Email marketers are always in an uphill struggle to win attention away from all the other emails in customers’ inboxes. There are plenty of techniques for getting attention, and clearly you need to do everything possible to make your mailshots stand out. But does that include interactive elements? Here’s why it might be a good idea, and what kinds of interaction work.
What is interactive email content?
A traditional email is a passive medium; that is, it’s a one-way relationship, and the reader is merely a consumer of what you’ve got to say. When you introduce interactivity, however, the reader has some personal input into what’s displayed, and they can even provide you with information because of it.
Whereas in the past, interactivity would have involved clicking on a link to a web page, now, the whole process can happen within the email client, with no need to go to a browser. That can make a huge difference, because all those seconds it takes to launch the browser app or open a new tab, then load the content, can cost you dear when people lose interest. With interactive emails, the content is, on the whole, already downloaded, so it runs instantly.
Types of interactive content
Remember, email uses HTML just like your browser, and with super-flexible HTML5, there’s nothing you can do with a web page that you can’t do with an email. The only real limitation is with file size, especially if your interactive elements have to load additional content such as video once clicked. In truth, though, most interactive content, even a short, low-resolution video file, won’t tax the modern connected customer, whether they’re outside on their mobile or using a desktop PC.
Here are some effective ideas for introducing interactivity into your email newsletters:
- Surveys – you can ask a few questions about a subject and your recipients can answer them within the browser. Because it’s hassle-free and they’ve already got the message open, you’ll find a higher response rate than if you link to a web survey. You can use surveys to base new articles on.
- Ratings and feedback – ask people to give a star rating, whether it’s for the email itself, your mails in general or your business. It’s useful for gathering satisfaction information to influence future email subjects.
- Image effects – why not include mouseover or touch effects in your images? It’s a great way of making more interesting content.
- “Read more” accordions – display some opening paragraphs or even just titles in the email by default, but with an “expand” button, readers can open up extra content. It’s a useful way of keeping the main body short, but allowing readers to delve deeper into just the subjects they’re interested in. An alternative is a list of titles at the top that can be clicked or tapped to take the reader straight to the relevant part of the email via anchors.
- Games and tools – you can even insert little games to challenge users, or tools to do something useful, like perform calculation or find the best prices for a given product.
Professional HTML emails
It takes a special set of skills to produce these hard-working emails, but people who try interactivity in their emails rarely regret it, as it’s so effective. Why not have a look at Gooey’s HTML coding for emails? We know what works, and how to make it fizz.