The triangle of conversion

Originally published on the Pure360 site as “Single Call to Action Emails” (22 Aug 2011)

There are two main types of email marketing campaign: newsletter and single call to action. Single call to action emails have only one main goal for their recipients, this could be about an event or a product or any other one thing.

Single call to action emails work best with a triangle of call to actions (CTAs) and account for the three stages of conversion:

The three levels of conversion

1. Converted from the subject line

Some people get the email, see who it’s from, read the subject line and as they open it all they want to do is click through and get involved; be it book a trip, look at pictures or buy a product. To account for this it really helps to present readers with an opportunity to convert from the preview pane whilst the images are blocked so there are no barriers to conversion and momentum is maintained.

2. Converted by the header

Some recipients are early adopters and work quite visually or simply want to get engaged quickly when something gets their interest. These people will open the email out of curiosity and want to see what the email is about, these recipients will then either load the images or view in a browser. If your content in the top third of the email is optimised to wow them nice and quick they will click through on your main call to action and your website can do the rest for you.

3. Converted by the elaboration

Some openers need some convincing before they commit to the click, the big wow header and short and sweet elevator pitch will not be enough for them, that’s just ‘salesy bumpf’ to these kinds of people. They want a real reason to click through, they need some facts and some details to investigate further. So further down the email you have something like a more detailed bulleted list and something to explain the product in more detail. This can be nice and literary to let people really read it, but still shorter and more to the point than a book; then at the end flow the call to action to click through so they click the link as the next stage in the story.

The triangle of conversion

This is something learned over time by many marketers and fits in nicely with the three levels.

Essentially the top of the triangle is the quick conversion in the top; the next section stage is normally graphical and more to the right hand side, then the last section is nearer the bottom of the contextual copy on the left, making a triangle.

triangle of conversion

The triangle of conversion – in practice

triangle of conversion in practice


Have more than one call to action

While it is common for an email to only have one call to action when a brand only wants to convert for one thing, it is a wise idea to have additional engagement points, either below the main content or in the right hand margin.

Try and make it personalised where possible or at least relevant. Up-sells and cross-sells are popular for this purpose as well as social media pushes.

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