Interactive Email: The Guide to Earth-Shattering Inbox Experiences

Engaging potential customers with enhanced interactive email marketing is an untapped method that is harnessed by very few businesses today.

Using interactive emails is one of the best methods for great email marketers to deliver a brand’s message in an accessible way.

In order to truly make your emails stand out to subscribers and potential customers, you have to get a bit creative.

Interactive emails are worth the time and planning, and using this guide will walk you through the nuts and bolts involved throughout the process to ensure your emails truly shine.

What is an Interactive Email?

Although using an animated graphic (.GIF) or a search bar while in motion in your emails may look appealing, it does not make the email itself interactive.

An interactive email is when a user takes an action within the email that triggers an event to occur in the same email simultaneously.

In this example from UGG, users can scroll through an image gallery of sandals in different colors.

interactive email example ugg

Interact with this email at Really Good Emails

Implementing interactive drop-down lists, quizzes, and even in-cart checkout options are all ways to drastically increase sales and click-through rates in your email campaigns.

Using graphic elements that change when clicked on without users leaving the email to visit your site is one example of interactive emails, which allows you to showcase more content without quickly whisking them off to your site.

This encourages them to become more involved and interested in your brand (that can quickly lead to higher conversion rates in the long-term).

Why Are Interactive Emails Taking Off?

While apps on the market had seemingly taken over, there is a massive drop involving the overall use of applications on all markets, while email marketing is still one of the top contenders in terms of marketing online.

While some messaging applications such as WhatsApp, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger have taken off, 75% of all app users churn within the first days of using an app they have downloaded according to Localytics.

Because communication is still a rising and dominant trend, implementing interactive emails for your future campaigns is a way to boost the communication with readers and customers without requiring them to access the information you want to send through the use of another browser or downloadable application.

Apps take up space on mobile devices, which can quickly turn users off and away from the space (causing them to enter and exit the application in order to get other tasks done).

Email marketing already has a leg-up as a conversational communication channel, with upwards of 90% of email users checking their inbox daily.

With emails, they are designed for mobile and easy to read, access, and engage with when opened.

Emails also have a higher engagement rate, allowing you to appeal to both loyal customers and new subscribers.

Additionally, users checking their email are not required to install additional applications and emails can be accesses using any OS, such as iOS and Android.

Best Interactive Email Examples We’ve Seen (So Far)

When done properly, interactive emails can enhance any section of your emails you choose, ideal when sending messages to segmented groups or looking to appeal to a specific audience in your email lists.

They are perfect for implementing searches, quizzes, product reviews, in-email purchases, in-email add-to-cart functions, and even photo galleries.

interactive email example penguin random house

Interact with this email at Really Good Emails

Showing multiple products with flashy and attractive buttons that allow users to scroll through content without expanding the overall length of your email is another way to stand out among competitors, helping subscribers to remember your content and what you have to offer.

Along with drop-down images and menus with animated GIFs, quickly draw attention to the uniqueness of each and every email you send out in your upcoming email campaign.

It is also important to keep in mind that good design is also necessary for interactive emails to work.

Be sure to incorporate your brand’s colors, logos, and the overall aesthetic of your website or the look you are going for with your business in each message you send.

Your email designs should be as consistent as possible with the look of your brand and how you want to present your products, services, and information shared with subscribers.

While interactive elements and tools can draw users in to read more about your business or tempt them to make a purchase, it is always recommended to develop email designs that are closely related to your brand’s logo, fonts, and overall color schemes.

This will keep their interest while building a more positive reputation and reception for the business you are promoting.

The Biggest Hurdle with Interactive Emails Is…

Although interactive email marketing is much more effective in engaging users, there are a few hurdles to consider while planning your next email campaign strategy.

There are some objections traditional online marketers will need to adjust to in order to get buy-in, such as using email as a way to drive website traffic and overall click-through rates.

Research competitors within your industry and subscribe to their email lists in order to get a sneak peek at what is working for them, also prompting new ideas on how you are able to outshine them in future campaigns.

The more aware you are of “what works” within your industry, the easier it is to modify and update your own style of email campaigns to keep users wanting more from you in the future (without getting tired of traditional email campaigns and sales messages).

Interactive emails also keep subscribers inside of an email, which can cause a reduction in some of the traditional metrics marketers are familiar with and like to hang their hats on.

interactive email example sunglass warehouse

Interact with this email at Scope

This may cause some marketers to feel inferior or intimidated by the challenge of introducing a new way to explore email marketing.

On the contrary, interactive emails can ultimately improve the user’s overall experience with receiving emails from you while strengthening the quality of your email marketing program altogether.

Tips to Remember Designing Interactive Emails

Keeping a few tips in mind when designing an interactive email is a way to ensure your messages are sent with best possible outcome in terms of opens and potential sales.

CSS Fallback Strategies

Verify that each interactive email you send out within a campaign has additional fallback content if the email client itself is unable to render your full design.

The simplest method to handle different email capabilities is to display different content based on the user’s specific capabilities, keeping messages and personalization consistent without the risk of losing your readers or causing them to unsubscribe.

If an email client is unable to handle intricate designs and interactive material, always be sure to provide a plain-text option so subscribers are still able to see your content and the message you want to convey without hassle.

Using resources such as FreshInbox is a way to review charts detailing dynamic CSS support for all email clients so you are able to guarantee your messages are accessible and visually-appealing regardless of how your readers receive them.

Having a user attempt to open an email that is not designed properly or functional whatsoever is a quick way to lose readers and the interest they have in your brand.

Taking the extra time to utilize various email designs for individual email clients will keep your click-through rates high and your unsubscribe rates low, allowing you to reach even more readers with future campaigns you have in mind.

QA Your Email Design

Because no two email clients display interactivity within messages the same, testing is essential before launching a new campaign to mass-send to your readers.

Experiment with the overall aesthetic and design of your email (along with the CSS coding) and test them individually using an email preview tool.

Ensuring your emails are not distorted and send similar designs along with the interactive actions you want to include is imperative to avoid turning away potential customers or aggravating your readers with what appears to be an “outdated” and improperly coded or designed message.

Test each email you design and create for an upcoming campaign extensively before sending them or having them go live to avoid issues.

If an email is not legible to readers or they are unable to make sense of the way it appears in their inbox, you also pose the risk of having the message marked as “spam”, which can trigger your emails or entire website to become blacklisted by email clients if enough users are reporting similar problems.

With the proper testing during the process of creating and executing a new email campaign, retain as many subscribers and loyal customers as possible with less confusion and more enthusiasm when opening and interacting with your messages.

Try Using Tool-Tips

Many consumers and individuals using email today are not familiar with seeing interactive emails regularly, so using prompts and tool-tips to encourage them to interact with the elements in play is a way to boost engagement without confusing them.

Showcasing new and fun features within your emails is also a way to quickly inform your readers of the capabilities your emails offer while giving them a unique way to remember your brand and what you are showcasing (whether it is an upcoming sale or new products and services you plan to launch soon).

Track Metrics With Your Interactive Email Marketing Campaigns

One of the best ways to determine which type of emails work for your brand and the level of interactivity is ideal for you is to review the metrics of each individual email you send with analytical reports.

Compare your open rates, click-through rates, and what type of feature works best for your subscribers while monitoring your campaign analytics.

Keep track of each message you send with analytic reports to craft even more successful and engaging emails you want to send during your next campaign.

The more testing and monitoring you conduct, the easier it is to see what is working for your readers and which elements you are able to improve on in your next message to retain as much interest as you can with your brand.

Are You Ready To Run With Interactive Emails?

Interactive email can help push the typical email marketing boundaries while getting you out of your comfort zone.

However, the experience you are able to give your subscribers and loyal patrons will become contagious leaving them hanging for your next email update!


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