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Video in Email: How to Maximize its Impact

12 Min Read

If your brand wants a generous return on investment (ROI), there are few better methods than video.  A thoughtfully-crafted video strategically placed in branded media, be it your company website, Twitter, or even an email, can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

Before we get into how best to use video in email, let’s first recall a few stats:

Visual information is processed roughly 60,000x faster in the human brain than text. About 95% of information from a video is retained, while an additional 52% of people report feeling more comfortable about online purchases when there’s a product video available.

The average email marketing ROI is about $39 for every $1 spent, which is unheard of in most other marketing channels. Similarly, marketers worldwide credit video as the medium with the highest ROI. Combine the two, and you have a true marketing power couple.

And we haven’t even mentioned welcome emails yet! About 74% of new email subscribers expect a welcome email, which generally sees four times the open rate and five times the click-through-rate (CTR) of other types of marketing email. But that’s not even the best part: An initial welcome email with a video can garner an average CTR of 96%!To put that into perspective, the average CTR for a B2C marketing email is about 2.1% and 3.2% for B2B.

Start with a Warm Welcome Email

From the stats above, a welcome email with a well-crafted video is fairly low-hanging fruit to drive more click-throughs.

If you really want to be strategic (and because it’s best practice), you can go one step further in ensuring your new subscribers check their email immediately after signing up. Try requiring a double opt-in, in which they have to go to their email to confirm their subscription to your list.

Once they confirm and your first welcome email is instantaneously deployed, they’re already in their inbox to see it, and more likely than not, open it. Just like that, you are one step closer to a video watch with a 96% chance of click-through.

Here’s the thing: Welcome emails are meant to evolve continuously, as in every several weeks or months. They are malleable and are meant to be tested, learned from, and optimized for continuous improvement. You never know when you might find a content sweet spot that really resonates with people and drives engagement, so keep a close eye on performance metrics and implement learnings to improve your own welcome email(s).

Embed HTML5 for Video-Supporting Email Clients

The unfortunate reality is that not all email clients and devices play nicely with embedded video in email. In fact, only Apple Mail, iPhone iOS 7 and 10+ (don’t ask us why Apple removed it for iOS 8 and 9), Samsung Galaxy, Thunderbird, and Outlook for Mac support video in email (although Outlook for Mac requires a right-click to play the video).

HTML5 is the newest version of HTML that allows for embedding video in email, which has been adopted by these clients and devices. Since embedded videos in email are not a commonplace practice (yet), this offers a truly unique experience for users who can watch them in-email.

Use Video Frame for Non-Supportive Clients

If you know the majority of your list subscribers consume email on any of the above clients or devices, you are golden. For other subscribers whose email providers don’t play nicely with video, you can set up a fallback, or parameters that will instead display a frame of the video and redirect them to a landing page where the video will play.

Depending on a few factors, you may be able to select the specific frame yourself. Make sure it’s the one most likely to pique interest and get that click.

If all else fails, simply upload a screenshot of the best frame and link it to the video’s landing page. Just be sure to double check that the link works, otherwise you risk frustrating a freshly-earned list member and losing them to an unsubscribe.

Make it Responsive

A recent study on mobile email usage recently conducted by our friends at EmailMonday found that at least 61% of email users interact with email on mobile devices (aka on-the-go). So, about three in five people.

It’s important to always optimize your emails for mobile. One way to do that is to give it a responsive design, which you can do with a single-column layout, media queries to establish fonts and images, certain design elements, etc.

A responsive design will help ensure the email and video render properly and fluidly across clients and devices.

Always, Always Use Subtitles

Keep in mind that most people avoid playing audio in public when they don’t have headphones. If your video includes conversation or language of any kind, include subtitles. This will support viewer retention and subscriber engagement.

Not only that, but a lack of subtitles is alienating for email users with hearing impairments. Captions allow everyone to be a part of the conversation, and also helps your brand connect more meaningfully with subscribers.

Personalization Counts

Personalization measures go a long way in email. CampaignMonitor found that personalization wins in terms of email open rates, engagement, conversions, you name it.

The more personal you can get your videos in front of, the better. Use your customer data to your advantage and give them tailored video content you made especially for them because you know what they like.

While including an individual’s first name as a merge tag in the subject line or preview text boosts an open rate, there are still ways to include content that feels specific to each user. One way to do this is with highly targeted content and list segmenting.

Before you start creating a video, ask yourself who its intended audience is within your list. Make sure you’re creating something that at least a very niche group of your list will find substantial value in.

If you can replicate the same video with only a couple content tweaks so that each video is hyper-relevant to a segment of your list, you can use dynamic content in your email to dictate what audience member sees what video.

Or, you can create multiple emails, each with its own video, and send to list segments like that.

If you can’t answer the question “who in my list needs this content”, or if the answer is “everyone”, the content isn’t niche enough yet.

Most Importantly, Keep it Simple.

Keep in mind that subscribers are digesting your video in email. Most people don’t spend half an hour in a single email, they’re usually in and out. Make the video as succinct as you can without compromising the message quality.

Also–and we can’t stress this enough–remember to include the ‘play’ icon. Otherwise, readers will see it as a static image and won’t even know to click.

But What Should the Video Be About?

A video can be about anything. What makes the most sense for your brand? If you’re selling a product, what’s the most engaging thing about it? What questions do you anticipate your customers having that you can shine a little light on?

If you’re make something hand-crafted, maybe you show what the creation process looks like. Show your new subscribers behind the curtain and tell them a good story.

Or, take the informational route with a short product demo, tour, or even a collection of clips that tell a story.

You can even give a full tutorial on how to use your product, either in stacked S-curve form with several short video clips, or as one single video. Either way, be sure to include copy or subtitles so that it makes sense when played without sound.

Basically, the video needs to tell a story, and the story should be genuine and thoughtful (and it never hurts to make people laugh or “happy cry”).

Lights, Camera, Email!

Now that you know how to go about including video in email, it’s time to start producing. Lemonlight is an industry leader in helping brands and agencies nationwide create impactful videos that help businesses grow. Let the experts help you start boosting your open rates, click-throughs and conversion with a high-quality video your subscribers will love.

When you’re ready to add it to an email, Email on Acid is an email content checking service that gives email marketers a preview of how their emails will be displayed across the 80 of the most popular clients and devices. They offer a free seven-day trial (and even day passes) where you can check every part of your email, down to the HTML, and run email tests to ensure your email with video will render properly.

 

By Melissa Berdine of Email on Acid.

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