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How to Improve Your Email Click-Through Rates with Interactive Content

Cheyenne (Miner) Ng
Cheyenne (Miner) Ng , Director of Marketing, Zembula

Email is still one of the top channels for marketers. But, honestly, not much has changed in the way of email content when we think of all the other marketing channels and how they’ve evolved. Many marketers still send static, flat emails most of the time. Only a handful of forward-thinking marketers have leapt forward and challenged the status quo. These marketers have begun to use interactive content in their emails and are seeing massive benefits! Interactive email content increases click-to-open rates by 73%!

Bringing Emails to Life with Interactive Content

Here are a few ways you can add interactive content to your emails and start seeing the benefits, including a massive lift in click-through. It isn’t as hard as you think – and more tools are emerging every day that will help marketers bring email to life.

1. Gamify your emails

It goes without saying, but when you entertain your audience, you make them happier. However, what you probably didn’t realize is that gamification can have direct impact on how your brand is remembered. Adding gamified elements to your email gives your audience a memorable experience they’ll reflect back on when they are looking to make a purchase.

Quizzes, polls, and other clickable or reactive elements in emails have become increasingly popular. These added sparks not only entertain recipients and make your brand stand out, they can help you collect more data about your audience. There are loads of tools out there to help you, depending on your needs.

Online women’s fashion retailer Modcloth leveraged the below email as part of a campaign to get people to discover their own personal style:

This email does a great job of piquing the curiosity of the viewer and highlighting ModCloth products by delivering on their promise to help them discover their specific and personal style.

2. Use psychology

Armed with an understanding of the dynamics of consumer psychology and behavioral marketing, you’ll have a better chance of seeing an uptick in engagement. By understanding the mind of your end consumer, your job becomes a lot easier. When it comes to email content, focus on three main psychological principles — FOMO, Curiosity, and “the Ikea Effect.”

We’ve all heard about FOMO, or the fear of missing out. It’s one of the most powerful tools in your repertoire. Consumers don’t want to feel like they are going to miss out on something big, so all you really have to do is allude to a sale, an event, or a timed-promotion and inject some urgency. This is best accomplished with a countdown timer:

Curiosity is also a strong driver of human action — and the best part is it’s pretty easy to add an enticing element to your emails. Try asking questions or adding multiple layers into your emails. Trivia or mystery sales are great ways to pique curiosity. Legoland did an excellent job with this email where they hid their offer from viewers initially. Recipients had to click and slide to reveal the full scoop!

You may not be as familiar with what’s been coined as “The Ikea Effect.” The Ikea Effect basically states that if you build something, you attribute more value to it. You can apply this to your marketing by letting your audience participate in the creation of the offer.

Once someone takes action and feels as if they have had a hand in “building something,” they are more likely to take you up on that offer. Emails with “choose-your-own-adventure” elements are a great way to foster the Ikea Effect. Check out this example by Taco Bell:

taco bell

3. Do something to stand out

Gone are the days when marketers could just fire off any old email and expect a standard level of engagement. Static, boring, or flat emails simply don’t stand a chance with all the brands doing more today. Marketers need to be agile and adapt to a changing environment. The risk takers are rewarded!

Keep your ear to the ground for trends and solutions that will fit into your larger email marketing strategy… and if dynamic emails fit into that, explore them. Look for ways to incorporate clickable elements, video, or, at the very least, a little bit of motion. The results speak for themselves. Interactive content has been proven to get up to 3x the amount of conversions as static content.

Design also plays a huge role in standing out. A well-designed email can move mountains when it comes to engagement and attention. Try something fun or cute. If it’s on brand, try to incorporate something adorable.

With this example from Pretty Little Thing, curiosity is piqued via reveal marketing, but they designed something their audience is sure to love. The fast fashion brand hits millennials with bright pink and unicorns. Hover over the flying horned creature, and you’ll uncover a free shipping discount.

Thinking a little outside the box goes a long way in your emails. Check out all these really great examples for more inspiration.

4. Connect to your audience on a deeper level

Audiences and businesses have come to expect personalization in the emails they receive. The one-size-fits-all approach is dead, but you don’t have to die along with it. Deep personalization seems like an impossible task for most marketers without huge resources or teams, but there are steps you can take to get on the right path.

Start by segmenting your audience. Segment by audience type, demographic, engagement, site visits, reactivation, and more. Utilizing great segmentation and combining it with interactive content helps you send more relevant emails, leading to more opens, clicks, and visits to your website.

Interactive content gives your audience the feeling of one-to-one communication even if your tech, data, or processes aren’t yet fully up to speed. Your audience will feel like they’re involved in your marketing and not just being marketed at. Sending interactive product recommendations based on purchase history is a great way to combine these two tactics.

If you want to take things into hyper-drive, try incorporating dynamic content along with interactive content. This tactic is great for a post-purchase follow up. Why not ask for reviews in email, like this one by Home Depot?

5. Incorporate what works long-term

Your audience is incredibly unique, and only you can figure out the winning combination when it comes to email engagement.

Even if you think some of the emails you sent that worked were one-offs or just a little bit gimmicky, think again. Thanks to operant conditioning, humans can be trained to respond in a specific way to messages. This means that if you reward your audience with fun experiences, engagement builds over time. Positive reinforcement will create a dynamic in which your audience expects and knows how to respond to your messages.

You can even incorporate some of these elements in your rewards or loyalty programs to foster more engagement (i.e., try gamifying your loyalty programs)! Just adding points and fun prizes can often be enough to propel members toward action, like Starbucks:

Final Thoughts

It’s time your email campaigns got an upgrade. It’s time your subscribers got a taste of who your brand really is. Incorporating interactive content is not only effective, it has become extremely simple to implement with the help of easy-to-use tools. Today’s consumer demands more engaging and dynamic experiences, and if you don’t give it to them, the competition certainly will. ◾

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About the Author


Cheyenne (Miner) Ng is the Director of Marketing at Zembula where she is responsible for development, implementation, and execution of strategic marketing plans for the entire organization in order to attract potential customers and retain existing ones. Zembula helps brands engage and convert every potential customer with unique interactive experiences that are easy to create and implement.

Connect with Cheyenne: LinkedInEmailZembula

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