Victor Blasco June 9th, 2020

Implementing Video Effectively to Power-Up Email Campaigns

Branded email campaigns and newsletters remain one of the marketing channels with the highest conversion rates out there. You can say that it favors both brands and customers. 

On the one hand, it offers audiences a way to hand-pick the type of branded content they want to receive in their mailboxes. And on the other, that it provides companies with a direct way to communicate with their customers that allows long-form, accurate communication. 

But, as popular as email marketing has become, it is not always used to its full potential. As only some campaigns have discovered that no email works better than the ones you combine with video content! 

In this piece, I’ll walk you through some of the best email video tips and tricks as used by the best video companies in the business. To help you boost the effectiveness of your campaigns.

First of all, why video?

No other medium can communicate as quickly and effectively as video. Having some pictures and a text description just doesn’t do it anymore for most audiences! 

And there’s a good reason why video has become such a key item in the current digital landscape: it can effectively tackle complex topics in a simple and captivating way. You see it everywhere, on social media, landing pages, e-learning courses, and (of course) email campaigns.

But far from just taking my word for it, consider that even just including the word “video” on the email subject can increase open rates up to 19%. Or that using video on emails can increase click-through rates by up to 300%. 

Not only has video become the most preferred medium for audiences to consume content, but it also offers brands a wide range of avenues to reach their marketing goals. Video can spark awareness by teasing new products or services, foster consumer trust using emotional storytelling, answer your clients’ FAQs, announce company events… the list could go on, but you’ve probably got it: there’s little video can’t accomplish.

Pair it with the right email strategy, and it only gets better from there!

Choosing the right type of video for your email campaign

As I’ve pointed out before, video can help you accomplish a wide range of marketing goals. Because of their flexible nature, videos belong in any email where you want to increase open rates and conversions. But first you’ll need to figure out what is your email’s goal to determine what type of video will be best suited for the job. 

Every branded video is unique in its own way, and each day innovative marketing teams are coming up with new types. But as for now, I’ve selected the five most common types of videos used in effective email campaigns to give you a solid starting point. 

Product videos

As you've probably guessed from the title, product videos are all about… well, your product! If you're looking for a simple and straightforward piece that highlights the main characteristics and benefits of your goods, this is the type of video you want.

Product videos in email campaigns can be great at sparking interest for an upcoming new product, like a movie teaser. Or, if you’re launching an upgraded version of your product or service, you can create a short video that enlists its key new features.

Customer testimonials

Now, let’s take the spotlight away from your product or service for a second, and towards the people who buy and make them. Because people trust people, it’s as simple as that. And what’s more convincing than a customer offering its honest review of your product or service?

Customer testimonials are a great addition to your email campaign if you're looking to grow credibility and confidence. All you need is to interview one of your clients about how your brand changed his or her life for good. If you achieve a real and relatable testimonial, your audience will likely think about you as a trustworthy company that benefits a community.

Explainer videos

Moving on to one of the most effective types of marketing videos for marketing in the consideration stage of a funnel: animated explainer videos. Because of their short-format and animated style, explainers are great at describing complex processes or ideas in a way that’s easy to understand.

They do this by using a three-act story structure: first, they introduce a problem your audience is having, then they present your product or service, and lastly, they showcase how it solves the problem better than anyone.

As part of your email campaign, explainer videos offer a direct and creative way of addressing your audience’s interests and issues. Unlike a traditional ad, explainer videos give something back to your viewers, something they actually care for and can help them in their everyday lives.

Company stories

We’d all like to know more about the people behind the things we buy! Company videos give your brand and coworkers a chance in the spotlight to share their stories. What does a normal day in your office look like? How did the company start? What are your brand values? These may seem like obvious answers to you, but it might be new information to your audience.

By including company stories on your email campaign, you’re humanizing your brand in the eyes of your customers. Sharing your passion goes a long way towards developing a lasting relationship with your customers, and will make them feel closer.

Event videos

Promoting events through email is just like sending an invitation right to your customers' mailbox. With an original event video, you can get people interested in an upcoming product presentation, a launch party, or an educational webinar. Plus, brands also use event videos to recap past events and update customers on special company activities.

Best practices when using an email with videos for marketing

While there are plenty of ways you can combine video and email, there are some practices that have been proven to deliver exceptional results. Here are a few of the most important ones to keep in mind.

About (not) embedding video in your email

When talking about using video on your emails, you’re probably thinking about embedding. After all, this is how you usually use video on your landing page or social media posts. But when it comes to emails, it can get a little tricky.

The thing is that most email platforms out there don't allow directly embed videos on emails. Sure, technology advances quickly in this age, but currently, the best way to send videos is by emailing a thumbnail image that links back to the video on your site. This way, linking is the most practical form of ensuring your audience can watch your video no matter the email platform or device they use.

Plus, linking towards a video hosted on your site, or YouTube for that matter, you’ll get access to actionable data, like views count, where they stopped watching, and whether they shared it to someone. By using this data to perfect future emails and videos, you can personalize your communications according to your audience’s behavior.

Judging a video by its thumbnail

So, if you’re going to link a video hosted on your site, you’re going to need a captivating thumbnail. It can be just a small picture with a play button that will direct users to your video, but there are a couple of tricks to intrigue your audience into clicking. 

Animated thumbnails attract even more clicks than images, and most email clients support them (except for some Outlook versions that show only the first frame). A variation of the animated thumbnail is called the cinemagraph, that’s a GIF where just one small part of the image moves in an endless loop. You can also use this technique to design a static image with an animated play button.

One thing you’ll need to consider when using thumbnails on your email is that large files from unknown sends can sometimes trigger spam filters. While there’s no rule about specific pixel sizes, keeping it under the 2.7 MB mark will do just fine. If your thumbnail is heavier than that, you can try adjusting the size or using a compression tool.

Adding video to your email signature

Apart from using video on your newsletters, you can also incorporate it on your email signature. This technique is especially effective for sales teams that exchange emails with clients and potential customers, but for other departments of your company as well. Try using a thumbnail on your email signature that links back to a relevant video, such as an “About Us” company video hosted on your site.

Tips to make an engaging video that furthers people down your funnel

So, your audience has opened your email, clicked on the thumbnail, and watched your video. Congrats on a job almost done! There are still a couple of tips and tricks that can help you get to the finish line: the buying decision. 

  • Make it emotional and entertaining: The most effective type of branded content is the one that doesn’t feel branded at all. By adding a personal touch and eliciting emotions, you’ll increase audience engagement and maybe even go viral. After all, we react to content that makes us feel something, even just a tiny laugh. 
  • Keep it simple and short: In today's age of short attention span, nobody has the time to sit through a long video. By keeping your video short (around the 90-seconds mark would be perfect, thank you), you're making sure your audience will get to the end of the piece, and that's where our last tip comes in….
  • End with a strong and clear CTA: The last, but definitely not least, part of your video is the call to action. If your audience loved your video, they need to know where to go next! Make sure you end your piece with clear instructions on how they can acquire your product or service. 

Summing Up!

While other digital content trends might come and go, email remains a stalwart tool on any company’s marketing toolbelt. Email campaigns that use video content are getting the best of both worlds. 

First off, they are sending a personalized message right to their customers’ mailbox. And then, they are using the most effective and captivating medium to communicate their brand.

As we’ve seen in this piece, you need to plan out your email campaign thoroughly. But, once your first email is on its way, you’ll soon be able to track your results and improve on your strategy. So, get started and good luck!

Featured Image by pikisuperstar on Freepik

Victor Blasco

Victor Blasco’s an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.

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