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​Lesley Vos · 10 min read · Partner posts · April 11, 2019

How to use interactive content in your newsletters to boost engagement

Interactive content in newsletters is among the hottest email marketing trends in 2019. Engaging people in dialogue, it creates a personalized experience for a user and brings tons of benefits for your brand.

Email marketing is not about promotion anymore. People don't open your newsletters just to go to another place; they want to interact within your emails, communicating with your brand directly.

And this interaction goes beyond funny GIFs to bright CTA buttons to "click for more info." So what are the most popular interactive options? And when it's the right time to use them?

Keep reading to find out more.

The most effective types of interactive content in emails

When it comes to interactive content in emails, forget about GIFs, buttons, and hyperlinks. They work, but they are separate from "interactive."

Yes, people click on them. However, they lead to your website, blog, Google form, or where ever else you want to take them. Nothing happens within the newsletter.

Interactive content is a built-in element of your email, inviting some actions within the message without leaving. According to an IBM survey, marketers differentiate interactive content in emails, depending on a buyer's journey stage:

interactive content newsletter stats

Ready to try one? Let's take a look at 5 examples and how they work.

1. Surveys

Embedded in emails, surveys do wonders. They triple engagement and response rates, allowing you to get feedback and create more value for your customers.

Surveys are not that difficult to integrate into newsletters.  For example, the drag & drop editor in MailerLite helps to design all kinds of survey questions.

survey interactive newsletter example

All you need to do is go to the Survey category, pick the survey type, fill in all the fields, and set the rules. Subscribers will view the survey directly in a newsletter, and you can see results in the Survey Report tab.

To get the most out of this survey feature, make sure your surveys are:

  • Short and sweet. Avoid asking complex questions that might cover a multitude of answers. They confuse readers, killing the desire to respond. Make questions to the point.

  • Ask questions that meet your goals and lead people to desired directions and actions. And make sure to inform them about what you are going to do with their feedback.

  • Consider the option with open-ended questions, as they give people an opportunity to share a detailed response with you.

You are welcome to create a customized survey and then connect it to your email marketing tool. Responses will be automatically transferred to your contact database, allowing you to segment your target audience and later generate content ideas for emails with their feedback in mind.

2. Interactive infographics

Infographics have become a huge hit and powerful piece of marketing content. Why?

The reason is simple.

This type of content is perfect for engaging all types of audience. Since 90% of people are visual learners, infographics are an ideal way to share info and communicate marketing messages.

interactive infographic example newsletter

You can differentiate your own brand from your competitors by taking infographics to the next level with interactive infographics within your newsletter. Yes, they require more time and resources, but they also bring more engagement and conversion.

interactive infographic example newsletter 2

The above is an example from Pizza Hut. They designed a new menu as an interactive infographic where you can choose pizza ingredients and then order it right away.

Dominos used the same technique, inviting their subscribers to see previews of their new pizzas.

For an interactive infographic to appear in your newsletter, you need to hand-code your interactive emails, which requires some coding. If you need help, MailerLite design services can help you design a custom template.

3. Calculators

This content form works best for brands willing to demonstrate how their service can help clients save money or a return on investment. Calculators are easy to customize and invite users to input own numbers to get answers.

They are perfect for generating leads because people appreciate tools that help them solve a real problem.

Example from Cengage Unlimited:

calculator interactive newsletter example

Build a calculator in a newsletter to demonstrate readers the benefits of purchasing from you. It will influence their consideration when the time comes to buy.

You'll need basic skills in HTML and CSS to embed calculators in newsletters. 

While Calconic, uCalc, and Calculoid are tools to design a calculator for your website, you can use particular CSS pseudo classes with MailerLite's HTML editor to add a calculator to your newsletters.

Create your first interactive campaign in minutes!

Our free plan includes access to features like surveys, countdown timers and more!


4. Games

Interactive content in emails allows you to communicate marketing messages in a way people love most —entertainment.

Quizzes, educational kits, options to choose from, GIF-animations, image carrousel — all they engage, invite users to do some action, influence your brand loyalty, demonstrate your creativity and UTP, and therefore make your email marketing campaign more high-performance.

Just look at the newsletter from BHLDN, inviting to take a quiz and choose the most suitable wedding shoes. When a reader clicks on shoes, she gets on a website page to buy them right here and now.

interactive game newsletter example

And here's the example of interactive content from Sainsbury's. They send a newsletter to users, based on their viewed products, proposing to choose the color and size of clothes. Therefore, subscribers interact with the product even before visiting the store website itself.

interactive game newsletter example 2

Advanced knowledge of CSS is needed to integrate this type of interactive shopping widgets to emails. Here's the guide to coding them for yourself.

Bobbi Brown consider the same approach when announcing their new collection of makeup. Clicking the plus button, you see a page describing the product and inviting you to visit the store. Thus, they kill two birds with one stone: interact with subscribers and advertise their brand at the same time.

interactive game newsletter example 3

The technique to add content like this is known as interactive hotspots. You can build it in your email, using a particular HTML code.

5. Interactive e-books

Okay, it stands to reason that you won't include the whole e-book or white paper in your emails. But consider adding an interactive fragment of your content to captivate subscribers and encourage them to learn more.


interactive map newsletter example
Click the map to see how it works.

This type of content will reward you with leads and sales in the long run. If your brand creates e-books of white papers with interactive elements, build them in newsletters to increase click-to-open rates of your emails.

As far as interactive e-books and white papers require readers to input data, this leads to higher engagement. Such content is more likable and shareable; it gets more feedback from users, delighting them and building your reputation as an expert whom they can trust.

So, why should you use interactive content in your emails?

Here are a few recent statistics that show how interactive emails are making an impact.

  • It builds brand awareness: 88% of marketers consider it effective in differentiating from competitors.

  • It hooks the audience, increasing the dwell time of your emails.

  • It brings higher engagement rates when compared to traditional emails: 18% more unique clicks and 10% more click-to-open rates.

  • It helps with segmentation: 50% react to interactive content in emails when they see it, and 80% disclose the desired information.

  • It works like CTA: 85% of readers turn into leads thanks to interactive newsletters.

  • Interactive newsletters are 2x more convertible than traditional ones.

  • 91% of B2B buyers choose interactive and visual content in emails over static.

Get the most out of interactive content in emails

You know that it takes an extra "wow!" to grab users' attention and make them open your emails. So why not allow subscribers to interact with your brand directly from your newsletter to boost the "wow" factor?

Email has become a content destination rather than a tool for direct product promotion. Interactive elements will help your newsletters stand out from the crowd and boost performance, which leads to great things for your brand.

​Lesley Vos

Lesley is a savvy writer and content strategist. Currently blogging at Bid4Papers website, she also contributes to publications on digital marketing and sales copywriting. Her background helps writers develop the confidence and skills for better content creation and promotion.