Our brains are hardwired to seek and appreciate novelty, a fact that motivates email marketers to bring something new to their customers’ inboxes.

And emails have come a long way to achieve that: Plain text emails, static images, even animations like GIF and cinemagraph have been replaced with interactivity. Interactivity is what it’s all about. Over 44% of respondents in a Litmus survey say that creating interactive email experiences will be the biggest email design trend in 2018.

Why interactivity?

Interactive email design

We all know that the better your email engagement, the better your chances of conversion for your promotional emails. But, with an average of 269 billion emails sent and received each day, your subscribers’ inbox is overflowing with correspondence. To stand out from the ever-expanding crowd, you must have something that gets you noticed. This “something” should engage subscribers and encourage them to click on your email CTA.

Interactivity is the answer. According to a study by Content Marketing Institute, 81% of brands believe that interactive content is more effective than static content. 66% agree that use of interactive content has increased audience engagement for their business.

So, let’s get to it and explore the interactive elements that can help your promotional emails pop.

Interactive elements for your promotional emails

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Your promotional emails have a big responsibility—they’ve got to create conversions or they really haven’t accomplished their job.

Thankfully, you can help them succeed. Here are 6 interactive elements you can use to ensure solid customer engagement and ultimately, conversion.

Menu madness

A hamburger or navigation menu is a great way to engage email subscribers who open emails on mobile devices. They can surf your range of products or service categories stacked up inside the menu. This element will require customers to click on a category so that they can engage specifically with the content they wish to learn more about. A well executed menu provides a great UX as well as UI.


Nordstrom mobile menu
Nordstrom capitalizes on the menu feature with a hamburger menu designed for the the mobile viewer.

All about the accordion

The accordion is another clever way to stack content into categories to improve the experience of subscribers opening your promotional email on mobile devices. An accordion helps to layer content into tabs in the email body. The tabs expand or contract based on user interaction. Accordions allow you to measure the clicks inside the content area of tabs to identify what sections are drawing maximum attention.

Nu Yu accordion email
Nu Yu nails the accordion feature.

Slick n’ slider

A slider or carousel is an excellent way to condense information to reduce the length of an email. A slider grabs the attention of subscribers and keeps them engaged as they must click to experience the next slide. You can display multiple products and benefits in a limited space. Sliders can also be used to generate curiosity by revealing information bit by bit.

Burberry email
This email from Burberry uses a slider to display various products.

Flippp and scrrrratch

To entice your subscribers with an offer email, a flip or scratch effect works best. This method reveals hidden information, which keeps subscribers engaged.

If you are planning to send a coupon or special offer to your subscribers, try using the scratch effect. The subscriber must scratch the code to redeem the offer. Similarly, the flip effect allows you to divide information into two parts and flip-flop it with a click.

EmailMonks email
This Easter email from EmailMonks uses the flip effect to reveal an offer.

Animation station

Click-based keyframe animation helps to increase engagement by creating an experience right in the email. The subscriber must take action, like clicking on the CTA to experience the animation. The interactivity boosts engagement which in turn boosts click-through rates.

Adestra email
Take a look at this email from Adestra. When the CTA is clicked the image changes.

Hot for hover

The hover effect transforms elements in an email when a subscriber hovers over them. The change that takes place grabs eyeballs and helps to engage customers, nudging them to take action. The effect is achieved through CSS3 coding and can be manipulated to suit your preferences. Hovers work best in CTAs as the effect is known to increase click-through rates.

Toms email
Check out this email sent by Toms. The image changes when you hover over the button.

The future of email interactivity

A common complaint among marketers is that email clients do not provide support for interactivity. But times are changing. Interactivity is now the future of emails: it’s new, it inspires the subscriber to interact and engage and provides a great UX.

Are you ready to jump on the interactive email bandwagon?

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About the author

Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting business email newsletter templates PSD to HTML email conversion and free HTML email templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.