Friday, October 12, 2007

How an Email Hyperlink is Worded Can Impact Click-Through Rates More Than 8 Percent

What hyperlink phrase are readers of an e-newsletter more likely to click on? If you think it doesn't really make a difference, think again. MarketingSherpa recently conducted an in-house test to determine what words in a hyperlink are the most actionable, and a summary of their findings are below. Hint: if you are currently using "read more" in your e-newsletters, you definitely want to keep reading.

In a recent test on its own newsletters, MarketingSherpa wanted to know if a certain two- or three-word phrase could get subscribers to click through to an article more. Here were the differences in click-throughs:

  • "Click to continue": 8.53%
  • "Continue to article": 3.3%
  • "Read more": (-)1.8%
With these results, we had a strong feeling that the front-runner, "Click to continue," would win in the A/B test, and it did -- producing 3.5% more clicks than "Continue to article." Needless to say, we immediately switched the words in our link in all of our newsletters.

4 Lessons Learned
During our industry research and testing, we discovered a few things that we didn't know about email hyperlinks that we wanted to pass along. Here are our four big lessons learned:

Lesson #1. It's important to realize that the words used by your peers can be relevant to increasing your click-through rates. Doing a sector-wide comparison like we did might not sound like rocket science, but we're guessing there's a good chance your creative team has yet to do this.

Lesson #2. If you publish a content-based newsletter, avoid using "Read [insert any adverb]." We strongly believe that online readers skim far, far more often than they read. So, it makes no sense to sell your idea as an activity they've come to instinctively avoid. The results prove our instinct was dead on.

Lesson #3. If you redirect newsletter traffic so you can track click-throughs, make sure you don't simply mirror the actual URL. Change the link into something that looks totally different. Not doing so can raise flags with filters and end up marking you as a possible spammer.

Lesson #4. Finally, you guessed it: Test! More importantly, think outside the box in terms of what *needs* to be tested. We're certainly glad we did.

Read the entire article from MarketingSherpa here (subscription only access).


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