How to Create Interactive Email Newsletters

by Jackie Lohrey; Updated September 26, 2017
Mailing List Concept

Increase reader engagement, improve click-through rates and provide additional information-gathering opportunities by incorporating interactive content into e-mail newsletters. Unlike one-way static content that talks “at” customers or employees, an interactive content strategy uses two-way communications. The keys to creating effective interactive e-mail newsletter content lie in following best practice guidelines and focusing on relevance.

Getting Started

Start by creating the main newsletter content. As with any email newsletter -- interactive or not -- the message is the most important element. Choose an e-mail newsletter template appropriate for your message and target audience. If you don’t have design and coding experience, choose a ready-made, customizable template available from your e-mail or autoresponder service. Look for a template with interactive design options, such as a clickable table of contents for long newsletters. Also important are header, footer and sidebar widget areas for adding interactive content.

Link Interactive Elements and Goals

Choose interactive content that links to specific newsletter goals. While an overall strategy might be to provide -- or get -- relevant information, establish trust and build strong relationships, not every e-mail newsletter you send will focus on accomplishing each of these goals to the same degree. The interactive content you include in each newsletter should help you achieve specific goals instead of distracting or annoying your readers. For example, include buttons or hyperlinks users can click to get more information, and incorporate polls, surveys or contests into newsletters focused on gathering information.

Choice and Placement

Avoid confusing your readers by overloading a newsletter with too many interactive elements, and make sure the items you include relate to the topic. For example, for a newsletter focusing on “how-to,” include an instructional video that pertains to the main newsletter content. Insert a clickable calendar of events in a left sidebar or right sidebar that readers can use for finding out about -- and sign up for -- other instructional webinars. Include a call-to-action, such as a link to a related promotional offer, in a sidebar or in the footer area of the newsletter.

Get and Provide Information

Engage readers -- and satisfy their curiosity -- when requesting information from your customers by letting them see in real-time how others are answering questions. For example, add a button that readers can click to view survey results or find out how their peers are doing in answering sample test questions. Consider offering a free prize, such as a money-saving coupon or a free e-book, that readers can get after answering consumer research questions. A common way to do this is to include a link that activates when the reader finishes a survey and clicks the “Submit” button.

About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.

Photo Credits

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