8 Best Sales Email Calls-to-Action (CTAs) to Use: Examples & Free Templates
Do you ever feel like sending cold emails is just a gigantic waste of time? You write subject lines and test them until you find a winner, you carefully craft the phrasing of your sales pitch, and yet you still end up in your prospects’ trash folder most of the time.
If this keeps happening, the problem may not lie in your subject line or even in the body of your email—it could be your call to action (CTA.)
Writing killer cold email CTAs is deceptively complex. It’s no wonder many sales reps make serious mistakes with them. In fact, even minor CTA missteps can prevent your targets from taking action.
That’s why we’re taking the guesswork out of cold email CTAs. We’ll cover what they are, how to write them, and even provide templates to get you started.
But before we discuss how to write them, let’s cover what NOT to do first.
5 Biggest Mistakes You’re Making in Your Sales Email CTAs
You’re sending someone a cold email because you want a prospect to take action. That’s it. Of course, you want them to open it, read it, and connect with your message. But if they reach your message's end and say, “what now?” you’ve failed.
If decision-makers are leaving your emails without taking action, you’re most likely committing one of these cardinal sins of CTA writing:
The goal of cold sales emails is for the recipient to take a particular action. Of course, you want them to open the email, read it, and connect with your message. But if they get to the end of the email and say “now what?” you’ve failed.
If decision-makers are closing or deleting your emails without taking 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 anyway.
2. You Have Too Many Different CTAs
Multiple 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. A study conducted by WordStream found including a single CTA in an email increased clicks by a staggering 371 percent.
That’s why you should zero in on one specific action that will make the most impact on your funnel, and write a CTA around that.
3. Your CTA is Confusing or Unclear
If your CTA isn’t specific enough about what the person needs to do, they will leave. For example, if you want someone to pick a time for a call, give them dates and times and a link to a calendar to book it. If you want them to click a link and take action, say that, and highlight it with a CTA button.
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, they will pass if the CTA puts too much pressure on them or if the stakes are too high. Start with the simplest first action your target can take that will lead towards your final goal, and write a CTA around that.
5. Your CTA is Asking for Too Much
You haven’t earned the right yet 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, they’re not going to do it.
The beautiful thing about a solid and compelling CTA is that you can work it into your sales emails and use technology to optimize it fully.
Our CRM with integrated emailing allows you to test your CTAs at scale. Update a CTA in your emails, and use our built-in reporting features to determine which CTAs are most effective.
You can use A/B testing to compare how well different subject lines, CTA buttons, and email copy work for each email campaign. Measuring click-through rates and conversion rates can help you see what’s most effective, and is a must-have feature of any CRM/email marketing program.
The best sales email CTAs do the opposite of the mistakes we just covered. They’re simple, straightforward, and reasonable requests for actions in the context of cold outreach.
Once 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 (and continue tracking results with our advanced sequences reporting.)
8 High-Converting Email Call to Action Examples
Great sales email CTAs reduce friction and focus prospects’ attention. Here are some examples of CTAs we regularly employ in our email outreach here at Close, along with related email CTA examples.
1. Offer Specific Dates and Times
What if the desired action you want the recipient of your email to take is to schedule a time for a call or a demo? You might think it’s better to let them pick a time that works for their schedule, but a CTA that says, “let me know when you’re free” creates way too much friction and doesn’t inspire action. Instead, try giving your prospect clear and specific options to choose from:
“Does next Tuesday at 11 am or Thursday at 3 pm work for a 15-minute call?”
By offering two options, you’re doing the work for them, and all they have to do is say yes or no—leaving you with the option to propose a few more days/times if they reply with the latter.
Better yet, include a link in your CTA to a calendar that allows them to book a time directly.
2. Use the 1, 2, 3 Email Hack for Unresponsive Prospects
Let’s say you’ve been cold emailing and following up with a prospect and haven’t gotten a 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 three clear options and say:
“Just hit reply and give me number 1, 2, or 3.”
In this situation, I only need to hit three keys on my phone or computer to respond. Reply. 1, 2, or 3. And send. That’s it. There isn’t a simpler CTA in the world, and any response provides valuable information about how to move forward with this prospect.
3. Make Complex Requests Incredibly Simple
If you’re asking for an action that requires a bit of effort—like signing up for a trial and testing your product—your CTA needs to be especially compelling. This means going out of your way to make the action as simple and clear as possible.
For example, you could say:
“Click here to start your free trial! You’ll get access to an extended 30-day trial, no credit card required. Test out the product and see the results I’ve been talking about for yourself!”
Not requiring a credit card and making it very clear what they’ll get reduces friction and makes it easy for them to convert.
4. Create a Sense of Urgency
Compel prospects to take action now by offering an expiring link or limited-time offer. Even though most prospects will see this as a sales technique, they’ll still be motivated to take action because of the psychological “fear of missing out.” Nobody wants to miss out on a good deal or special offer.
In the previous example, just replace the first sentence with: “Click to start your free trial before it expires in 48 hours.”
5. Use AI and Automation to Entice Prospects
Wowing your prospects with cool technology is an effective way to make your call to action more enticing. A good example is scheduling software that integrates with your CRM and calendar program to provide prospects with a “wow, that was easy” way to book an appointment in just three clicks. And, in this case, it also saves you a step. Use a CTA such as:
“View my calendar here and pick a 15-minute timeslot that works for both of us.”
6. Give Them a High-Level View of What To Expect
Buyers can be hesitant to engage in what they clearly perceive as an email marketing campaign. Reassure them by giving a high-level overview of the next step in the sales process after they take the desired action mentioned in your CTA.
“Once you set up a meeting time, you’ll receive an email confirmation and overview of the questions I’ll have during our call. You can also reply with any preliminary questions you have for me.”
7. Call Out Pain Points and Include Social Proof
If your software has solved the same pain points for numerous organizations, say so as part of your CTA.
“Try our software and join the hundreds of organizations using ABC Learning Systems to take the headaches out of online training management.”
8. Tease the CTA in the Subject Line
What’s the point of a good email copy if it never gets opened? People open your messages because of two things: who the email comes from and the subject line. Don’t get too complicated when you mirror the CTA in your subject line. Just reinforce that the action in your CTA is easy. For example:
“Re: Trying out ABC Learning Software - Here’s your free demo.”
To sum it all up: End every sales email with a clear call-to-action that leaves no room for ambiguity or misinterpretation around which action you’re asking your prospect to take to move the conversation to the next stage.
You may need to do some testing to find the perfect CTA, but it’s worth it. And luckily, our built-in email tools make it easy to perfect your CTAs via A/B testing and advanced metrics.
Pro Tip: Use Your Email Signature as a CTA
Your email signature is one of the most valuable, underutilized pieces of real estate in an email. To most salespeople, it’s an afterthought rather than a tool that can be used to further sell to the prospects you’re emailing with.
Most average email signatures have your name, title, contact info, and logo. Like so:
Sales Manager, Acme Solutions
What’s your first thought after looking over this very common email signature? Probably not much of anything.
It’s not thought-provoking. It’s boring. And it certainly isn’t doing anything to further your sales conversations.
We’re big believers in selling in your signature. You can use your email signature to build credibility, offer your recipients something interesting, or even to showcase tidbits that are relevant to the prospects you communicate with.
In my email signature, I pitch recent product news, my latest book, and my podcast—and I change it to whatever it is I have going on when I’m sending the email. I want recipients to see my signature and think, “Hey, that looks interesting!”
Here are a few ways to use your email signature to close more deals:
- Share Press Features: One of the best ways to passively sell (and boost your credibility) is by including a link to a positive press article in a relevant publication that highlights your company’s accomplishments. Have a recent write-up about your stellar growth? Show it off. If you have’t reached the point of landing article features yet, take the initiative to publish your own stories about recent successes and new landmark customers on a company blog (check out this guide to starting a blog the right way if you don’t already have one).
- Embed Webinar Recordings: Another way to intelligently use your email signature to call your prospects to action is by including a link to a recent webinar your company gave. Whether it’s a product demo, a customer interview, a case study, or a keynote speech from your CEO that was recorded, most prospects who are seriously considering your product will be curious about learning more.
- Highlight Upcoming Events: Speaking of webinars, you should include upcoming events your sales team will be at, including forthcoming webinars, trade shows, media appearances, etc.
- Share Relevant Case Studies: Linking to a landing page featuring a positive (relevant) case study can add a massive amount of credibility because your prospects get the opportunity to hear about the benefits and use cases of your product from the mouths of other customers—rather than you (who could be a biased salesperson).
- Include YouTube Videos: A YouTube link is one of our favorite things to include in a signature. In Gmail, when you add a YouTube video link, it displays a thumbnail of the video. Why is this so effective? Because today’s buyers often prefer to digest information in a video format rather than reading a white paper.
- Add Icon Links: Creating a bar of icons to link to your calendar, LinkedIn profile, and other useful links. It’s a subtle way to engage without overwhelming prospects. Here's an example of that in action:
Yes, we know we told you not to include too many CTAs in your cold sales emails. Since we know from experience CTAs in email signatures work differently than traditional CTAs in cold emails, we don’t consider these confusing.
This is largely because they come at the very end of the email, and are thus perceived as more passive than your primary email call to action.
The Best CTAs Make it Easy to Say ‘Yes’
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 succeed at cutting through the noise and catching a prospect’s attention with a cold email, make sure you don’t drop the ball at the last second by fumbling the CTA.
Remember the basics: 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.
As a recap:
- Email marketing requires an effective call to action (CTA) that is clear, concise, and relatively effortless. They need to be simple enough that the action is just a few steps or clicks.
- There are many factors in determining the best CTA for your emails. Doing A/B testing using the above strategies is a good call, and can be accomplished with tools we’ve built into our CRM.
- Psychologically, the CTA needs to give the reader a sense of FOMO if they don’t take action, but not so much that they feel pressured.
- Incorporating an enhanced email signature helps wrap up the end of the email by showing off your expertise in your field, providing social proof, and engaging your prospects until the end.Finally, a robust CRM like Close with email marketing automation, integrated email analytics, A/B testing, and content analysis features is an excellent way to jumpstart your email marketing success. A 14-day free, no-card-required trial is available now. Give us a shot!
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