When most of us think about sharing and promoting video content, the most prominent channels that come to mind are Youtube and Facebook. And to increase the reach of our business even more, we go one step further to channels like Instagram, Pinterest and our own blog.
However, if you’re really looking to stand out and incorporate video into your marketing arsenal, you can’t afford to overlook email marketing. In fact, I get a query from one of my clients and customers almost every week on how to embed video in email.
With more than a billion people who use Facebook, there are still people who don’t. But do you know anyone who doesn’t have an email address? Email remains one of the most stable and reliable ways to communicate with your prospects. Period!
As a result, many businesses are increasingly incorporating video content in their emails to deliver fun and exciting new content to their current and potential customers.
When used properly, videos can have a significant impact on your key business metrics, including ROI and other KPIs.
Emails with videos have the ability to increase your ROI 3 times to those with static content. In addition, videos can increase your open rates by over 19%, click-through rates by 65%, and decrease opt-outs by 26%
Isn’t Video Email Marketing Risky?
Despite knowing all the benefits of using video content in email marketing, there are some common objections that prevent companies from doing it.
When you embed video in an email newsletter, the message can get lost in translation. Or worse, your email may become more likely to be marked as spam. In addition, various email client specs, mailbox limits and automation rules make the process unnecessarily complex.
While these concerns do hold some merit, the good news is that there are new technologies consistently getting better improving deliverability and consumption of emails with video content. So don’t be so quick to put video content off the table.
In fact, a study by Email Monks claims that about 58% users are able to access video content in an email regardless of the email application they have been using. Therefore, there is no better time to start embedding video content in your emails, before everyone else does too.
Even if embedding video directly in an email seems risky to you, there are several alternatives you can try.
Using Video Content In Emails
Depending on your target audience, there are many types of video types and formats you can use to make your email content more engaging. Millenials, for instance, love subtle animations and GIFs.
If you’re running a B2B business targeting professionals, you’ll do great with customer testimonials or videos announcing new products and features.
Let’s take a look at some killer examples of brands getting it right with video email marketing.
Use GIFs & Animations
A number of retail businesses are now making colorful and memorable animations to announce deals, advertise products, or reshape their brand aesthetic. Animations and GIFs help them put their products and services in a creative light.
If you’re just beginning and want to test the waters before embedding full fledged videos into your emails, then animations are a good first step. They can spice up your email headers or showcase something in a much more engaging way. Moreover, GIFs are short and easy to consume.
Take Boden for example. Using the incredible power of GIFs, the company didn’t just find a way to make its emails more exciting, but also showcase the different colors their clothing items are available in.
Another great example is Nifty Images, a company providing personalized images, social feeds and countdown timers for your email campaigns. Nifty uses GIFs in emails to to quickly show how something works so the readers can start taking benefit of it as soon as possible.
The best part about GIFs is that they are relatively easy to create. With an online tool like GifMaker.me, mac tool like GifBrewery, or PC tool like InstaGiffer, you can make your own GIFs. And there are dozens of other tools just a quick search away.
Use Video Thumbnails
Another way you can incorporate video into your email strategy is catchy thumbnails which indicate that the image redirects to a video. The most common way to let readers know that the image links to a video is by placing a play button/icon in the middle of your graphic.
This simple tactic can trigger a lot more engagement, as reported by an A/B testing campaign run by Wistia. The video platform company sent two versions of an email to two different sets of audiences.
Both versions had the same subject line, image and copy. The only difference was that a graphic, which looked like a play button, was present in one version but not in the other.
Upon running the test, Wistia saw that the email with the play button (indicating that image points to a video) got 40% more engagement than the other version.
Embed Video In Email
Eventually, as you get more comfortable with using animations and thumbnails, the next step is to start experimenting with embedding actual videos in your emails.
While it requires some technical know-how and troubleshooting, placing videos directly into your emails can be good for exposure. If you decide to do it, be ready to put in the effort to do it right.
The first thing to note is that your email will have to be an HTML email. Even better if you could use HTML5, which is an improvement on HTML and has more options when it comes to embedding video in email.
When you embed videos in this way, most popular email clients like native iOS, Apple mail, Outlook and more can deliver and render the video correctly. Even clients like Gmail and Android take the route of image fallback. Also, by implementing custom click tracking, you can gauge the click rate on your video emails.
However, keep in mind that while video is excellent for engagement and sales, not every email client will support the feature. It may still take a couple years for HTML5 videos to be widely used in emails, but some of the bravest companies have already started experimenting. Take Chanel’s email campaign, for example.
So in any case, make sure your emails are crafted in such a way that they make sense even without the video. Somewhere in your email content, for example, you can add the link to watch the video elsewhere.
Adding yet another medium to your content marketing strategy may feel complex. But if done right, videos can help grow your business in a way no other format can.
Content like customer testimonials, product teasers, tutorials, and announcements – all can be delivered well as a video. Whatever you do, just remember that your videos should add value. Everything else will fall into place.
Keep testing with small budgets and short videos to gauge what elements your viewers respond to the most. Then invest more in those areas. If you see that your prospects on social media engage more with short videos than longer ones, for instance, it’s time to invest in those type of videos only and cut back from the rest.
Also, make sure that it’s as easy as possible for your prospects to know that your email has a video. Using the word “video” in subject line and having video play button in thumbnails can really make it obvious for your audience.
Avoid autoplay though. Nobody likes that. Let your prospects decide how and when they choose to play the video.