The 5 most common mistakes you’re making in your sales email CTAs

by Steli Efti
Rocky-min

Sending a cold email is like stepping into the ring with your prospect. You might throw a few good punches and win their attention in the first round. But if you don’t keep fighting to the very end, you’re ultimately going to lose.

Your Call To Action (CTA) is the KO punch. It’s what determines whether the person responds to your email and moves through your funnel or sends it to the trash.

But writing a killer CTA is deceptively complex. And something that many sales reps are making serious mistakes with.

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The 5 biggest mistakes you’re making in your sales email CTAs

The reason you’re sending anyone a cold email is because you want them to take an action. That’s it. Of course you want them to open it, read it, and connect with what you’re saying. But if they get to the end of your email and say “what now?” you’ve failed.

If your prospects are leaving your emails without taking an action, you’re most likely committing one of these cardinal sins of CTA writing:

  1. You don’t have a CTA: If you don’t tell your prospect what you want them to do, how can they take the next step? (Yes, people still make this mistake.) Always include a CTA. Even if you think the email is clear enough, add one anyways.
  2. You have too many different CTAs: More CTAs won’t increase your chances of getting a conversion. In fact, the more you ask of someone in a cold email, the less likely they’ll do anything.
  3. Your CTA is confusing or unclear: If your CTA isn’t specific enough in what the person needs to do, they’re going to leave. If you want someone to pick a time for a call, give them dates and times. If you want them to click a link and take an action, say that.
  4. Your CTA is too hard of a decision: Difficult decisions create friction, and that’s the last thing you want in a cold email. Even if someone’s interested in what you’re saying, if the CTA puts pressure on them, they’re going to pass.
  5. Your CTA is asking for too much: You haven’t yet earned the right to ask too much of your prospect in a cold email. If your CTA is asking for sensitive material or for the prospect to invest serious resources, it’s too much. And they’re not going to do it.

The beautiful thing about a strong and effective CTA is that you can work it into all of your sales emails. Our CRM with integrated emailing allows you to test your CTAs at scale. Simply update a CTA in your emails, and use our built-in reporting features to determine which CTAs are most effective.

email reportingOnce you've determined which CTAs are most effective, you can apply them to email templates, and use our Email Sequences feature to automate your email follow-ups.

closeio-email_sequences-create-sequenceRather than having to manually follow-up, you can simply set it up once, and let our email automation tool handle the busywork for you. 

Now that you know the operational part of winning email CTAs, there's one more thing to master:

How to craft the perfect CTA for your sales emails

The best cold email CTAs do the exact opposite of all those mistakes we just listed. They’re simple, straightforward, and reasonable requests. They reduce friction. And they’re focused in what they ask.

Here’s a few examples:

Use the 1, 2, 3 email hack if you haven’t been getting a response

Let’s say you’ve been following up with a prospect and haven’t gotten any response. In this scenario, you want to make your CTA so simple it would take more effort not to answer it.

One technique that works well is our 1, 2, 3 email hack where you present the reader with 3 clear options and say:

“Just hit reply and give me a number: 1, 2, or 3.”

As a reader, I only need to hit 3 keys to respond. Reply. 1, 2, or 3. And send. That’s it. There isn’t a simpler CTA in the world.

Give specific dates and times if you’re asking for a call or demo

Now, what if you need your prospect to schedule a time for a call or a demo? You might think it’s a good idea to leave it up to them to pick a time that works on their schedule, but a CTA that says “let me know when you’re free” creates too much friction and isn’t going to inspire action. Instead, give the prospect clear and specific options to choose from:

“Does next Tuesday at 11am or Thursday at 3PM work for a 15-minute call?”

By offering 2 options, you’re doing the work for them and all they have to do is say yes or no.

Make complex requests incredibly simple

Lastly, if you’re asking someone to take an action that requires some effort—like signing up for a trial and using your product—your CTA needs to be especially compelling. This means personalizing the link you send them and making the action as simple as possible. For example, you might say:

“Here’s a unique link that’s expiring soon that will give you an extended 30-day free trial. Just click this link and in one minute you’ll be able to test the product and see the results I’ve been talking about for yourself.”

Use the rest of your email to support and enhance your CTA

Your CTA is the most important part of your cold email. And the rest of your cold email copy should support it. By the time the reader gets to your CTA, they should be ready to pull the trigger.

First, you can use the copy directly before your CTA to give social proof. If you can prove your value before asking something from your prospect, you’ll have a much better chance of them saying yes. Try adding some reputable companies you’ve worked with and the results they’ve seen.

Next, use the P.S. after your CTA to address objections. If a prospect has gotten to the end of your email and is still unsure, you need to address any issues they might have. What are the most common objections you hear from customers? Use the P.S. at the end of your email to show that you’re aware of those issues and can show why they shouldn’t be an issue.

The best CTAs make it easier to say yes than no

If you want to increase the success of your cold emails, you need people to know what you want from them. And then ask for it.

If you’ve done the work to get someone’s attention, why throw the fight when you’re about to win? Use just one CTA. Keep it simple, straightforward, and reasonable. Make it easier to say yes than no. And optimize your copy around it to show social proof and handle objections.

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