Email Engagement and Low Click Rates

How to Improve and What to Do

A key indicator of an email marketing campaign’s success is the Click-Through Rate (CTR).

What is a CTR?

The Click Through Rate indicates how many people clicked on the links you included in your email. In other words, it tells you how many customers have really engaged with your email.

It’s important to note that CTR can have an impact on the delivery of your email.

The lower your average CTR, the less likely your email will reach the inbox of your customers.

How to Calculate your CTR

This rate is calculated by dividing the number of people that clicked on a link by the number of delivered emails.

For example: if your email was delivered to 1 000 subscribers, and only 150 clicked on a link in the email, your CTR is 15% [(150 ÷ 1000) X 100 = 15%] .

How to Improve your CTR

Here are some tips on how to increase your CTR:

1. Create a Clear, Simple Message

Your email recipients have many emails in their inbox and not much time to read them. Therefore, prepare your email in such a way that the recipient immediately knows what it is about.

  • Highlight important information (Bold, Italics, Titles)
  • Highlight your call to action (HTML Buttons, Bold, Different colours)
  • Use short, concise copy or text
  • Use your email as a preview for your website (similar but shorter content)
  • Use numbered or bulleted lists

2. A Clear Call to Action

The call to action (CTA) is the most important element of your email. It is the primary way your readers will engage with your email.

Ask yourself, what is the goal of your email, who receives it, and what do you want them to do?

Some examples of a CTA: “Download the Whitepaper”, “Sign Up Now”, “Watch the Video”

  • The CTA must be visible
  • Use different colours to differentiate your CTA from the rest of your email
  • The CTA must be clear and simple

3. Email as a Teaser

Think of your email as a teaser for your website or offer – it should entice the reader to take action through the email to where you want them.

The idea is to guide the reader to the ultimate goal as simple and as quickly as possible.

  • Get to the point quickly with short copy
  • Use descriptive links (so the reader knows what will happen when they click)
  • Avoid generic copy and links
  • Use simple, easy to understand images relating to your content

4. Videos and Social

Reports show that adding videos increases the CTR by up to 3 times, and will also increase monthly revenue.

Furthermore, emails that include social-sharing buttons have a higher CTR rate than emails that don’t.

  • Include widget buttons linking to your social media pages
  • Include free video downloads or links to a useful Youtube video
  • Refer to your social media and videos in your copy

5. Regular Testing and Optimization

There are many factors that affect an email campaign’s CTR, and no single strategy or tactic will ensure success in your campaign.

This is why you have to keep testing your sends if you expect to see results. SharpSpring Mail + comes with a built-in reports function as well as A/B split tests to help you improve your email marketing campaign.

  • Use A/B splits to test two different emails and identify which performs better
  • Use Inbox Preview to see how your email will render before you send
  • Use the heatmaps option under Reports to see what subscribers liked most on your email
  • Use the Spam Test to see if your email will be recognized as spam or not

6. Segmentation

The expectations regarding the message of your email may be different from customer to customer. To improve the quality of your communications and achieve a higher CTR, segment your mailing list and send out personalized messages.

  • Segment based on demographics such as gender, age, location or product interest to make the information more relevant
  • Personalize your email to suit each segment – especially the CTA.


To improve your Click Through Rate and Engagement…

  • Create a Clear, Simple Message
  • Use a Clear Call to Action
  • Use your Email as a Teaser for your Website
  • Include Videos and Social Links
  • Conduct Regular Testing and Optimization
  • Segment your Mailing List


  • Author: maryka.burger

  • Maryka has worked across multiple industries ranging from hard news journalism to digital tech companies and advertising. She is an expert at building online presence, and offers a wealth of knowledge on digital marketing, social media and automation trends to agencies and digital start-ups.