The ROI battle of links: emotional vs. functional

The success of email marketing is generally measured by the number of opens and clicks. And when we look at the number of clicks, we analyse the calls to action that best drive traffic, and mainly focus on optimizing those. However, most templates contain standard links in their framework, and investing in optimizing these functional links can also be worth your while.

In general we distinguish two types of links: emotional and functional. The emotional link could be a ‘take a free tour’ link or a ‘try out now’ offer. We invest a lot of time in positioning these just right by using the most suitable typeface, font size, placing, colors,… In addition, most emails contain functional links which are repeatedly used in each email campaign. These can take the shape of a navigation bar at the top, an email header, …

Logically, the emotional links will generate more clickthrough than the functional ones. But when we look into the ROI per click, we see that functional links score considerably better. This can be explained by the fact that people who are intending to buy are more likely click on functional links that lead them to their desired product or service faster.

2 practical tips to get the most out of all the links in your emails

1. Include functional links and make sure they are logically positioned: i.e. if you are sending out an exclusive email offer, make sure to provide links that lead your readers directly to the site where they can choose other products or services. Position these links by defining where you would search them yourself. In general you can add a pre-header, navigation bar, left content bar or footer.

2. Test the functional links. We know: testing emotional links is tempting because these tend to generate higher clickthrough. But if you put some effort into testing functional links, you will increase the clickthrough of your email template, regardless of the message.

Conclusion: define which are the functional links and which are the emotional links in your email. Then work on a clear test plan for both of them.

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