Over-Buttoning: An Email CTA Fail

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I am in the process of revamping and reimagining a nonprofit’s primary email marketing newsletter. As a result, I signed myself up for email correspondence from comparable, like-minded brands. For the past month, I have been reading and processing a variety of email newsletter types and the main take away from my review is an overload of Call-To-Action (CTA) buttons. 

Orange buttons. Blue buttons. Buttons with borders. Buttons with bold text. Buttons aligned right, left and center. “Read more” buttons. “Register today” buttons. 

Maureen Maycheco, Communications Director, <a href="https://coloradononprofits.org/">Colorado Nonprofit Association</a>Too many buttons. 

CTAs require care. CTAs must be thoughtful of your audiences’ preferences and past behaviors, as well as the sender’s intended outcomes and expectations for action. When your email newsletter has 15 content segments and 15 CTA buttons, it is time to rethink and realign your audience expectations. Mail Chimp sites the average nonprofit Click-Through-Rate (CTR) for email marketing at 2.57%. Swaddle each CTA in a soft content (and image) blanket of what, how and why. 

Over-buttoning is a classic case of information overload. From the reader’s perspective, this heavy-button formatting creates a one-way communication channel. Do this. Click this. Read this. You are delivering a scrollable to-do list, with 15 action items. Where is the value for the reader?

Do this. Click this. Read this. You are delivering a scrollable to-do list. Where is the value for the reader?

Image of lots of CTAs

I recommend strategic and limited button use. In creating your CTA buttons, implement industry best practices for language, aesthetic and size. Utilize buttons to call attention to one or two actions. Call out the most critical actions, time-bound actions, actions tied to more extensive campaigns, or actions that return a benefit to your audience.

The purpose of a CTA button is to grab your readers’ attention and lead them to act. When using a button, please ask yourself if the button demands attention and drives your audience to commit? If your button is floating in a sea of 15 other buttons, it does neither.


This article originally appeared as a LinkedIn article from Maureen Maycheco, Communications Director for Colorado Nonprofit Association. It appears here with her permission. We encourage readers to check out some of her other articles, too.

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