To create a truly memorable subscriber experience, you have to make your email stand out in the inbox. One way to do that is by adding interactivity to your email campaigns.

But as desirable as interactivity in email may be, building it can seem intimidating (or frivolous). However, interactive emails don’t have to be scary.

Here’s how to create an interactive email, with seven interactive elements to help email developers get started.

What is an interactive email?

As defined by interactive email expert Mark Robbins (on Humans of Email), email interactivity is “an action taken in an email that triggers an event, without leaving that email.”

Interactive email elements can take on many forms, including:

  • Polls
  • Surveys
  • Tabbed content
  • Hamburger menus
  • Hot spots
  • Quizzes
  • Anchor tags
  • Forms or radio button selection
  • Accordions
  • Offer reveals
  • Review and rating submissions
  • Search bar entries 

Why should you send interactive features in an email?

Email continues to be the most effective marketing channel, with an ROI of 36:1. That’s why it’s important to constantly improve your subscribers’ experience—and interactive email is the opportunity to do just that.

According to Martech Advisor, interactive email has the power to increase the rate of click-to-open by 73%. Subscribers want it, too. 

Here’s how adding interactive features to your emails can benefit your campaigns:

  • Boost your conversion rate
  • Higher click-through rates
  • Gather more data
  • Differentiate yourself
  • Create a better user experience

Let’s dive into each.

Boost your conversion rate

Interactivity allows more to happen inside an email and reduces barriers to engagement—making clickers have even higher intent. 

As such, adding interactivity to your emails can help your brand or business collect more qualified leads, and in return, help you increase the number of conversions.

Higher click-through rates

Dyspatch reports 60% of email recipients are likely to engage with an interactive email, and over 50% of email recipients said they want to interact with content inside their email. In short: subscribers want to have interactive experiences. 

Interactivity invites audience participation. It entices more subscribers to click-through—increasing the number of visitors to your website and/or landing page.

Gather more data

With interactive email, more clickable elements are added and as result, more data is collected.


By including UTM codes to track the performance of your links, you help identify and differentiate where subscribers are actually clicking in your email. This data can help inform your campaigns, from a design perspective.

Subscriber preferences

Interactivity can also help collect data on your subscriber preferences.

With live polls, subscribers can cast their votes within an email. (Keep reading—we’ll cover this in more detail later in the post!) The results can be used as feedback in many ways, from informing your email campaigns, to influencing product strategy.

Differentiate yourself

While coding an interactive email may be intimidating, it can help deliver a memorable subscriber experience—and differentiate your emails.

When we asked our audience on LinkedIn whether or not they’re using it in their emails, a majority of 60% respondents answered “no.” That’s an opportunity for email marketers to use interactive email to stand out from the crowd.

Litmus poll on interactivity on LinkedIn
Poll on Litmus’ LinkedIn

Create a better user experience

By allowing subscribers to activate content within an email (vs. taking them to a website or app), interactivity helps reduce friction, creating an overall better user experience.

Getting started with interactive email marketing 

The secret to experimenting with interactive emails? Start small. Adding simple interactive elements to your email designs can have a major impact, make your emails more engaging, and uplevel your subscribers’ experience.

7 interactive elements for email marketers to add to emails

Interactive emails don’t have to be out of reach for your team. Here are 7 interactive elements you can add to your emails today.

Hover effects

One of the simplest ways to introduce interactivity to your emails is with a hover effect. 

Hover effects are most popular when it comes to highlighting text (for example, highlighting a text link in your email copy). But they’re also a simple but powerful tool to make other elements—including images, background images, or calls-to-action (CTAs)—interactive and more engaging.

1. Hover effects: Text

With hover effects, you can change nearly any aspect of your text on hover. For example, you can change its color, add a drop shadow, or add an underline.

Here’s an example of how you can change a link’s color from blue to red on hover:

Animated GIF showing hover effects for text

Here’s how to do it:

Embed CSS