Writing a Call to Action Email: Be Direct

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Building a Storybrand" by Donald Miller. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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How do you write a call to action email? What is the purpose of these emails?

A call to action email is the last email in a nurture campaign. This email brings up a problem, poses a solution, and asks the customer to take action to solve the problem.

Read more about a call to action email and how to use them.

A Call to Action Email

To create a call to action email, follow the formula below and use the ideas and content you came up with in your brandscript. (Steps 1 and 3 are the same as for the nurturing email.)

  1. Bring up a problem.
  2. Mention a product you sell that fixes the problem.
  3. Explain how life will be improved after the problem is fixed.
  4. Call the customer to action directly. (Don’t be passive—as discussed earlier, passivity suggests weakness or a lack of confidence in your product.)

Shortform Example

Email Subject: A solution for stuck cakes

Dear [customer name],

At some point or another, every baker encounters a cake that sticks to the bottom of the pan (1). No matter how well you greased or floured the pan, your cake is stuck, and it’s nearly inevitable that it’ll break as you try to get it out. We hate this so much we developed a special non-stick cake pan that makes cakes slide right out the pan (2). No more banging on pans or cutting cakes out of them! (3)

Right now, we’re offering this cake pan at half price. Call us today at 123-4567 to reserve yours. (4)

Happy baking!


Yummy Cooking Store


We equip amateur bakers with the tools they need to pull off even the toughest recipes and impress their family and friends.

P.S. Make sure to call today—the pans are going fast! (4)

As you write a call to action email, make sure you have a strong problem, solution, and call for your customer .

Writing a Call to Action Email: Be Direct

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  • How storytelling enhances brand marketing
  • Why you should make the consumer the hero of your brand's story
  • The 7 elements that make marketing work

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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