Interactive email is poised to be a trendsetter in ecommerce throughout the remainder of 2017 and beyond. Due the high-success rates and incredible ROIs of email marketing, most companies tend to focus their efforts on promotional content. Unfortunately, some of the newer approaches tend to go unnoticed.

It’s no secret that customer mindsets are changing when it comes to traditional marketing. Every man, woman and child is exposed to thousands of advertisements every day, whether they realize it or not. As a result, the average consumer is becoming increasingly numb to blatant sales tactics.

Now, brands everywhere are looking towards the future for more innovative strategies to capture precious attention. As per Salesforce’s State of Marketing 2015 report, 73 percent of executives agree that email marketing is the heart and soul of their business. With numbers like this, it is imperative to develop strategies in accordance with the trends.

Shoppers these days crave authentic brand experiences. That is why interactive marketing with interactive content should be a staple in every facet of your approach. Here are several ways in which you can replicate this concept in email marketing.

#1 Interactive: Scratch & Flip Animation

The harsh truth is that younger customers are not nearly as responsive to traditional ads as shoppers were 20-30 years ago. While a typical email talking about the latest deals on your platform may work on older customers, there are a lot of newer, sleeker ways to convey your message to younger crowds.

Scratch and flip is essentially the same concept as a lottery ticket, but in email form. This effect is a great for sending out coupons, offers, or discount codes while making it easy for customers to redeem. Apart from its flashiness, there are many practical advantages to this animation.

For one, it’s a fun, interactive way to display ecommerce products. For instance, you could show the product in the email, and upon the customer clicking, it would flip over and reveal all its information. Then, you can provide an option to add the item to their cart.

Most importantly, it makes the mobile experience much easier and more efficient. Scratch and flip menus or accordions can be used to cut down on lengthy paragraphs and focus on the most important parts of your messaging. EmailMonks has a nice sample page where you can try out scratch and flip emails:

#2 Interactive: Live Shopping Cart

Cart abandonment rates are currently at an all-time high. Using an interactive live shopping cart in your emails is an outstanding way, among others, to remind customers of what they have previously considered buying. The main benefit of a cart-within-an-email is that customers don’t have any distractions that that might cause them to navigate away from their inbox before they complete the purchase.

Retailers can take a leaf from JackThreads enhance the online buying experience by fitting live shopping carts into your emails. Further, using an AI-based marketing automation tool like Boomtrain, you can add personalized recommendations to your email checkout process. Finally, your choice of ecommerce platform will make all the difference – if the shopping cart itself is broken, the best campaigns will be worthless – a customizable one like Shopify will ensure your shopping cart has the requisite functionality, including automatic language selection, payment method options, tax calculation, and more.

#3 Interactive: GIFs

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” the saying goes. If that’s the case, a GIF is worth millions!

A study conducted by Marketing Sherpa found that the usage of animated GIFs in emails can increase conversions by over 100 percent! While videos and GIFs are no strangers to email marketing, 2017 is likely going to be the year where we see them taken to new heights.

This type of content is perfect for bringing humor into the mix, especially for a younger audience. On the business side, interactive GIFs can be used as product attribute displays, explainer demos, and much more.

While such an approach is light and pleasurable, there are a number of things to keep in mind when taking it. For one, use animations only when necessary. Place your focus on drawing readers’ attention with one specific animated section or color-changing sequence. Going overboard can cause your emails to look messy and unorganized.

Two, choose the file formats carefully. Email design should be and is primarily done in HTML. This helps ensure the size can be kept to a minimum. GIFs are naturally used to show short, animated stories and are created to be lightweight. This is why they are preferred over Flash and video.

Finally, always test. This should be obvious. Regardless of whether you are creating emails for mobile or desktop, for detractors or brand advocates, it is crucial to test the final content before sending it out. If there are any codes that bog down the rest of the email, it can look terrible once it hits your customers’ inbox. If it gives out the wrong message to the wrong segment, your brand could take a beating.

Here is an example of a GIF-infused email from American Eagle Outfitters:

GIFs have evolved into one of the most powerful, focused storytelling tactics on the internet. Using them will give your messaging an extra dose of flair essential for grabbing your customers’ attention. Take a look at GIFmaker to start designing your own.

Over to You

While email marketing is a tried-and-true vehicle for customer interaction, there will always be room to improve and innovate. Today’s customers value brands who have the unique ability to create relatable experiences tailored to their specific needs and desires. As the younger generations claim more and more buying power, keeping engagement levels up will require constant creativity. Consider using these strategies in your approach to keep viewers tuned in.

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