Published December 2017, updated July 2019
Email inboxes are more crowded than ever before. At 1.47 million emails sent per month, US companies send more emails than the global average of 1.38 million, according to MarketingLand. This results in a lot of messages hitting subscriber inboxes.
Although it’s become tough to gain attention via email, there are ways to stand apart. By using interactive content, you can delight your readers, subsequently improving email engagement.
Interactive content is a great way to engage subscribers and can encourage them to share more information with you. In fact, 81% of content marketers believe that interactive content grabs attention more effectively than static content, according to Content Marketing Institute.
There’s no doubt—interactive email campaigns and those that promote interactive content can help you gain information about subscribers, delight your audience, and ultimately improve engagement metrics and ROI.
Today, we’re sharing 5 easy ways to use interactive content to drive email engagement.
1. Surprise and delight your subscribers
Many emails that your subscribers receive are pretty run-of-the-mill, meaning they’re unlikely to pique much interest. However, interactivity gives you the opportunity to surprise and delight your readers with something new.
If you want to delight your subscribers, include interactive experiences such as video, memes, and GIFs within your messages. Using creativity in your emails can help make your audience love you, and when your audience loves you, they’re much more likely to open your emails and click through to your website.
You can adopt a less formal, more conversational tone with these kinds of emails as well, making your audience see your brand as more human and approachable, which in turn, will make them want to connect with you.
You can see the interactive campaign by checking out this link. (If you’re in Chrome or Safari, you’ll see the interactive version. In Firefox, you’ll see the fallback version).
2. Use psychology to boost results
Interactive content works because of powerful psychological triggers. Consumers are driven to interact by core psychological components such as curiosity or the brain’s ability to respond to operant conditioning.
Understanding and leveraging these key psychological principles will help you build the best possible interactive campaigns, and will entice recipients to engage with your brand.
Once you understand the motivation behind why people click, read, and share, it becomes easier to integrate those successful elements.
3. Combine interactive experiences with personalization efforts
In order to create personalized experiences, you need information about your subscribers. You need to know their preferences, interests, location, gender, age, and other attributes in order to send compelling campaigns.
Interactive experiences provide the perfect platform for gaining information about your subscribers—and you can use interactivity to offer insights in exchange.
For example, Paradigm Life has a Financial Literacy Quiz to help their audience understand their financial knowledge. If Paradigm Life encourages subscribers to take this quiz via email, subscribers will be intrigued by the offer. When they visit the calculator, they’ll be prompted to enter information that Paradigm Life can then use to segment and personalize their future marketing efforts.
4. Promote interactive campaigns that deliver what subscribers want
Consider what your subscribers want to know. Are they wondering which newsletters to subscribe to from a given publisher? Are they looking for prospective homes? What’s the information that they want to know that you can provide?
If you’re able to provide subscribers with the information they want, through an interactive experience, then they’ll be more likely to click-through your email campaigns.
For example, The New York Times published Is It Better to Rent or Buy, an interactive experience that helps people understand their best options for housing. The publisher was able to provide useful information to a subscriber—they’ll be happy to click-through to a personalized experience such as this one.
Ask yourself: How can your business solve a potential customer’s problem and drive conversions? When you problem solve for your customers, they are almost compelled to open your emails, click through, and read your content.
5. Incorporate fun – with no explicit sales goal
It’s tempting to make sure that every email you send has an explicit sales goal, but emails are also an important aspect of building brand awareness and encouraging customer loyalty. When it comes to improving engagement, sheer entertainment may be the way to go.
Try sending out something entertaining for a holiday or making your monthly newsletter interactive. Some of the highest CTRs (click-through rate) you’ll ever get are from emails that don’t have much to do with a promotion or your business but still redirect to your website or other content within the email. For example, table tr td’s simply sent out interactive email bubblewrap.
What is an interactive email? More examples to consider
Interactive emails come in so many forms, it’s easy to think outside the traditional options and create something great. To truly make an interactive email that makes your viewer want to interact, you should know how the best content creators do it.
One of the most interesting strategies some long-running companies have done is to make interactive email a tradition. This gives the audience a sense of familiarity, which can encourage engagement rates that marketers crave. Take this example:
Source: Really Good Emails
This email makes it clear, up front, that interaction is a tradition. The company talks about the perks of asking for feedback last year and then offers to keep the trend going as the calendar switches out again. The text and images all work together here to paint the picture that this type of interaction is good, and engaging can deliver returns.
Takeaway: You don’t want to make it something that’s done so sparingly people feel uneasy when an interactive email comes their way. Make interaction a part of your brand and a part of your email audience’s journey. The more you do it (within reason) the more comfortable they’ll feel taking part, too.
This one brings a different edge to interaction. You’re not just encouraging a reader to interact, in this case. You’re encouraging them to show off a pretty impressive milestone. Getting a person used to posting about your brand on their social channels is a fantastic way to facilitate more interaction in the future.
Source: Really Good Emails
Takeaway: If you don’t have a business model where your customer gets subscribers, that’s okay. You can do this with other milestones and achievements. Scoring special deals, winning contests, earning points, or even simply being with a company for a certain period of time can be considered a milestone by many. Offer them the chance to engage with the brand by sharing the milestone on their own social profiles.
Ask for feedback
Survey says—surveys are a great way to encourage interaction. In this instance, you aren’t just asking your reader to respond. You’re giving them a chance to have their voice heard on a topic they’re passionate about. No matter who you’re sending the message to, or what segment they’re in, people are passionate about getting the most for their money.
Source: Really Good Emails
Having customers talk about an experience they’ve had and whether they think it was worth their investment is a great way to get them talking. Once you’ve found those customers who tend to interact the most through this means, you can group those into their own segment.
Takeaway: It’s good to keep the lines of communication open with all your customers. A good interactive email will seek their feedback to improve their customer experience. Once you’ve found those who like having this type of voice the most, you can continue to seek the same type of interaction from them more when future opportunities arise.
If you’re looking to increase email engagement, look no further than interactive content. Equipped with these tips, you’re sure to find creative ways to drive further results from your email marketing.
To brush up on the benefits of using this type of content, learn why interactive content is so effective in email campaigns.