My coworker and I have a running joke about email copy. All too often we see the dreaded "click here" link in copy, and we always make it a point to send it to each other. For more information, click here.
So since it's everywhere, it must be best practice, right?
It's actually the worst possible practice to use "click here" in email copy. And here's why:
“Click here” requires context.
You’re already getting sick of seeing it on this page, aren’t you? But it’s so much worse for people like myself with attention deficit problems.
When I receive marketing emails in my inbox, I never read them. I still remember sitting in on my first student-teacher evaluation with my parents where my teacher called me a "shallow reader," and "he has some problems focusing in class," and "he never does his homework!"
Where was I?
Oh yeah, our eyes naturally wander to look at things that are different. Links should stand out, so when people are skim-reading your email copy (as I'm inclined to believe most of us do), we tend to read past the text leading up to the links - and actually focus on the links themselves.
So if all I see is "click here to read more," I'm forced to actually read the paragraph to get some kind of context as to what I'm actually clicking on. And if more than one link in the email copy says "click here," I have to force myself to remember the context of each one.
Instead, if you write your links with unique and descriptive phrases, it takes all the extra work away from me, which I am much more appreciative of. After all, isn't about lowering the entry barrier for your consumer to such a point that even a 2 year old would know what to do?
Don't make it complicated.
“Click here” is too restrictive.
As any good marketer would know, it's important to check your analytics to see how you can optimize. For the majority of the clients I am working with, I often see more than 60% of the click-through rates come from mobile. Most of the people who open the emails I send out on behalf of my clients don't even use a mouse; they are busy in the field and are checking emails on their smartphone.
So by writing "click here," it ignores your mobile and tablet audience, and as voice recognition is becoming more prevalent, it's also ignoring that.
If you've spent a couple of hours crafting the perfect email, why would you give your audience the impression that your response, accessible and mobile-optimized email only works on desktops?
“Click here” is patronizing.
It’s not about the journey, it’s about the destination. What will your reader find at your link? Describe the destination instead of dictating how they should get there. They know how to do that, using whatever device they have – which might not involve clicking.
The "click here" craze started in the mid-90s, when web designers started removing the underlines from links (mind blowing, I know). So if your links are distinct from your email copy, you should focus on that instead of writing bad copy to compensate for it.
Assuming your recipients can tell what a link is and what isn't, you do not have to tell them to click it. The interwebs have been a part of our professional lives for longer than I've been alive, and I can tell you even the grumpiest old technophobe would know what to do with a link.
How can you write better links without “click here”
The easiest way to write great links in your email copy is to simply use the name of the destination page. This also reassures your readers that they have arrived on the page they intended to reach, and haven’t gotten lost by accidentally clicking something else.
Consider these three versions of a sentence:
a. For more information about the website, click here.
b. For more information, visit the author’s website, Christianbaun.
c. For more information, visit the author’s website, Christianbaun.
The first example obviously offers the least amount of context. Who is providing the additional information? Where is this link taking the reader? I'm not sure 🤷♂️
In the second example, the copy links the word that describes the relationship to the destination site. But this doesn't ever the fundamental question of where the link goes. It doesn't provide enough context.
In the third example, it's descriptive and goes to the destination.