Interactive Emails 101

Email Marketing
Interactive Emails 101
Article by Bisera Stankovska
Last Updated: March 21, 2023

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways of nurturing leads and driving conversions. But the fact remains that your email is competing with many others inside your customers' inbox to get their attention.

So, how can you get your potential audience to look forward to your content and spend time going through it? The answer is interactive emails.

By making your emails interactive, you can hope to engage your readers and nurture them to become your loyal customers.

Let's delve deeper and understand what interactive emails are and in which ways and why they work so well for business, with insights from experts at a leading email marketing agency.


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What Are Interactive Emails?

Interactive emails comprise functional elements to invite the readers to engage with the content. The engagement can be in the form of swiping, tapping, clicking, or just watching. Interactive mail can be anything from an illustration, a quiz, a GIF or a countdown timer.

Suppose you are wondering why businesses need to send such well-thought interactive emails. In that case, you need to consider the massive number of emails – work or personal – you receive in your inbox daily. Interactive emails cut through that noise and attract the reader’s attention.

Research shows that while 91% of consumers want interactive content, only 17% of marketers can provide them with the same. However, businesses need to ensure that these elements work for their target audience.

Interactive emails today are also part of b2b email marketing campaigns. Let’s understand more about leveraging interactive emails to achieve specific business goals and objectives.

Why Do You Need to Create an Interactive Mail?

We now understand that interactive emails are engaging and great at increasing conversions. But, when do you need them? Though you can implement them anytime, here are some of the most popular ways of deriving the benefits of interactive emails.

Highlighting New Product Features

If you want to announce or introduce new features to your product, you need not wait till the time you can show it. Interactive email can be an excellent support in this venture.

Consider the example of Canva. This graphic design platform frequently sends emails to its subscribers sharing new features. Simple GIFs make their users easily understand and excited about what more they can create on the platform.

Teasing an Upcoming Event or Announcement

Imagine that you are preparing for a huge sale or an upcoming event. You can use interactive emails to create buzz and anticipation around it.

Adidas created a fantastic GIF on Mother’s Day, portraying a woman wearing some Adidas gear and running with her two children.

Such interactive emails make the readers stay with the brand’s visual identity.

Increasing Your Email Engagement

Sometimes, you can use interactive emails just to improve your metrics.

There are times and situations when they click-through or the open rate is low, and you want your subscribers to participate actively. Going with the purpose, the newsletter can come with a question of the day relating to a topic covered in the email.

Such interactive elements serve two purposes: engaging and exciting the audience about the content and helping the team learn more about the audience.

Examples of Interactive Email Design

Here are some of the best examples for businesses and marketers looking for interactive email design inspiration:


GIFs are the ideal middle point between videos and images. A video can slow your email load, and static images can be tedious. On the other hand, GIFs add movement to your email while also grabbing attention.

GIFs are click-catching and hence, have a click-through rate twice as high as emails without them. They are great at converting too.

Countdown Timers

Countdown Timers are the best interactive elements for emails about upcoming events or sales.

It is a great way to create a sense of urgency and build anticipation. Countdown timers require HTML knowledge, but they are worth the time.

It has been found that emails that contain countdown timers drive 30% more registrations than cold call emails or conventional ones.

Apart from upcoming sales or events, countdown timers can be used for website or product launches, milestone celebrations, and free trial notifications.


Creating quizzes and polls are efficient ways of increasing your newsletter's engagement rate. HubSpot saw a 5% increase in unique clicks and open rates after they added a “Question of the Day” poll to one of their newsletters.

The “Question of the Day” works in a manner that the users have to answer the questions today to see the poll results from yesterday’s question. This also creates a cliffhanger effect, keeping the users engaged.

Quizzes also give readers a feeling of excitement and competition along with some relevant information. They find a reason to come back every day.

Personalized Calculators

Speaking of personalization in email, we usually consider adding the subscriber’s name in the subject line as well as the email body. However, there are ways in which you can take a step further.

Some organizations use interactive tools that send prospects a customized report of the website’s performance. The report also includes specific resources and recommendations for improvements.

This amazing lead generation tool brings you one step closer to converting a subscriber into a customer.

Tips to Create an Interactive Mail

Here go a few more practical tips for creating interactive emails that make an impact on your audience:

Do Not Step Back from Experimenting

There is a learning curve with every new strategy that you implement. You might also have to try out a few interactive elements before determining what works best. And even when you have determined the right strategy, you have to change it based on the type of email and the goals to achieve.

For example, if you want to generate more sales for a product, using lifestyle GIFs can increase conversions by as much as 10%. You can adapt and use that strategy going forward.

However, with the change in the goals, there will be changes in the methods too. Stay flexible and be willing to test various strategies.

Keep Only One Interactive Element per Email

It is tempting once you become an expert in creating interactive emails but try not to overdo it. A good rule of thumb is using one interactive element per email.

Your email recipients will likely be drawn to the interactive content of your mail, which is the goal. But it also means that the other parts might be overlooked. You need to center your email around the interactive factor.

The idea is to make the interactive part the main message without competing for attention in your email.

Prioritize Accessibility

When you incorporate interactivity into your email, do not forget the accessibility factor. This is to ensure that the physically disabled ones can also enjoy the emails without trouble. Some tips to keep in mind would be:

  • Including descriptive alt text in the images and GIFs
  • Using contrasting color
  • Designing your email with the “Dark Mode” in mind
  • Adding transcripts and captions to your videos

Interactive Emails Takeaway

Interactive emails are relatively new, but they have already proven their effectiveness. They work wonders in driving more traffic, increasing conversions and engaging subscribers. Alongside, they help to build trust and brand awareness playfully.

So, whether you are looking forward to spicing up your holiday emails or welcoming your first-time customers, you cannot go wrong by incorporating interactive elements into your email marketing strategy.

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