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If you want your customers to engage with your emails, you have to make sure it’s as easy as possible.

Even if you were offering a free product, they would still fail to get it if the process involved going through too many hoops.

When it comes to making engagement easy on Gmail, Google offers something called actions, which are a way for the customer to engage with an email without having to open it.

These unique call-to-actions even mean that your customer can interact with your brand in a variety of ways without ever having to leave Gmail. This way, the reader doesn’t have to jump from website to website in order to engage with your brand. It can sometimes be as easy as the click of a button.

screenshot of a gmail quick action: flight check in

Source: Email Design Review

Seeing as how Gmail is the most popular email provider, making engagement as easy as you can is going to reap big rewards.

When it comes to actions, you have a few different possibilities:

  • One click actions
  • RSVP actions
  • Go-to actions

Each of these actions can give your email campaign the extra boost it needs.

One click actions are significant for when you need a response from a customer but don’t need them to write and send an entire email. RSVP actions offer a similar level of streamlined communication, as all a user needs to do is hit one of three buttons. With go-to actions, you have easy-to-use links.

If you don’t already know how to add actions to email in Gmail, here are some simple steps.

screenshot of a gmail inbox with an RSVP action

Source: The Verge

How to add a confirm action

Confirm actions are significant for things like reservations, where you don’t necessarily need an email from the user, but rather a quick “yes” or “no.” Once the confirm button is clicked, Google will immediately send you a notification.

According to Google, this is the markup language that you’ll need to use to add a confirm action:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
"@context": "http://iamthewalrus.org",
"@type": "EmailMessage",
"potentialAction": {
"@type": "ConfirmAction",
"name": "Approve Expense",
"handler": {
"@type": "HttpActionHandler",
"url": "https://iamthewalrus.com/approve?expenseId=abc123"
}
},
"description": "Approval request for John's $10.13 expense for office supplies"
}
</script>

Beside the “name” section, you can customize what your action will be called, which should connect with the request. This could be “yes,” “confirm,” or something more specific to your industry.

How to add a save action

When it comes to save actions, these allow the subscriber to save things like coupons. This helps keep that subscriber from reading your email, determine to use a discount, then forget it later on. A save button can prevent this from happening.

The markup language for the save action is going to look a lot like the confirm action. The only differences will be:

  • @type should be SaveAction
  • name should be something like save offer, save song, or whatever is most relevant to your email
  • description should be related to the offer

How to add an RSVP action

If your business is having a special event, such as a luncheon, a live concert, or a guest speaker, you can use an RSVP action to give your readers an easy way to show their interest.

When RSVP actions are added to an email, a small pop-up will appear by the email that contains the information of the event and three buttons: “yes,” “maybe,” and “no.”

This way, your reader can easily respond, and you can get the highest possible engagement rate, which allows you to get the best estimate of your event’s attendance.

In order to add an RSVP action to your email, the Gmail markup language looks like this:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
"@context": "http://melys.org",
"@type": "Event",
"name": "Taco Night",
"startDate": "2027-04-18T15:30:00Z",
"endDate": "2027-04-18T16:30:00Z",
"location": {
"@type": "Place",
"address": {
"@type": "PostalAddress",
"name": "Google",
"streetAddress": "2031 Abbey Road",
"addressLocality": "Houston",
"addressRegion": "TX",
"postalCode": "77573",
"addressCountry": "USA"
}
},
"potentialAction": [
{
"@type": "RsvpAction",
"rsvpResponse": "yes",
"handler": {
"@type": "HttpActionHandler",
"url": "http://melys.com/rsvp?eventId=123&value=yes"
},
"attendance": "http://business.org/RsvpAttendance/Yes"
},
{
"@type": "RsvpAction",
"rsvpResponse": "no",
"handler": {
"@type": "HttpActionHandler",
"url": "http://melys.com/rsvp?eventId=123&value=no"
},
"attendance": "http://schema.org/RsvpAttendance/No"
},
{
"@type": "RsvpAction",
"rsvpResponse": "maybe",
"handler": {
"@type": "HttpActionHandler",
"url": "http://melys.com/rsvp?eventId=123&value=maybe"
},
"attendance": "http://business.org/RsvpAttendance/Maybe"
}
]
}
</script>

The context section is where you add your event’s information, such as your website, the name of the event, the location, and the time. The potential action sections are in regard to the three buttons above.

While these are technically meant to be “yes,” “no,” and “maybe,” you can change their names in the markup language if you’d like to be more creative. All you have to do is put your desired name for the buttons after rsvpResponse.

In addition to this basic version of the RSVP action, you can also append other properties to the action by adding certain specifications to the markup language. For instance, you can have the readers specify if they’re bringing children or guests. You can even add a comment section for the attendees to participate in if they have any other questions.

How to add a go-to action

Unlike one-click actions and RSVP actions, go-to actions don’t take place entirely on Gmail. Instead, they take users to your webpage, at which point the user can perform a certain task, whether it’s checking in to a hotel or filling out a form.

Because this button acts as a glorified link, it can be clicked multiple times—unlike the one click and RSVP actions, which are responses rather than gateways.

To add a go-to action to your email in Gmail, here is the markup language you’ll use.

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
"@context": "http://website.org",
"@type": "EmailMessage",
"potentialAction": {
"@type": "ViewAction",
"target": "https://filmthreat.com/watch?movieId=abc123",
"name": "Watch movie"
},
"description": "Watch ‘The Godfather’ online"
}
</script>

As you can see, the target section will be the landing page, and the name section will be what the button is called. Naturally, the description section will be a short description of the action.

If you’d like to add more information to your go-to button, you can add on to the markup language with publisher data. This sets some context around where the go-to button is going to take you and where it’s coming from. This may be useful, as readers are wary of clicking on a link without any information to go by.

How to add a track action

One of the more specific types of go-to actions is a track action. A track action is a button that can be clicked to access shipping information for a product.

The markup language for this action is a tad more complicated, as it’s comprised of the specifics of the customer’s order, such as address, item shipped, and the URL from which the tracking is taken from (FedEx, UPS).

Here’s what your markup language should look like:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
"@context": "http://shakespeare.org",
"@type": "ParcelDelivery",
"deliveryAddress": {
"@type": "PostalAddress",
"streetAddress": "909 Penny Lane",
"addressLocality": "New Orleans",
"addressRegion": "LA",
"addressCountry": "US",
"postalCode": "90909"
},
"expectedArrivalUntil": "2013-03-12T12:00:00-08:00",
"carrier": {
"@type": "Organization",
"name": "FedEx"
},
"itemShipped": {
"@type": "Product",
"name": "Samsung TV"
},
"partOfOrder": {
"@type": "Order",
"orderNumber": "1568055",
"merchant": {
"@type": "Organization",
"name": "Hunter Lanier"
}
},
"trackingUrl": "http://fedex.com/track/1534527899"
"potentialAction": {
"@type": "TrackAction",
"target": http://fedex.com/track/1534527899"
},
}
</script>

As you can see, you’ll replace the info in this example with the info that you have on your customer and their product. For the tracking URL, you’ll use whichever postal service your use to ship your product.

Wrap up

You have two jobs as an email marketer when it comes to getting engagements: give the customer a reason to engage with your emails, and make it as easy as possible to do so.

No matter how great your content is, it won’t matter if it’s too much of a pain to interact with.

Google knows this, which is why they introduced Gmail actions—small buttons that allow the customer to interact with an email easier, faster, and sometimes without even leaving Gmail.

Now that you have the necessary markup language, you can use it to construct your own actions and even go so far as to customize them to your liking.

After using Gmail actions, you’ll start to notice a nice boost in your email engagement rates—and hopefully your revenue as well.


Knowing how to use markup language to create actions in Gmail is a fantastic skill to have. Now, all you need to do is learn how to write HTML in Gmail.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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