about crafting the perfect CTA for your email marketing campaign, download our CTA Guide here.

And for more information and tips on Gmail clipping, read these articles from Adestra and Email on Acid.

Jillian WohlfarthMore Posts by Jillian
As SendGrid’s Director of Content, Jillian is responsible for ensuring that SendGrid provides valuable thought leadership content through the blog, whitepapers, webcasts, case studies, and more. An editor and writer by trade, Jillian considers The Chicago Manual of Style one of her favorite reads.
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