How to Use Click-Through Rates to Create More Successful Emails

by Ellen Williams, Regional Development Director, Constant Contact

Trying to figure out what works and what doesn't in your email marketing campaigns isn't always easy. Learn about how you can analyze your email's click-through rate to determine how well your message is getting through.

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Ellen Williams
Ellen Williams

It can be a bit tricky to try and determine the effectiveness of an email campaign. You can take a look at the open rate of an email and feel a small sense of triumph if it’s higher than the industry average… but that doesn’t mean you’re going to suddenly see a windfall of customers pouring into your store. One of most reliable ways to keep track of which emails are successful is by providing a coupon or discount code. If customers redeem it, then you know the email succeeded.


Of course, not every business or organization can offer its audience coupons. And when you can’t attach hard sales numbers to an email, it’s harder to determine whether it’s effective or not.

One way you can judge success, however, is by looking at your click-through rates.

Why click-throughs matter

Where the open rate shows you how many people opened your emails, the click-through rate shows how many people take action by clicking the links you provide in your email. This allows you to see the content, products, and services your contacts are most interested in, which in turn can help you create engaging email content for future emails.

The more click-throughs you see, the more likely it is that your contacts are going to take the actions you want them to take, whether you want them to download a presentation, buy a product, or donate to a cause.

For many small businesses, click-through rate is an unfamiliar metric. With so much weight being put on opens, many just haven’t thought about how to optimize to get more clicks.

Here are a few things you can do to optimize your emails for more meaningful click-through results:


Add links to your header and footer

Your customers should be able to find a link to your website whether they are at the top or bottom of any email. Your header and footer are the places people will often go when looking for more information. They are also the places customers will look when trying to share their feedback or connect with your directly. Make it easy for customers to do both by adding links to the top and bottom of each email.

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Link to your most important content early in the email

Within the first few seconds of reading any email, your reader should understand which links are most important. One way of doing that is by introducing these links earlier in your email. When creating your next email, pick one topic you know you want your customers to pay attention to and look for ways to get to it sooner.

Make links as direct as possible

No matter where you put your links in your email, you want to make sure they are providing a direct path for your reader. If you’re talking about a particular product or an upcoming event, don’t simply link to your website and assume your reader will do the rest. Instead, link directly to the product or event page.

Make your emails scannable with the help of links

Like you, your customers are busy and won’t always have the time to read each and every article you write. With more readers checking their emails via a mobile device, it’s never been more important to make emails that meet the demands of an ultra-busy customer base. Links can go a long way in doing just that. By adding links to your articles headers, within your text, and at the bottom of each article you’ll make your emails more scannable and thus, improve your chances of catching the attention of a reader who may be quickly swiping through your email on a smartphone or scrolling through on their desktop.

Click-throughs are a powerful coaching tool for any small business. In addition to helping you determine the effectiveness of your emails, it can help you develop a better understanding of your readership and which types of messages are resonating. Use these lessons to improve your email marketing and help grow your business—that’s the most meaningful result of all. 

Editor's note: Not using email marketing yet? Or not happy with your provider? uses and recommends Constant Contact. Try it free today.

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Ellen Williams, Constant Contact Regional Development Director, New York and Southern Connecticut

Ellen has over 20 years of technology and marketing experience and has presented to over 4,000 small businesses, nonprofits, and associations. Her advice on best practices help organizations understand how to build great customer relationships that inevitable grow their businesses.  

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