Interactive Emails – Four Ways to Make Your Content Pop!

The way we see it, there are two camps of email marketers.

The first camp firmly believes in the adage more is more. They focus all their efforts on building up their email list, thinking that everything will fall into place once it’s big enough.

Then there’s the other camp of marketers, who believe in quality over quantity. These folks argue that the most important thing is to spend well-crafted emails that are compelling and engaging.

Which camp is right? Well… neither, unfortunately.

Here’s the thing: while email marketers love to talk about quantity vs quality, this is actually a false tradeoff.

In other words: you should focus on both quality and quantity at the same time.

Today, we’re going to be discussing the second part of the puzzle (ie: making your emails more engaging, so that you can drive higher click through rates).

More specifically, we’ll walk you through 4 different interactive elements that you can add to your emails, to make them “pop”.

Let’s jump right in! 

1. GIFs

GIFs are an excellent way of spicing up an otherwise boring email – and they can be used to achieve a wide variety of goals.

For instance, you might use a GIF to showcase different products:

To entice your contacts to click through:

Or simply to show off your brand’s personality:

Now, you might be wondering: do GIFs work with all email clients? What happens if my GIF doesn’t load for a reader?

The good news is that the vast majority of email clients support animated GIFs. 

That said, certain clients (Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013, for instance), are still stuck in the Dark Ages, and don’t display GIFs. If your contact is using one of these clients, they’ll see the first frame of your GIF (displayed as a static image) instead. 

How do you get around this?

Simple – just make sure that the first frame of your GIF communicates your Call-To-Action (CTA) so it’s understandable by itself. 

Here’s an example:

Nicely done, huh?

2. Videos

If GIFs are a tad too informal for you, then another option is to incorporate videos (or video screenshots) in your email campaigns.

Now, this is proven to be an exceptionally effective strategy. According to statistics, adding videos to your email can increase your click-through rates by a whopping 300%.

For those of you who want to try using videos in your emails, you have three options:

  1. Embed the video directly within your email
  2. Embed a static image (a screenshot from the video), and allow contacts to click through and watch the video on a landing page
  3. Embed a GIF, and allow contacts to click through

Most marketers steer clear of embedding videos directly in emails, because not all email clients can play embedded videos. (Gmail, which is one of the biggest players, can’t).

That leaves you with option 2 and 3. 

Theoretically speaking, option 3 might work better. Because you’re going with an animated GIF instead of a static image, it should capture your audience’s attention more effectively.

That said, there’s no harm in A/B testing both approaches, and seeing what works best for you.

Now, if you’re testing out using a static image, be sure to superimpose a “Play” button over your image, so as to entice your readers to click.

Here’s how this might look:

Pro-tip: most email platforms only allow files of a certain size (at Sendlane, for instance, you can work with files up to 1MB).

If your files are above that size, use an online tool such as Compress Or Die to compress your image, then upload it.

3. Scratch Cards

Moving on, you can also incorporate scratch cards into your emails.

Scratch cards aren’t typically used by brands (they’re nowhere as common as GIFs and emails!), so using these with your emails will definitely help you to stand out.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a techie to get this set up. All you need to do is to use a tool such as Zembula.

With Zembula, you can create scratch, peel, tear, or pull type promotions:

Say you’re an eCommerce store gearing up for your Black Friday sale. You can send a newsletter to your audience, and tease the sale with a scratch card:

If you’re sending your contacts a “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Anniversary” message, you can also include a promo code on a scratch card as a token of appreciation, and get them to “unlock” their code.

The sky’s the limit here, so get creative! 

4. Countdown Timers

Last but not least, we have countdown timers, which are a staple in the eCommerce industry.

These are pretty straightforward; they help to create urgency, and give your contacts FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out). On your end, this translates to higher click through rates.

While countdown timers are most commonly associated with B2C and eCommerce, those in B2B industries can also use countdown timers to promote an offer.

This example is fun because it has a timer and a GIF:


That’s not all – you can also use countdown timers to:

  • Hype up an upcoming webinar 
  • Pre-sell a product before it’s officially launched, or 
  • Promote an asset that you’ll be releasing soon (eg: an industry report).

Again, there are plenty of tools that you can use to create countdown timers, and you don’t need to have any technical expertise to get this done.

Two of our favorite tools include MotionMail and Sendtric.

A Final Word on Using Interactive Emails

At the end of the day, the goal isn’t just to shove your marketing messages and offers down your contact’s throat.

Instead, you want to start a conversation with your audience, and get them to engage with your content. And that’s where interactive emails come in!

If you haven’t experimented with interactive elements yet, make it a point to incorporate these elements into your email strategy in 2019. 

You’ll see your click-through rates shooting through the roof in no time!

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Kristen Dahlberg

Content ManagerSendlane
As a member of the Sendlane content marketing team, Kristen focuses on everything from organization to content curation and process improvement. She enjoys variety and the challenge of learning the best way to accomplish each new goal.

Outside of work, Kristen spends as much time as possible at the beach, soaking up the San Diego sunshine!