Salesforce Marketing Cloud Interactive Email Forms, part 1

Post by 
Alex Quan
Published 
July 5, 2020

This is going to be a two part series as we offer our thoughts on this cool new feature in SFMC.

Whats Interactive Email?

Interactive Email is any email that features elements where your subscribers can click, swipe, input or simply interact with. Animations such as animated Gif images, and hamburger menus are more common features of interactive emails but over the last few years marketers have experimented with more advanced interactivity. If you’re an email geek like I am, you would have come across this term and may have had the pleasure of building an interactive email.

An Interactive Email Form is a new Salesforce Marketing Cloud enhancement which allows marketers to create Reviews, Progressive Profile, Case Forms and Lead Gen Forms through the Content Builder UI. We will be talking in-depth about Lead Gen forms in depth in part 2.

Why would you want to use Interactive Email?

Generally speaking, marketing emails are unidirectional (Brand → Customer) while other messaging channels have enjoyed bidirectional success. Two way SMS delivers benefits for customers through real-time updates and feedback and social media channels are widely-adopted to provide 1:1 level of service and support customers expect as well as crisis & reputation management. In the meantime Email has been languishing behind with many using the channel as a simple promotional blasting tool. Email needs to change with customer’s expectation of their brand experience, and Interactive Email should be part of the strategy for this. With Interactive Email Forms, you could:

  • Maximise user experience
  • Drive new experiences in Email
  • Move user touchpoint higher in the user funnel
  • Alleviate friction associated with user hesitance - questions like "So how many questions would I need to answer if I clicked on this link to a landing page"

Is it easy to create an IE form?

YES!

Previously, if marketers wanted to build forms directly in their email campaigns with added fallback, advanced knowledge of email coding was required. If you were one of the lucky ones and had access to a developer who knew what he/she was doing or you had the dev skills to learn then kudos to you, but for most marketers Interactive Email Forms were simply too complicated. Thankfully the new Interactive Email Form content block allows for non-technical users to create forms directly in their emails through Content Builder. If you've decided to give this a try, make sure you check to see you have all permissions set up correctly.

Ensure that you have the Data Extension > Create, View, and Update permissions, and that Email Form is enabled in Setup > Content Builder Settings.

How would you get started with IE and what strategies would you implement?

So you're convinced you want to build an email campaign with an IE form, it's now time to focus on the challenge ahead. As marketers, we have spent many years presenting interactive-looking elements in our email that were not interactive. Subscribers have come to expect that items in emails are static (an image of a "search bar" or a "play video" button that links to a landing page). These faux-interactive elements have created a hesitancy in using interactive elements as subscribers come to expect that by clicking on them, they would simply be taken to a landing page instead of remaining in an email. To tackle this, we need to tell our subscribers that they could behave differently when presented a form in an email and being clear about what you want them to do. Be directive with text instructions, and say: "Fill in this form" or "nothing will happen until you hit submit" or provide animated instructions such as an animated GIF.

Once there is larger adoption of IE Forms and subscribers have learnt that filling in a form in an email is ok, then they would come to recognise interactive elements in email is simply not a trick.

You should have some ideas around some strategies around implementing IE Forms in your next email campaign. Stay tuned for part 2 where we looking deeper into using SFMC Content Builder to build out a lead gen form.


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