Would a Caveman Click? Avoiding Call-to-action Malfunction

Your subscriber is drawn in by a juicy subject line and just opened your email with high hopes. The offer is perfect, precisely what he is looking for. He even scanned through the email and now.. and now … [Delete]. Hey! What just happened there? Most likely a Caveman Call-to-Action malfunction.

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Our caveman brains

Our brain consists of different parts, including the cerebral cortex where all the planning and reasoning takes place. But under that thick layer of thinking, there is a much stronger caveman brain. The caveman brain is where instincts and gut feelings originate. Primal and subconscious thoughts and involuntary processes. It evolved in years and years of the human race trying not to die and is super powerful.

We still use the caveman brain all of the time. In the seconds people spend on your email newsletter, a big part of the processing is done by the caveman brain. As you can understand, your email needs both to be very obvious what you want them to do and attractively presented. Ignoring to cater your emails to the caveman is a very easy way to ruin your email marketing campaign.

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Becoming a CTA Caveman Champion

Have a look at this example from the sports clothing brand Champion. Right under the navigation bar of the mail is the main offer “Select tees tanks and shorts 2 for $30”. So where is the CTA? Dr Caveman say: “Me want clear CTA”. This banner definitely calls out for some testing.

The Call to Action “shop” in the example isn’t a strong one because…

Take a minute and see if you can come up with some ideas to improve on the CTA. You can look at the bottom of this article for some hints.

 

 

Anti-caveman call-to-action.

 

Making your CTA Caveman proof

Let’s dig a bit deeper. You can improve upon your CTA and creative design by asking yourself these questions:

  • Which elements can I remove that don’t add to clarity?
  • How can I make it more visual?
  • What elements might be distracting?
  • Does it seem hard to get this offer?
  • Is the wording right?
  • Is there enough contrast?
  • How can I make it easier to understand?
  • Is this offer 100% clear?

All of the above lead to the ultimate question: Would a Caveman Click? Go back to the example and see if with these questions you get some more ideas to improve upon it.

Testing your way up the mountain
For each of the ideas you have for improvement, there might be a lot of counter-ideas. Maybe you are not sure if some of your ideas will work (and you should!) I am definitely for testing your way up the mountain, through AB split testing your newsletter you can learn if your improvement ideas also result in more conversions. The starting point should always be the most obvious and clear “best practice” version you can make.

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Some hints

The CTA in the Champion example: The offer is pretty darn hard to read on the left, being spread over three lines. The CTA could have been clearer by changing size and positioning it in line-of-sight. Also the banner is completely in blue and white, even blending in with the logo and navigation bar. Adding more contrast through colour and design would bring out the CTA more.

Remember:
It is not that your subscribers are lazy (although some might be), but the default is for them to stay in their cave and do nothing. They don’t have a lot of time and will scan your email quickly.  It’s your job, through the CTA, to motivate them to take action.

Which changes would make the example so strong even a Caveman would click?