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

How to create an interactive email newsletter to boost engagement (with examples) ​Lesley Vos Partner post
· 13 min read · Email marketing · December 10, 2021

Interactive email newsletters are among the hottest email marketing trends for 2022. Engaging people in dialogue, they create personalized, interactive experiences for subscribers and bring tons 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 a few recent statistics that show how interactive email designs 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: 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 works like a CTA: 85% of readers turn into leads thanks to interactive newsletters.

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

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

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, 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 7 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 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.

  • 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. 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. If you need help, MailerLite design services can help you to create a custom email 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 their own numbers to get answers.

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

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.

Create your first interactive campaign in minutes!

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


4. Games

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

Quizzes, educational kits, multiple-choice, GIF-animations, image carousels—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

Here’s another interactive email game example from The Inkey List. The “spin the wheel” type game with discount prizes is a fun and eye-catching way to grab subscribers’ attention and encourage them to engage. 

the inkey list interactive newsletter with spin the wheel game

5. 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.

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

Bobbi Brown uses 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.

bobbi brown interactive newsletter example

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

6. 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

Taylor Stitch gets even more detailed with additional options to provide ratings for different aspects of the product.

interactive email example collecting reviews

7. Interactive e-books

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

Take a look at this example below.

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

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

And if your interactive e-books and white papers require subscribers 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.

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.

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