Video has exploded over the past couple of years. Email has been the ultimate marketing tool for the last few decades. So doesn’t it make sense to try and use video to supercharge your email campaigns? We think so!
In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of video for email marketers and how to use the medium in your email campaigns. Let’s get to it.
The Benefits of Video for Email Marketers
Before we dive into how to use video in your email marketing campaigns, let’s talk about why you should. There are three main advantages to sending emails with video: they’ll help you cut through the noise in your recipients’ inboxes, allows you to better engage your subscribers, and boost your email metrics.
Cut Through the Noise
Email marketing is still the best way to reach a group of people, build a relationship with them, and convince them to purchase your company’s products. No other online medium — not even social media — can touch the 4,400% ROI of email.
But here’s the thing: just about every company on the planet is sending emails. Which means most inboxes are loaded with messages. In fact, the average office worker receives 121 of them every day and each is vying for the reader’s attention.
When you include videos in your email marketing campaigns, you’ll distinguish your company’s messages from the rest of the emails in your subscribers’ inboxes. You’ll be able to cut through the noise and grab their attention. And as we all know, attention is currency.
Engage Your Subscribers
For most people, including your subscribers, video is way more interesting than plain text. It engages viewers and entertains them in a way that simple words on a screen can’t. It also gives companies a chance to connect with its subscribers on a deeper level — especially if the video shows a real-life human being. These types of messages just feel more personal.
When you include videos in your email campaigns, you’ll have a better chance of not only grabbing your recipient’s attention, but holding it. You’ll also increase the likelihood of your subscribers sharing your messages. Hello free advertising!
Boost Your Email Metrics
The numbers don’t lie. Emails that contain video have been known to boost open rates by as much as 19%, increase click-throughs by 65%, and reduce unsubscribes by 26%. If those figures don’t make you want to jump on the video for email bandwagon, we’re not sure what will.
How to Use Video in Your Email Marketing Campaigns
As we’ve just seen, video and email complement each other really well. Here’s how to start including videos in your future email marketing campaigns:
1. Plan Out Your Campaign
Before you grab your camera and start filming, you should first plan out your next email marketing campaign. What are you trying to achieve? What kind of video will help you accomplish that goal? And what resources do you have at your disposal?
For example, let’s say that you want to boost new subscriber engagement so you decide to shoot a quick “How ya doing?” video to include in your company’s welcome emails. Great idea!
At this point, you know your goal and the kind of video you need to create. But what about resources? If you’re like most small businesses, you don’t have the budget to staff a full-time videographer or invest in Hollywood-level cameras.
Fortunately, for the video in this example at least, you don’t need either of those things. A quality video script, your smartphone, and some natural light will probably get the job done admirably.
This is what we mean when we say “plan out your campaign.” You need to take an honest look at your goals, the kinds of videos that will help you meet them, and the resources you have to work with. Then do your best to create great content within those parameters.
2. Decide How You’ll Incorporate Video
There are a few different ways that you can use video in your email marketing campaigns. You can embed videos directly into your messages, share GIFs and cinemagraphs, or use linked images that lead subscribers to your videos.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each approach:
While embedding a video directly into your emails is the ideal method, you’ll need to proceed with caution. Not every email provider supports this feature. If a large segment of your subscriber base can’t watch the videos you include in your emails, you’ll start to see a drop in opens, clicks, and conversions. No bueno.
If you do decide to embed videos in your emails, make sure you use HTML 5 as it’s more robust than previous versions and includes updated features. This requires a fair bit of technical knowledge so make sure you’re up for the task before embarking on it!
We also need to mention that to embed videos directly into your emails, you’ll need to use an ESP that allows for custom HTML campaigns. Not every provider supports this so check yours.
Here’s a great example from Wistia:
GIFs and Cinemagraphs
Embedded videos in email can be a pain, but GIFs and cinemagraphs are not. If you’re unfamiliar with these media types, here are a couple of quick definitions:
- GIF: A GIF, which stands for graphical interchange format, is a series of soundless video clips that play automatically and loop continuously. They’re very popular and can be used to both entertain and educate. See for yourself:
- Cinemagraph: A cinemagraph is a still image that’s been animated to include isolated motion. It’s a very artful media type that makes standard photographs seem more lifelike. Here’s an example:
If all else fails, you can always paste a linked video thumbnail into your email. Once your subscribers click the image, they’ll be taken to a separate web page where they can easily watch the footage.
This method isn’t as exciting and requires more subscriber clicks. But email marketers have been doing it for years, which means it works and can be successful.
If you opt for this approach, we strongly recommend that you send your subscribers to a landing page that you own, not to YouTube or Vimeo or any other third-party site. That way you can control the user experience and your viewers won’t get distracted by other videos.
Here’s what this method generally looks like:
3. Test, Optimize, Repeat
Including videos in your email marketing campaigns can significantly boost your results. But every business and the audience it serves is different. The tips, tricks, and techniques that work for other companies might not work for yours
The only way to really know whether your efforts are bearing fruit is to test them. Analyze the results of your campaigns and determine what’s working and what isn’t. Then, adjust accordingly.
You might find that GIFs garner more engagement than cinemagraphs. Or that linked images lead to higher conversion rates. You may discover that your audience hates video and that you’re better off sending messages in plain text. Who knows? Anything is possible. But knowing your audience is ultimately the key to success.
So make sure that you’re constantly analyzing your email marketing efforts and optimizing them for the future.
A Few Video Tips for Email Marketers
If you’ve decided to jump in and want to start adding videos to your email marketing campaigns, keep these three tips in mind:
1. Include “Video” in Your Subject Line
Your subject line is the most important part of your email. After all, if no one opens your messages, you’ve got nothing. So it pays to get this aspect of your campaign right. Fortunately, when your emails include video, you have an advantage.
Simply using the word “video” in your subject line can boost your open rate.
It goes back to what we were saying earlier: people love videos! If they know that your messages contains one, they’ll be much more likely to check it out. How much more likely? According to SwitchVideo, it can nearly double your opens.
2. Keep Videos Short and Simple
When it comes to your email campaigns, short videos are generally better than long ones. This is true for two reasons:
- Long videos are intimidating. If your subscriber sees that your video is an hour long, they’ll think twice about watching it. It’s likely too big of a commitment for most folks.
- Long videos take a long time to load and are a time commitment. Don’t kid yourself, your audience won’t wait around for your footage to finally start playing. But a short video will be ready to play immediately. Furthermore, it’s less likely someone has a full hour to set aside just to watch your video; a few minutes, on the other hand, is doable for most.
We suggest keeping your videos between one and two minutes in length — just long enough for you to deliver important information without scaring off viewers or causing intense lag times.
3. Always Keep Your Audience in Mind
It’s marketing 101. If you don’t know who your audience is and what they like, you’ll have a hard time engaging them. It will be even harder to convince them to make a purchase. So dig into your company’s buyer personas and craft videos and email campaigns that will connect with your unique audience.
Win With Video Powered Email Campaigns
If you commit to using video in your email marketing campaigns, you’ll likely see a bump in open, click-through, and conversion rates. Just remember to plan out your campaign before you step in front of the camera, think about how you’ll incorporate video into your messages, and optimize your approach for future success. Good luck!
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Jacob Thomas is a freelance copywriter and content marketer based in Bend, OR. His professional writing approach has helped numerous businesses gain more traffic, leads, and sales. To contact Jacob, visit www.jtcopywriting.com.