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Get to Know Interactive Email Forms

Learning Objectives 

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain how Interactive Email Forms improve the customer experience.
  • Identify what you need to build an Interactive Email Form.

Discover Interactive Email Forms

Picture this: You’re out shopping with friends. Heading your direction is an eager person with a clipboard and pen. Before you can veer away they ask, “Do you have 15 minutes to fill out a survey and get a free gift card?” Do you say “Yes” or do you say “No thanks” and get back to your friends? Chances are, you say “No thanks.” (Much to the disappointment of the marketer.) And while it’s less likely you’ll be stopped in person, marketers still desire that direct interaction with customers. These interactions are not only key to building authentic relationships, but also to gathering data. And data is marketing gold—if you can get it. 

What makes getting data so difficult? Most people like to give their opinion, but when it comes to completing a task or spending time on a survey, they often pass. Everyone’s time is valuable, we get it. So as a marketer, you need to have tools that make it quick and easy for customers to give you the data you need. Luckily, we’re not talking about clipboards and paper surveys. We’re talking about a brand-new tool in Marketing Cloud: Interactive Email Forms. Move aside complicated surveys, external preference centers, and lead gen forms—one-click feedback is now possible.

Let’s watch this feature in action. 

Requirements for Interactive Email

Interactive Email is available in Content Builder for Marketing Cloud Pro editions or higher. Because you need permission to create, view, and update a data extension, ask your admin to adjust the permissions within User Roles in Setup. They can find these under Email, then Subscribers, and then Data Extension.

User Permissions allowed for data extension create, view, and update.

How Can You Use Interactive Email Forms?

Interactive Email Forms can transform the customer experience. And an exceptional customer experience is the goal of every marketer—or at least it should be! Interactive Email Forms enhance the experience by:

  • Reducing customer frustration with forms that can be completed without leaving the inbox.
  • Boosting engagement and collecting more data.
  • Allowing for more personalization across Marketing, Sales, and Service Cloud.

So how can you use this functionality? Let’s see how Cumulus Bank makes the most of in-email forms.   

Stephanie ordered a new credit card with Cumulus Bank. Nervous that her card had been lost in the mail, Stephanie contacted Cumulus to check in on the status of her card. Cumulus created a case and tracked down Stephanie’s card, which was delivered to her apartment the following day. Using an Interactive Email Form, Cumulus sends Stephanie a triggered email asking for her feedback after her case is closed. Here is the email Stephanie receives.

Cumulus Bank email using an Interactive Email Form to ask customers how they would rate their support, if their issue was solved timely, and if they had additional comments.

Stephanie normally doesn’t fill out case feedback surveys, but she is able to complete the entire form without leaving her inbox. Even better, Stephanie knows her feedback has been submitted, as she’s immediately taken to a confirmation page with a link to the Cumulus website.

Cumulus confirmation Interactive Email page that says “Your information has been saved!”

 There are plenty of other ways to use email forms, so let’s explore some more use cases.

Type
Description
Example
Profile Data
Collect preferences or demographic data, such as name, birthday, product preferences, and interests—directly in your email.
An insurance company requests more information about their new customers in a welcome series. Instead of sending customers to an external preference center, the company uses an email form to ask for preferences directly within the first welcome email. Once submitted, the customer is thanked and the data gets added to an existing data extension. This data is used to personalize journeys and campaigns across channels.
Quick Surveys
Collect quick feedback from a customer with a one-question survey.
A fast-food restaurant introduces a new menu item. The restaurant develops a content block survey for its new chicken sandwich with a quick question: “Keep on menu? Yes or No.” They get quick, immediate feedback from their customers to make product decisions.
Product Reviews
Collect product reviews directly within an email. The customer selects a star rating or writes a review.
Once a customer of Northern Trail Outfitters makes a purchase, they receive a personalized email asking them to review their purchase. The customer fills out their review directly in the email, and then they receive a thank-you coupon for their participation.
Sales Leads
Collect customer information for a sales associate that can be passed into Sales Cloud.
A real estate agency sends out an email newsletter to past home buyers with a form asking about any future home buying plans. The customer fills out a form within the email that describes what they are looking for, when they are looking to move, and where they want to move. This information is uploaded into Sales Cloud to help Realtors proactively reach out to prospective home buyers.

Content Considerations

Now that you have some ideas on how you can use Interactive Email Forms, let’s focus on the customer experience. While this technology makes it easy for customers to interact with your emails, it’s important to know which customers can view the interactivity. Support for this experience varies by email client. Here are the popular email clients that currently support our interactive functionality.  

  1. Apple: iPhone, iPad, and Mail
  2. Gmail: Webmail and App
  3. Yahoo/AOL Webmail
Note

Note

Outlook and Thunderbird are not supported.

An email client is the application being used to render the email. But what’s important to note is that a customer’s email address does not determine if they can view an interactive experience—that depends on their email client. For example, a user with a gmail.com email address does not see interactive content if they are using Outlook for Desktop, but they do if they are using Apple Mail. Same email address, different email client.

It’s also important to note that there are going to be visual differences in how your emails render, based on the email client. For example, in Apple Mail ratings appear differently than they do in Gmail. 

Apple Mail rating with five stars and Gmail rating with separate radio selections for five stars, four stars, three stars, and so on.

Note

Note

Want to learn more about interactivity in Gmail? We cover more Gmail considerations in the final unit.

No Customer Left Behind

So what do those customers with unsupported email clients see? The answer: Fallback content. As a marketer, you’re probably no stranger to fallback content. In fact, you probably already provide alternative experiences for dynamic content based on the data you have. In the case of Interactive Email, you determine fallback content for those customers. In other words, if a customer opens their email in an unsupported email client, the interactive content reverts to the fallback content you select. So if you have a form that asks for preferences on tents, the fallback can be another content block about your newest products, a content block with a button that links to the form on the web, or you can choose to show nothing.

Key Components of Interactive Email Forms

Before you test some use cases for yourself, let’s review the components of creating an email with an Interactive Email Form in Marketing Cloud. While these forms are easy to create in Marketing Cloud, it is important to plan for all of these elements in advance. Here are the building blocks that make this functionality work.

  • Data Extensions: A new or existing data extension stores your form data.
  • Interactive Email Page: A landing page built in CloudPages that is used for user confirmation and for processing your form’s data.
  • Content: Content Builder blocks are used to build your Interactive Email Forms. These include your email template,  fallback content, email form, and confirmation message.

We dive into each in the upcoming units. First up, data extensions and data planning.

Resources