In Marketing Sherpa’s Email Marketing Benchmark Report for 2012 (note the free excerpt offer!), email marketers reported an average clickthrough rate of 26%.

If your rates aren’t that high, don’t fret – rates are going to vary somewhat by industry and by audience. But that’s not to say you can’t make efforts to attract as many clicks as you possibly can.

There are many long-term endeavors marketers use to increase interest and trust, and in a roundabout fashion, clicks: things like responding to all email inquiries, being as transparent as possible and sending on a regular schedule.

But there are also ways you can attract clicks with the email itself. Try one of these methods:

Create a Mystery

When challenged with a question, who can resist finding out the answer, especially when it’s just a click away?

The Soap Crone sends her email subscribers a mystery gift so they’ll have to click to her site to discover it.

Since the mystery is how much discount can be gotten, it appeals to bargain hunters as well as thrill seekers and fun lovers.

Appeal With Texture

Use images with a lot of texture, and your email viewers will want to touch and taste. Instead of reaching into the picture itself, all they can do is click on it – so they do.

Terrain‘s offer shows their pink sea salt, a pretty product, not only bottled up the way customers would receive it, but also sprinkled onto a black surface to highlight the salt’s crystalline grain.

A Note on Heavy Image Use

Spam filters are sensitive to image-heavy emails, as spammers have used them in attempts to disguise their message content. However, there are a few ways to show the filters you’re not spamming.

As Laura Atkins from Word to the Wise says, “If you send mail that is heavy on the images and low on the text, it’s going to look like spam. This doesn’t mean it’s going to be a delivery problem necessarily. But, if the mail has other issues: mentions domains that have iffy reputations or recipients that aren’t engaged then a heavy image to text ratio may be enough to tip the mail into the bulk folder.”

For the most part, delivery comes down to subscriber engagement. “There are lots of senders who use poor formats but see no delivery problems because the mail is wanted,” she says. “The ISPs know the recipients want it and so they deliver it.”

Besides, we all know how many words a picture is worth, especially when you’re trying to elicit a reaction.

As Email Marketing Reports reports, “Fact is, image-heavy emails – in the right circumstances with the right execution ? can outperform the alternatives.”

Add Texture to Your Mystery for Max Appeal

Acuvue sent a happy birthday surprise to their contact lens customers.

Not only is there a mystery here, but the creamy texture of the frosting makes not clicking all but impossible.

The concept of a gift works especially well, as you can see in these examples, but don’t feel limited to just that option. You could also create a mystery around:

  • your newest project
  • a role you’re hiring for
  • a special event coming up

Just make sure any images you use show plenty of texture.

How Do You Make Yourself Irresistible?

We subscribe to a lot of our customers’ and readers’ campaigns (we love seeing what you guys come up with!), and there are plenty of times we can’t resist clicking the calls to action.

So, tell us in the comments how you do it! What’s your secret to getting your subscribers to click through to your site?