video email marketing

Using Video in Email Marketing – Best Practices and Examples

Many people say that video is the future of content marketing. Well, I beg to differ. It is not the future, but it is already here and now! Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, video has already conquered most of the content that you see on social media. And predictably enough, other channels of marketing have also started to embrace video. Savvy brands of today use it in all stages of a customer lifecycle. From generating leads, to educating their prospects and engaging customers, video is being used almost everywhere. However, using video in emails is still a tricky proposition for most marketers. Even though many studies have shown the effectiveness of video emails, a substantial percentage of them tend to shy away from it. While lack of quality videos in their content libraries is the primary reason for most; lack of awareness about the benefits and best practices of using videos in emails is another major deterrent. That’s why, in this article, we’re going to list down different ways of leveraging video emails, along with examples. Before we get going, let’s take a look at some interesting numbers to reinforce the importance of video.

Why use videos in email? Some interesting statistics

  • According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, the global consumer Internet video traffic will account for 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2019! This essentially reflects how fast internet users are adopting and embracing video. Pretty soon, we will be expecting all forms of communication directed towards us to be in the form of video. Who has the time to read through a long email or a blog post right?

  • According to a research report by Aberdeen, marketers who use video are seeing 49% faster growth in revenue than their counterparts.

  • According to a Syndacast report, just using the word video in an email subject line resulted in 19% increase in open rates and 65% increase in click-through rates!

  • Popular video technology platform Vidyard noted that businesses see a 500% lift in Email Conversion with personalized video!

Video Email Best Practices

In marketing, there are no strict predefined best practices that fit the needs of all kinds of businesses. Be it social media content, website visuals or email subject lines, everything has to be tested out multiple times before you zero in on a formula that works the best for your brand’s audience. However, there are certain guidelines that you can adhere to, to make the progress faster and smoother. Let’s take a look at them one by one:

Create a video library

The first thing that you should have before planning video email marketing campaigns is a well defined video content library. Note down the type of videos that you would need to embed in the emails. Here are some example use cases:

  • Product tutorial videos: Product companies  can use short and crisp videos explaining the different features of the software.

  • Company culture videos: Service companies can showcase the human side of their business using creative videos that highlight how they work.

  • Customer testimonials: Short videos of customers explaining how they benefited from your product/service.

These are just a few examples. You can come up with any kind of video content depending on the lifecycle stage of the customer to whom the email is being sent to. This insightful article on Digital Agency Network lists down types of videos that a business can use in different stages of the marketing funnel.

After noting down the different types of videos that your business would need, come up with strategies to make such videos on scale. You can setup a small video team in-house or outsource it to creative agencies that can help you out. I would personally recommend that you setup an in-house team which understands your business and your customers from the inside.

Always keep them short and to the point

Always try to keep your videos short and crisp. Preferably not more than 3 minutes. The whole point of using emails is to cater to people who do not have the time and patience to read long form text content. Sending videos that are long would defeat this fundamental purpose of using videos in emails.

notegraphy video in email

Text design application Notegraphy does it well in this example. A 71 second explainer video is embedded in the first email that is sent to all new users. The video is crisp and accomplishes what it set out to do i.e., tell the user what Notegraphy is all about.

Experiment with subject lines and video embed

According to a recent study, just mentioning the word video in the email subject line increases the click-through rates by a solid 20%! So, experiment with the subject lines and see if there is an improvement in the performance of your emails. However, do ensure that you do not forcefully insert the word.

Free eBook: 7 Tips and 7 Tactics for Writing Email Subject Lines that People Want to Open

Now that we’ve seen how different studies have pointed out the effectiveness of video in emails, let’s move on to a tricky topic – how exactly should you use video in emails? Should you embed the video inside the content of the email using HTML5? Or insert an image with a play button over it and link it to the video? Well, it’s hard to come up with the right answer for this. Embedding an HTML5 video sounds like the most logical option since the receiver can watch it right then and there without leaving the inbox. However, some of the major email clients still do not support HTML5 video embed. I would recommend that you go for the image with the play button workaround until HTML5 embed becomes the norm.

Clothing retailer Everlane does it well in this example:

everlane video in email

Placement is important too

An important factor that decides the success of video emails is the placement of the video. Where you insert the video in the email copy decides its effectiveness. Always place it above the fold in the email to capture the attention of the readers immediately. However, the email should include supporting text that says what the video is all about, to set the expectations for the readers.

patagonia video email

(Image source)

Free tool: Answer these questions and find out how effective your email strategies are

Don’t forget the end goal

When you’re trying to implement something new, it is easy to get distracted with the what’s and the how’s and forget about the why. This question should be always at the back of your mind – Why am I using videos in my emails?

The video used in the email should have a CTA that guides the viewer to the next step.

  • If it is a product tutorial video, it should link to the signin page of the product.

  • If it is a company culture video, it should link to the About Us page.

  • If it is an explainer video, it should link to the Demo Request page.

If the video does not have any particular goal, you can always include social share buttons to let the users share it with their friends and peers.

Wrap up

Including video in the marketing mix can be a game changer for any kind of business today. Email marketing performance in particular can get a substantial boost if videos are incorporated in the strategy. Have you tried your hands at video email marketing? If you have, what were your learnings from it? Do share them with us in the comments below.


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