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How to Use Video Email Marketing to Engage More Customers

If you haven’t already, it’s time to make video email marketing part of your content strategy. Most people check their email multiple times a day. For a few seconds at a time, you get their nearly undivided attention. With video, you may be able to turn that moment of interest into real engagement. 

There was a time, not so long ago, when video and email didn’t mesh. The complexity of fitting videos into inboxes simply wasn’t worth the effort. These days, video email marketing is easier and more effective than ever.

Why Send Video Email Marketing?

Before we get into how to send video in email, let’s look at why it’s a good idea. Email can deliver a powerful return on investment, with brands making $36 for every $1 spent on email marketing. 

Yet, many subscribers skim emails, spending just a few seconds with each message. That’s where video comes in. Since video is more engaging than text, including a video in your email message can buy you a few extra seconds of attention. 

When customers know an email contains a video, they might be more likely to open it.

Subject Lines for Video Email Marketing

Subscribers like emails that are short, focused, and packed with easy-to-digest information. Even your interested subscribers may be sifting through dozens or even hundreds of spam messages to find the important emails. They need to know that your email is worth opening. Your email subject line is your elevator pitch. 

Put value front and center by telling them there’s a video inside. Like this:

  • [VIDEO]: See how to make the perfect video thumbnail
  • Watch this VIDEO to supercharge your landing page
  • Is whiteboard video dead? Watch and find out.

When you combine the reach of email with the accessibility of video, you get a marketing powerhouse. Including video in emails can increase click-through-rate up to 65%. That means more email recipients end up on your website, where they can learn more about your company, start building a relationship with you, and buy what you’re selling.

Why You Shouldn’t Embed Video in Email and What to Do Instead

Including a video in your email is smart marketing, but directly embedding or attaching a video isn’t the best way to go about it. Even a short video is a fairly large file. When you directly attach a video file or use HTML5 code to directly embed a video, it’s like trying to stuff a large package into a small mailbox. There just isn’t room. 

If your email goes to someone who has a slow internet connection or has disabled images, your embed might not work. Basically, HTML5 video embedding will only reach audiences on certain email servers and with certain inbox settings. Why limit your audience that way? Besides, many email services still don’t support the technical requirements to play video.

So, skip the HTML hassle and use a video sharing tactic that’s more likely to work. The better choice is to link from the email to wherever your video is hosted. Your audience can still access the video with a single click, but it doesn’t jam up their inbox. 

3 Ways to Include Video in Email Marketing

1. Include a Simple Link

The easiest way to include a video in an email is just to provide a link. You can attach the link to some simple anchor text like: watch the video here

The straightforward language lets your audience know exactly what they’re getting if they click, but it’s not very enticing, which is why we offer two other ways to share video in email.

2. Link to Video In Email With A Thumbnail

You can use a still image linked to your video to encourage people to click. The video won’t autoplay in the email, but it will link directly to your website without any extra work for the user.  

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create a thumbnail image with a play button in the middle, like the one shown below. Jpeg, jpg or png file types work best.
  2. Hyperlink the image to your video.

That’s it. When email subscribers click on the “play” button, they’ll be taken directly to your website or video hosting page, where they’ll see your video. It’s a simple seamless way to put video into your email campaigns.

Creating the graphic is as easy as downloading a play button vector image and using Canva to overlay it on a still image from your video.

video email

3. Bring Your Video To Life With GIFs

Animated GIFs are a great way to let users preview your video without having to embed it in the email. They’re perfect for product demos or action screenshots and can be a fun way to introduce new users to features and upgrades. All you have to do is insert the GIF into the email and link it to the original video url. When people click on the image, they’ll see the full length video.

It works because email servers treat .gif files like static images so these animated snippets appear seamlessly in any email campaign without special formatting. Unlike HTML5, support for animated GIFs is nearly universal. You can easily make your own GIF using a GIF creator tool.

principles of animation arcs gif

Just remember that while GIFs are a great stand-in for video, they’re not perfect. All that repetitive motion can be overwhelming, so don’t use more than one GIF per email. Also GIFs don’t have audio, so you’ll want to create an image that is compelling without sound. Finally, GIF files can be large. Try to keep your GIFs under 125K to make sure they fit into inboxes.

How to Succeed with Video Email Marketing

Adding video is most effective if you give your email subscribers useful and interesting videos in a format their email boxes can handle. No matter how you choose to include video in your email newsletters or outreach, these tips will help you succeed.

1. Make Thumbnail Images Engaging

It’s easy to just grab the default image from YouTube or Vimeo, but your thumbnail is your first impression. Don’t leave it to chance. Instead, find the most exciting moment in your video and turn it into an enticing video thumbnail. You worked hard to create your video. Show off its best features with a video thumbnail that makes people want to watch.

2. Keep Files Small

File size matters. If you embed a long video directly with HTML5 or include dozens of images, your email will take crucial seconds to load. That might be all the time your audience needs to get frustrated and click away to a faster-loading email. So keep media files small ( less than 125kb) and only use one.

3. Surround Video with Informative Text

Your subject line and the text of your email should encourage recipients to click play. Keep the text short and focused to avoid burying your video. Put the video as close to the top of the email as you can. 

4. Create for Your Audience

Keep your audience at the center of any marketing decision. Monitor how your audience responds to video and video subject lines. Try testing GIFs vs static images and see how these formats affect engagement and open rates. 

Most importantly, create and share videos your audience can get excited about. For help making an inbox-worthy animated video, contact the video experts at IdeaRocket.

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