What Are Interactive Emails? (And How You Should Use Them)

Published: | By Gregory Batchelor

Email remains a very powerful tool, even in an omnichannel era where you utilize many different ways of engaging with people.

More than 333 billion emails were sent daily in 2022, which is expected to reach more than 376 billion by 2025.

With such significant numbers and attractive ROIs, it’s little wonder many businesses still see it as one of their primary digital marketing tools

One thing increasing in popularity is interactive emails. Let’s look at what interactive emails are and the different types you can use.

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People want to see new things and innovative ways that address their needs, and that can include things such as personalization.

What are Interactive Emails?

Interactive emails are a marketing tool where the customer (or potential customer) is encouraged to interact with you using elements within the email itself rather than clicking on links that will take them to a landing page or something similar. 

For example, if an email asked you to leave comments on the effectiveness of a .ca domain, you could do that within the email without going to a separate link.

You can encourage customers to carry out a wide range of actions, from completing a survey to adding items to a cart or wishlist, or with a quiz straight from the email.

With a quiz builder, you can easily create interactive quizzes to engage your audience.

Because people do not have to click a link, they may be more likely to engage with you.



In addition to these interactive features, you can also enhance the visual appeal of your emails by taking the time to create infographics that convey information effectively and creatively. 

By making elements of these infographics interactive, you ensure your emails are more memorable and impactful.

Different Types of Interactive Emails

As you would expect, interactive emails can come in different formats according to what actions you are hoping to encourage. 

You can code many other elements within the email's body, but these are some of the most popular ones. 

  • Image rollovers

People like to see different views of a product. Using an interactive image rollover means they can see those different views when they hover their mouse pointer over the image.

Of course, you need to be able to provide any images used at the highest possible resolution you can, and this will require good graphic design skills and the use of relevant programs. 

You can also add details to the images. For example, as well as views of a car from different angles, you could also add various technical specifications of the car.

Image rollovers are about giving control to your customer without them leaving the comfort of their armchair. It can be a handy tool for moving a customer to a possible purchase. 

  • Hover effects 



Image rollovers and hover effects are the two mainstays of a successful interactive email strategy. You can utilize hover effects to highlight particular elements in your email.

It could be as simple as a line of text, such as creating urgency by informing the customer of a time-limited offer or the scarcity of stock. 

However, you can also use it to highlight other images, such as CTAs (calls to action) or images. 

Combined with image rollovers, it can be a great - and informative - way of encouraging customers to interact with your marketing emails. 

  • Gamification

You may already be using some form of gamification on your website. After all, everyone loves to play games, right? 

So why not use interactive emails to deliver that gamification to your customers’ inboxes?

Interactive games create excitement and curiosity and are ideal for customers to engage with you. 

Gamification, mainly when it involves elements such as quizzes, can also be a great way of collecting customer data, which in turn can improve future marketing efforts.

It can help you when it comes to segmenting your email list into different categories other than the standard demographic ones.

Plus, adding an element of fun can be a great way of encouraging brand loyalty. You could use gamification to test out any new web application deployment you have planned. 

  • Buttons 

One of the most common elements in interactive emails, ones that initially seem minor when it comes to engagement, but in fact, can be crucial to the success of your marketing campaigns. 

If you think about the various actions you want your customers to carry out, you can see how functional interactive buttons can be.

  • Encourage a particular action. For example, you may urge customers to add Gmail extensions to their accounts. 
  • Redirect to particular links. While the main point of such emails is to encourage interaction within the email, there is a time when you want customers to visit your site or blog. 
  • Choosing categories. Enabling customers to select a category via a button in their email can save them from browsing your site and, combined with other elements and information, can help pique their interest.
  • Polls and surveys 

Polls and surveys can serve many purposes.

They can let you know how customers view different aspects of your business, from how satisfied they are with your customer service to how good they think your products are.

Polls and surveys can be especially useful when you are managing multiple sites.

However, people may only sometimes see polls and surveys on your websites or when you post them on your social media platforms.

By having polls or surveys within your interactive emails, you encourage them to engage with you without visiting your site or other platforms. 

Insights into what customers think of you means you can tweak and improve things in the future.

It also provides valuable insights into what customers want so you can consider offering those products or services in the future.

  • Videos 



Videos can be an excellent tool for engaging with your customer base.

You can use them to give detailed guides on using a product or launching new products.

UGC (user-generated content) videos can be beneficial as people often like content from other customers.

Video can also be a great way to capture customers’ attention. 

As with polls and surveys, people may only sometimes see these videos when posted on social media.

That means interactive emails allow you to share the videos directly to the customer’s inbox.

You can combine this with personalization; if a customer has shown interest in a particular type of product or service, you can send relevant videos to that person.

  • GIFs

People tend to think of gifs as flippant and amusing.

The reality is that, used properly, they can also be a helpful marketing tool.

The issue with videos is that they can sometimes be too long, or the files may be too large to send in an email.

A GIF can offer a snapshot of a new product that may make the customer want to know more about it.

Another advantage of gifs is that they usually autoplay. That means the customer, assuming they have opened the email, can’t avoid seeing the gif.

You could use a gif to announce anything from a new product launch to a particular sale you are having.

It could be a tease that makes the customer curious and want more information and can help grow your business

  • Adding items

By enabling customers to purchase products or services directly from their email, you are simplifying the entire shopping process for your customers.

Offering shortcuts that deliver a shorter checkout process could lead to higher conversion rates and better sales figures. It can be helpful for many customers, especially ones who buy regularly from you.

Another area where this function can be helpful is with customers who have abandoned their cart for whatever reason.

While this may only be successful with some customers who have left your site before making a purchase, you should still see some customers using the opportunity to change their minds. 


You are likely utilizing emails in various ways within your digital marketing strategies already. 

You will be targeting multiple groups, from people who have abandoned carts to loyal and long-term customers.

But have you yet added interactive emails to your arsenal? Offering customers to interact with you from within an email could be a game-changer. 

No matter what your needs and goals are, interactive emails could help you achieve them. 

They also recognize the ever-changing tastes of your customers and offer them the ability to engage without visiting your website or your social media platforms.

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