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10 ways to create an interactive email newsletter to boost engagement (with examples)

10 ways to create an interactive email newsletter to boost engagement (with examples) ​Lesley Vos Partner post
· 15 min read · Email marketing · Apr 20, 2023

Interactive email newsletters are among the hottest email marketing trends for 2023. You can easily engage subscribers in conversation by creating personalized, interactive experiences that yield a ton of benefits for your brand.

Email marketing is not only about promotion. 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 goes beyond animated GIFs and bright CTA buttons to "click for more info". It’s about adding real functionality that enables the subscriber to interact. So what are the most popular interactive email options? And when is the right time to use them?

Keep reading to find out more.

Here are some of the ways that interactive email designs are impacting email marketing results.

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

  • It helps provide clearer data: Since Apple’s privacy updates, marketers are using click rates over open rates to measure campaign performance

  • It brings higher engagement rates when compared to traditional emails: Find out how Souplantation increased traffic to their website by 1,430%.

  • It helps with segmentation by giving you additional insight into subscribers' preferences and behavior, which will enable you to create highly targeted campaigns.

  • It increases ROI: Read how Seagate gained an 807% return on investment.

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 wherever else you want to take them. Nothing happens within the newsletter.

Interactive newsletters have specific elements directly built-in to the email design, inviting some kind of action within the message. According to an IBM survey, the most effective type of interactive content for your business depends on what stage of the buyer’s journey your target audience is in:

interactive content newsletter stats

Ready to try one? Let's take a look at 10 interactive email examples and how they work.

1. Surveys

When done right, email surveys can be powerful tools. They triple engagement and response rates, allowing you to get feedback and create more value for your customers.

In just a few clicks you can integrate a survey into your newsletter. 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 drag and drop a Survey block into your newsletter design, 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.

  • Asking 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.

  • Creating opportunities for open answers. Open-ended questions give people an opportunity to share a more detailed response with you.

You can 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.

This interactive survey email from Wise is an excellent example. The bold text, interactive scale and emojis are eye-catching and make the purpose of the email instantly recognizable. It’s easy for customers to get started with the survey—just one click!

Wise interactive email example with NPS feedback scale

2. Games/Quizzes

Gamification allows you to communicate marketing messages in a way people love most—entertainment.

Quizzes, educational kits, multiple-choice, GIF-animations—they all engage, prompt subscribers to complete an action, influence your brand loyalty, and demonstrate your creativity and UTP. This results in higher-performing email marketing campaigns. 

Just look at this interactive newsletter example from BHLDN, inviting subscribers to take a quiz and choose the most suitable wedding shoes. When a subscriber clicks on a pair of shoes, they are directed to a landing page where they can purchase them.

interactive game newsletter example

3. E-commerce product previews

This is not just another product email! Make browsing and previewing new products easy by embedding a shopping widget in your email. Not only are these interactive product emails more engaging, but they also help to decrease the number of steps needed from discovery to purchase. 

Here's a great example of an interactive email from Sainsbury's. They send a newsletter to customers, based on their viewed products, with suggestions of other items they might be interested in. 

e-commerce product preview interactive email example

In addition to showcasing their products, they even give the subscriber the ability to select a color and size and then add the item to their shopping cart. This enables subscribers to interact with the product before even visiting the store website itself, improving the user experience.

In MailerLite, you can use the e-commerce blocks to create captivating interactive content for your email campaigns. These blocks allow you to seamlessly integrate product listings, pricing, and promotional offers directly within your emails.

Screenshot of the MailerLite drag and drop editor containing a newsletter with a product block selling T-shirts

By providing subscribers with a streamlined shopping experience, you can boost engagement, drive sales, and nurture customer loyalty. Plus, the e-commerce blocks are mobile-friendly and customizable, ensuring your campaigns shine across devices and align perfectly with your brand's aesthetic.

4. Company/product reviews

Gathering reviews enables you to gain invaluable insight into what your customers think about your product, brand or service. You can also use these testimonials to provide social proof on your digital marketing channels. 

Sounds great! So how do you get started? Well, you could include a call-to-action in your email, directing customers to a landing page where they can submit a review. 

Or, a more engaging method that is likely to result in more responses is to create an interactive email that lets subscribers respond directly from within the message. Not only does an interactive email make it easier for subscribers to participate, but it also makes the purpose clearer for those who like to quickly scan the email content. 

Marshall keeps it simple with a 1-5 star rating option and the ability to write a review directly from the email.

marshall interactive email review

5. Image carousels

Add a touch of pizzazz to your email campaigns with image carousels, guaranteed to make your subscribers go "ooh" and "aah" as they swipe through a collection of curated visuals.

By utilizing image carousels, you can efficiently highlight various aspects of your offerings, tell a visual story, or showcase promotions, ultimately driving conversion rates. MailerLite's image carousels are easy to implement and customize, making them perfect for creating a dynamic and immersive experience that sets your emails apart from the competition.

A GIF of an image carousel in MailerLite where readers can click through different images of sneakers

6. Accordions

Accordions are a versatile tool that adds a new dimension to your newsletters. This collapsible content feature allows you to present information in a clean, organized manner, making it easier for readers to digest.

By clicking on a section header, subscribers can expand or collapse content based on their interests, ensuring they only view what's relevant to them. The accordion block not only saves valuable space in your email design but also offers a visually appealing and user-friendly way to deliver your message effectively.

A GIF of an accordian block in MailerLite used as an FAQ, where readers can click to expand the accordian to see each answer
Interactive email tip 👉

Not all email clients support advanced interactivity, so having a fallback strategy for your interactive email content is essential. This can be as easy as using dynamic content settings to display static content to Outlook users and excluding them from seeing interactive features.

7. Interactive invitations

Event blocks offer an interactive and streamlined user experience that revolutionizes the way you’ll promote events with email.

With this feature, you can effortlessly showcase your event details, including date, time, and location, right within your newsletter. Recipients can RSVP with a single click, demonstrating their interest and commitment to your event. Plus, the event block enables users to add the occasion directly to their Google calendar, ensuring they don't miss out on the fun.

Screenshot of an Event block in MailerLite inviting subscribers to a webinar with a button they can click to RSVP and add to their calendar

This smooth combination of event advertising and audience engagement will boost your campaign success, increasing attendance and building solid relationships with your subscribers.

Interactive email templates in MailerLite

Need inspiration? Here are just a few of the newsletter templates in MailerLite that you can use to build effective interactive emails.

Create your first interactive campaign in minutes!

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

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1. 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 audiences. 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 email example from Dominos

The above is an interactive email example from Dominos. They designed a new menu as an interactive email infographic where subscribers can view previews of their new pizzas that they can then order right away.

For an interactive infographic to appear in your newsletter, you need to hand-code your interactive emails, which requires some coding knowledge.

2. 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 their own numbers to get answers.

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

Take a look at this example from Cengage Unlimited:

Calculator interactive newsletter example

Build a calculator in a newsletter to show 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 certain CSS pseudo-classes with MailerLite's HTML email editor to add a calculator to your newsletters.

3. Anchor links

One simple yet effective interactive email element you can easily add to your emails with HTML is an anchor link. Anchor links allow users to navigate within the email content by clicking on text or other elements that direct them to specific sections in the email.

This feature is particularly useful for lengthy emails with multiple topics or sections, as it enhances the user experience by providing a convenient and organized way to access the desired information without scrolling. To implement anchor links, you'll need to use the HTML "a" tag with the "href" attribute pointing to the desired section's unique ID.

Adding interactive elements to your emails is easy but it’s important to test them out before you send them to subscribers. 

Different email clients, such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook and Apple Mail, implement different restrictions and display settings, so it’s important to make sure your interactive email takes this into account. 

And with 41.6% of email opens occurring on mobile devices, it’s important that your interactive emails are mobile-friendly. MailerLite’s Preview feature enables users to view their email for desktop and mobile, so there’ll be no surprises!

With so many conversations crowding subscribers’ inboxes, sometimes directing them to your website just isn’t enough to get that all-important engagement. Placing interactive elements within your newsletters eliminates that extra step, resulting in higher conversion rates, click-through rates and increased feedback you can use to optimize your campaigns.

Moreover, email has become a content destination rather than just a tool for direct product promotion. Interactive emails will help you stand out from the crowd and create fruitful two-way conversations with your subscribers and customers.

What are your thoughts on interactive content? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Editor's note: This post was originally published in April 2019, but it has been updated with new tips and examples. 

​Lesley Vos
​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.