Videos are more popular than ever, whether on YouTube, Facebook, or other social media sites. What not everyone realizes is that videos are also extremely effective for email marketing. It's now possible to embed videos right in your emails, a tactic that can increase engagement and make your emails more noticeable. Let's look at how and why you should consider using videos in your emails for better results.
Why Use Videos in Your Emails?
Adding videos to your emails is extra work so why do it? Why not simply put a link to your video in the email as most marketers do? It turns out that there are some compelling reasons to actually embed videos in your messages.
- Helps you build your brand. Email marketing is extremely competitive. It's safe to assume that your subscribers get dozens if not hundreds of promotional emails each day. Videos are a way to set yourself apart and make your messages more distinctive.
- Increase click-throughs. Because people find videos so engaging, they're more likely to click on your links when they watch a video as opposed to reading text. A report by Forrester reveals that including videos in your emails increases click-through rates by 200 to 300 percent. That's a huge difference and one that makes it well worth the additional effort.
- Increase open rates. One of the biggest challenges today is to get people to open your emails. Videos not only improve click-throughs; they also increase open rates. Of course, the only way for people to know if there's a video in your email is if you tell them in the subject line. Hubspot reports that simply using the word "video" in your subject lines increases open rates by 19 percent.
- Connect with today's audiences. Research shows that millennials and Generation Z (the generation following the millennials that's just entering high school now) prefer videos over other types of content. What's especially relevant to businesses is that videos play a large role in younger consumers' buying decisions. Animoto found that 80 percent of millennials use videos to make purchasing decisions.
Challenges to Using Videos in Emails
The benefits of video marketing are now quite well known. Most businesses, however, still haven't gotten around to using videos in their email marketing. There are several reasons for this. Many business owners don't know how to include videos with their emails or don't even know it's possible. For some, it just seems like too much trouble. Others assume it's just as helpful to have videos on their websites and social media pages (there's no reason why you can't do both, of course; once you have a video you can place it wherever you want). One of the biggest blocks to this practice, however, is that popular email providers such as Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo don't currently support embedded video. Fortunately, there are several ways around this issue.
How to Include Videos in Your Emails
If you want to incorporate videos into your email marketing, you have several options.
- Send videos as attachments. While this is the simplest method, it's not a good solution for marketers. Opening an attachment forces the recipient to take an additional step, which many people won't bother with. There's also the fact that attachments, especially videos, make your message look suspicious, both to recipients and email providers as many viruses and spam messages contain large attachments. Additionally, video files are large and may exceed limits set by email providers.
- Embed HTML5 videos in your emails. Although the major email services don't support this, Apple, Samsung, Thunderbird and a few others do. If a large percentage of your subscribers use one of these providers it might be worth it to directly embed videos using HTML5 format. It's not a total loss when you send embedded videos to clients using Gmail, Outlook, or other companies that don't support it. In most cases, they'll see a fallback image of the video that they can click on to reach the video hosting site. In this case, the results are similar to using a GIF or thumbnail as outlined above. While embedding HTML5 videos in your emails is the most direct approach, it has its drawbacks. Aside from the problem of major services not supporting it, there's an added risk of your message getting marked as spam. If you want to try the direct embedding approach, make sure you track your results to find out how many recipients are receiving these messages and can access your videos.
- Insert a clickable thumbnail of the video. Many email services such as MailChimp have options for pulling thumbnails from YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, and other supported sites. Now technically, a thumbnail isn't the actual video so you're not literally embedding videos in your emails with this method. However, perception is everything in marketing. When viewers see a thumbnail that looks like a video, it's much more enticing than a text link. When they click on it, they're taken to the video sharing site and can watch the video.
- Use animated GIFs or play buttons in your images. This is a variation on using thumbnails as it involves enticing people to click on images that appear to be part of videos even though they're not. When people click on these, they're taken to the site that's hosting your video. Once again, the video isn't actually in the email itself but the images and buttons create a compelling illusion that it is.
The last two methods are generally the best as they work with all email providers. They let you send links to videos that actually look like embedded videos while avoiding the problems such as setting off spam filters or sending suspicious looking attachments.
Tips For Using Videos in Your Email Marketing
We've looked at some of the compelling reasons to include videos in your email marketing campaigns. While there are also some challenges to deal with, the likelihood of increasing your open and click-through rates is enough reason to motivate you to try. Here are some guidelines to help you get the most out of this.
- Keep your videos short. Videos under 5 minutes long are best for introducing prospects to new products or encouraging them to take another action.
- If you're using HTML5 videos in your emails, make sure you also include a link for those subscribers who use email services that don't support embedded videos. As noted, in most cases a fallback image will appear that they can click on. However, it's best to give them an additional link to be safe.
- Remember to tell them about the video in the subject line to increase open rates.
- Use a compelling thumbnail or image. If you choose to include a GIF or thumbnail in your email, make sure that it captures viewers' attention. People are more likely to click on an image that's funny, strange, or in some way compelling.
- Include a call-to-action (CTA) in your video. Your ultimate goal isn't to get people to watch a video -it's to get them to buy your product, order a sample, or take whatever action you intend. Make sure your video concludes with a clear CTA.
- Track your results. It's always essential to perform analytics and track your results with email marketing. When you start experimenting with videos, this is especially important. Find out which subject lines, types of videos, and other factors help you get better results. Most email services and autoresponders provide good analytics tools to help you do this.
As videos capture more and more attention online, there's no reason not to use them in your emails. This is a technique that can help you increase the ROI you get from your campaigns. As we've seen, there are several possibilities for doing this. Consider your needs, do some experiments and find the technique that works best for you.
About Exact Data
Exact Data is a Chicago-based multi-channel marketing company with regional offices across the United States.
The company offers integrated marketing services including B2B and B2C lists containing postal, email, and
telephone contacts, data append and hygiene services, as well as pay-per-click social media advertising.
Exact Data was founded in 2001 and operates as a subsidiary of Exact Data LLC.
For more information,
email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (877) 440-3282.