The Email of Things: Extending the Traditional Email Call to Action

The Email of Things: Extending the Traditional Email Call to Action

Here at the ActionRocket studio we’ve been experimenting with some Internet of Things type gadgets, most recently with our internet connected bus stop sign. One of the things that’s intriguing about this is how this kind of logic can be added to email — what if something that happens in an email can cause an effect on something in the real world? (and vice versa)

Of course interactivity in email has traditionally been hindered by blanket non-support of Javascript, but some marketers and brands are starting to do exciting things beyond the standard “drive to the web” call to action.

Here’s a few examples:

Sky: Record a TV show

Sky allow customers to set a show to record directly from their helpful “what’s on” email.

Screenshot 2014-04-02 11.35.30

Capital Radio: Call the Studio

Clicking on the CTA buttons here takes you directly to the call or sms apps on your phone (there’s a bit more about this functionality here)


Fitbit: Charge your device

This helpful email appears once your Fitbit activity tracker runs low on battery.

Screenshot 2014-04-02 11.27.55


How do these work? well in the Sky example, the link in the email is just a regular link. When clicked, the server sets off a chain of events that eventually results in your set-top box recording a programme. In the Fitbit example, the device sends a signal to a server regarding it’s battery status, which triggers a notification email that reminds the user to charge their tracker.

Most of the heavy lifting here is done by the cloud, but it does show an opportunity for complex actions to be triggered by something as simple as clicking a link.