Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

You know what the kiss of death is for email marketing? It’s when someone opens your newsletter or email campaign and thinks: “Oh… that’s nice.” Email marketing is supposed to get the reader to DO something, but a call to action can be a difficult thing to achieve when people are comfortably sitting at home.

Five ways to get your readers to go beyond that first email and take the next step:

1. Make it easy to find the next step

Any links you want readers to click should be very, very visible. The best way to do this is to set some space aside for your most important links, maybe in your email sidebar.

2. Link back to your website or social media pages

Emails are often the front door for a marketing initiative – and you don’t want that door leading to a brick wall.

If you aren’t directly using email to offer a discount voucher or other incentive, you will want to drive readers to your organisation’s website to learn more.

A great way to do this is to include samples of articles, customer testimonials, or links to useful pages in your email. Linking to your Facebook Page is an effective way to get people to join your existing community, too.

3. Tell readers what you’re doing

This is an especially important thing for charities and not-for-profits. Donors and members will want to know about all of the latest projects and volunteer opportunities, but they’ll also want to know how their contributions are making a difference.

Businesses can benefit by being transparent and personal in emails, because that builds trust, and trust builds better relationships.

4. Make things scannable

Some readers may not have time for the whole email, but having bite-size information that keeps them informed can also keep them engaged.

5. Show how you can solve a reader’s problems

Education is one of the biggest sales strategies for business-to-business (B2B) organisations, but everyone should use email to show they have a solution to their readers problems – whether it’s finding the right dress or helping out a dog in need.

Three questions to keep you on track

If you’re having trouble creating the kind of email content that leads to action, take a step back and ask yourself these three questions:

  • Who am I trying to persuade to take action?
  • What is the action I want someone to take?
  • What does that person need in order to feel confident enough to take that action?

These questions will help focus each email on an audience, incentive, and follow-through, and will guarantee that your recipients will take that valuable next step.

What kind of content do you find moves your readers to action? Let me know in the comments!