According to a Litmus poll of email marketers, 2017 is the year of interactive email. Email marketing leaders are buzzing about creating app-like or microsite inspired experiences completely inside an email. If your idea of interactive email is “Dear %%FIRST_NAME%%,” brace yourself for more possibilities.
Here are five examples of how you can incorporate interactive content into your next email.
Navigation bars, accordions and menus
As brands strive to make email a fully interactive, app-like experience, users will continue seeing more web-like navigation and menu options. This is especially relevant to mobile email design, which has traditionally seen tightly constricted navigation options due to screen size. The ability to include hamburger menus and carousels into email code is changing that.
Here is an example from Nissan that uses slide transitions to imitate the navigation of a web or app experience.
The more barriers you can remove for customers, the easier, and more likely, it will be for them to go through with a transaction. Some brands are making it possible for users to shop, manage their cart and initiate transactions completely inside an email.
Check out this example from Litmus. Users can peruse conference dates, options and packages, add tickets to a shopping cart, and hop to a landing page to finalize the purchase.
Real time news and updates
EmailMonday blogger Jordie van Rijn predicts more email will use contextual data, in real-time. This includes content based on geolocation, device, weather, time, (Twitter) trends and stock levels.
Based on real-time variables, these emails will generate content based on the moment of open, not on the moment of send.
According to Adobe, the definition of “real-time email marketing” is email that delivers “contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer lifecycle in ways that reflect the customer’s preferences.”
An example from men’s fashion brand Allen Edmonds shows how the brand used weather and geo-location as variables to deliver contextually relevant content to subscribers. Subscribers in areas experiencing weather warmer than 40º received content featuring rain gear, while recipients in areas experiencing weather below 40º received content offering winter shoes. This particular campaign saw a 300% jump in click-through rate.
HTML5 video and animated GIFs
While video is still not universally supported by different email clients, it is becoming more common, and if your subscriber base is especially active on Apple Mail or Outlook, it’s a good option.
Campaign Monitor listed some best practices for inserting video into your brand’s email experience.
Keep videos short.
Keep the file size small.
Default to mute.
Make sure using video adds value to the email.
Animated GIFs add the interactive element of video with fewer limitations. A report compiled by Email Monks found that emails including an animated GIF see a click-through rate up to 26% higher than one without (Email Institute) and that using a GIF in an email can increase the conversion rate by 103% (Marketing Sherpa).
In an otherwise minimalistic email, this example from The New York Times uses a more subtle animated GIF to tie in an interactive element. Another example from fashion brand Modcloth uses a GIF to feature several products right as the user opens the email.
Games and puzzles
You have probably already heard about how gamification can be used to drive high-quality engagement with your audience. More brands are using gamification to drive interaction and conversions in email.
We recently incorporated a game into one of our own TrendyMinds emails. Users who solved a Simon Says-esque puzzle unlocked a hidden link to view a relevant blog article. Try it out here.
Dynamic content typically requires access to more sophisticated data, and many of these interactive elements will require fallbacks for email clients that don’t support them. But incorporating interactive content into your email marketing efforts, in ways that add value to your audience, is sure to drive engagement and put you one step ahead of the game.
Interested in all things email? Check out a recap of our latest Studio Session, “The Latest and Greatest in Email Personalization.”