Interactive social media…
Then why not interactive emails?!
Interactive emails are a great way to break through the clutter to connect with audiences and enhance their brand experiences.
Kapost says that “interactive” content generates 2X (70%) more conversions than “passive” content (36%). The report further states that interactive content is the “new compelling force ushering buyers into pipelines”.
Epsilon, a 5-decade old management consulting firm has also seen a 40% increase in email engagement with live time-of-open content, aka interactive emails.
So, what exactly is an interactive email?
Can we send interactive emails through Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC)?
Can interactive emails help a brand win more customers? What are some of its other advantages?
In this article, we will focus more on questions 2 & 3. However, if you are new to interactive emails, or are not a Salesforce marketing cloud email specialist, we provide a quick overview in the first section. Otherwise, feel free to jump directly into the remaining sections.
Interactive content drives email engagement and results. Get ready to find out how!
What is an Interactive Email?
An interactive email contains content that your subscribers can directly engage (i.e. “interact”) with, by tapping, clicking, swiping, etc. – without leaving the inbox. So this could involve filling out a form, submitting a review, playing a video, etc.
Unlike regular email marketing where your main goal is to get a user to view your content or click on a link to a specific landing page (e.g. eCommerce store), with an SFMC interactive email, you can get your reader to complete some action that then triggers a particular event, all without them leaving that email. The idea is to encourage the audience to take a more active role in engaging with the content, while delivering a delightful user experience that keeps them coming back for more.
There are many powerful ways to deliver an interactive experience in your emails:
- Interactive product carousels
- Interactive email forms
- Image/button rollovers
- Countdown timers
- Progressive disclosure
- Click to call buttons
- Live polls
- Live local weather
- Store locators
- Interactive maps
You can include one interactive element or many, but make sure you use them strategically.
Benefits of Interactive Emails in Salesforce Marketing Cloud
The main advantage of an interactive email marketing campaign is its potential to boost user engagement. Often, customers leave a brand because they feel that it doesn’t care about them as individuals. But through interactive emails – especially the ones where you ask for their opinions, inputs, or feedback – you tell them that they are being heard. You tell them that they matter, and not just for transactional reasons. This is why interactive emails can help your brand retain existing customers, and also win more new customers.
Here are some more benefits of sending interactive emails through Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Increased number of clicks
Interactive content encourages users to participate more fully in the email marketing experience. The attractive elements that make them a dynamic part of the campaign give them the motivation to click or swipe on links, and in general, take some proactive action. Moreover, since they get some value without having to leave the email, interactive email marketing campaigns provide a “friction-free experience” that leads to a growth in the number of clicks. If designed strategically and with a focus on the user, interactive emails can also get more visitors to landing pages.
More qualified leads
Instead of wasting time or effort on chasing every prospect, you can design interactive lead forms to capture or update information from your leads. You can then use this information to understand which leads are “qualified”, so you can take the right actions to target them for additional email marketing campaigns, and ultimately move them closer to conversion and purchase.
Higher conversion rates
Increased interactions lead to better conversion rates, more sales and more profits. This can also lead to a substantial growth in the email list. With these results, you can design relationship and loyalty email marketing campaigns, which can lead to a virtuous cycle of greater brand recall, more loyalty and more sales.
More audience data
By embedding progressive profiles and lead forms in emails, you can collect a goldmine of information about your subscribers. You can use this information to create other personalized email campaigns that keep them engaged and connected with your brand. Through other interactive elements like surveys, reviews and polls, you can understand what your audience thinks about your brand, and what actions they would like you to take to improve their brand experiences.
This data, which gets collected in the data extension, can also be used outside SFMC. For example, with a lead form, you can use Journey Builder to put this data into Sales Cloud to follow up with those customers. You can do the same with a case form and Service Cloud.
Ultimately, all of this generates a two-way feedback loop that can benefit both your brand and your audience. Result – loyalty, stickiness and raving fans!
In the next couple of sections, we cover some useful information about creating different types of interactive emails in SFMC. For more detailed insights, take a look at two of our other articles here and here.
A Quick Guide to Interactive Emails in Salesforce Marketing Cloud
SFMC makes it incredibly easy to design and deploy interactive emails. Through Journey Builder, Content Builder, and a number of pre-built Salesforce email templates, you can set up and customize new and creative ways to engage with specific target audiences.
Templates are available for multiple interactive email use cases, including:
- Progressive profile: to solicit subscriber preferences
- Review: to gather feedback
- Lead form: to capture or update information from your leads
- Case form: enables subscriber to create a case/service request
- Empty: start from scratch to create any kind of interactive email form or content
You can add interactive functionalities to any kind of email using the simple drag-and-drop functionality in Content Builder.
Choose the email form block in Content Builder and the CloudPages destination as your thank you message. Choose (or create) a data extension to capture user responses when they submit the form. Then set the visible and hidden fields. For visible fields – which are the customers’ input – set the visible label and the data attribute which is the field name in the receiving data extension. Personalize hidden fields – fields containing data you need passed into the data extension (e.g. email address), but won’t appear to the customer – through the AMP script or with personalization strings.
You can also add multiple buttons, clickable display images, and add unique design elements like padding, margins, border or button colors, etc. When working on the design, you can even define “fallback content” for users whose email client does not support interactive content.
Once you’re done, you can preview the interactive email form or send previews to test users.
Interactive Email Examples in Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Here are a few amazing examples of interactive emails sent through SFMC.
i. Countdown timer
ii. Account feature activation
iii. Appointment booking
v. Image carousels/rollovers
vi. “Accordion” menu
Interactive emails generate buzz for your brand by encouraging greater direct participation from your target audience. Through an attractive and considered approach to design, presentation and content, you can not only help a user make a more informed choice, say, about a purchase, but also delight them, and keep them coming back for more. Other benefits like increased click-throughs and conversions are also within reach. So if you have never used interactive content in your email marketing strategy, now is a great time to start! And if you need a professional email marketing agency with experience designing memorable interactive campaigns, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .