Forms in Email: To Embed or Not to Embed?
While online forms are a usual sight on websites, they aren’t so common in emails and there’s a reason why. In this blog post, we compare the two main ways to use forms in email campaigns.
One method to include a form in an email is embedding it straight into email content. According to a study by GetFeedback, embedded feedback emails increases user engagement by up to 210% in comparison to the traditional feedback email.
Generally, email clients handle forms better than, say, videos or background images. Except for Outlook, you should have no problems displaying this element. Form functionality is another matter, however. Take a look at the table below.
As you can see, even though the forms are rendered, they are not actually usable half of the time. Here are the most common bugs:
- The required attribute is ignored. In some cases, fields with required attributes are highlighted, but the form can be submitted anyway.
- Input text and textarea fields are not editable (applies to Gmail App, Gmail Inbox, Yahoo Mail App for Android and Android Mail).
See the example below of Google Forms rendering in Windows 10 Mail.
The main challenge is that a form in email is not secure, and some email clients treat it as a risk and pop up an alert that can be enough to discourage the subscriber from completing it. This is why we don’t recommend embedding forms in your email campaigns.
It is a common practice for email marketers to ask the subscriber to click on the link to a form that is located outside of email itself. Usually, the user is redirected to a landing page that, of course, needs to be created first, thereby requiring additional resources from the sender’s company. Another popular option is using third-party tools such as Google Forms.
Here’s an example of web-based feedback by Shopify:
Linking to external forms in emails has one significant advantage: compatibility. You will not have to test or guess if your survey will be displayed and functional across the multitude of desktop, mobile and webmail clients.
On the other hand, a call-to-action creates an additional step for users, and that will negatively impact your engagement rates. The average click-through rate is somewhere between 5-7%, so if you add a button, the overall success rate of your email campaign would drop to around 2-3%.
There are quite a few good tools to create forms online and then share links to them in an email, with the examples of GetFeedback, Woofoo or Microsoft Forms.
Using forms in emails is a great way to find out more about your subscribers. However, the truth is that there is no quick way to get the forms displayed and functional across all email clients. If you really want use embedded forms, be ready to dig deep into email coding and then test your emails before sending. The traditional approach of using links to forms in webpages is still the most reliable one.