written by
Victor Blasco

How to Integrate Video Content Effectively into Your Email Marketing Strategy

Content Marketing 9 min read

Even today, email marketing remains one of the most accessible and reliable channels businesses have at their disposal for targeted outreach at scale. Moreover, the numbers show that no email strategy works better than the one that includes video as part of it.

That said, it takes more than just copying and pasting a promotional video into your marketing emails to ensure your email campaign delivers the results you are after. Meaning that if you are going to do it, you have to understand the core principles for the two mediums to synergize!

In this article, we are going to explore how experienced video marketing companies do just that, approaching the topic from a practical standpoint and hopefully giving you some actionable insights to effectively incorporate marketing videos into your next email marketing campaign to great effect!

Let’s jump right in 😉

Video + Email = Engagement and Action

At its core, effectively combining the two is all about developing and including effective video marketing pieces into your email campaigns, but doing so in ways that lean on each of their respective strengths while covering for their limitations.

Marketing emails are all about giving you a reliable opportunity to reach out to potential customers and have them listen to what you have to say. Video content, on the other hand, has become the preferred channel most people use nowadays to engage with a brand’s message.

So, right from the get-go, it’s a combination that makes sense.

Now, there are some technical limitations and accessibility challenges you’ll need to address, and we’ll touch upon those shortly. But it’s important to understand right from the get-go that leaning on this core division of tasks is vital to crafting video emails that move people to take action.

Your email campaign should be there to facilitate outreach and set the stage for your marketing videos, which should be self-sufficient conversion pieces on their own to do the job!

Best Practices for Effective Video-powered Email Marketing Campaigns

As we mentioned above, there are some technical challenges you’ll need to navigate when crafting video-powered marketing emails. For example, most email service providers—even the bigger, more popular ones like Gmail and Outlook—lack the capability to embed and play video content directly.

However, all this means is that you’ll need to be a bit clever—and do a bit of extra legwork—to ensure your video emails provide a smooth experience for your recipients. Failure to do so is one of the primary reasons why such campaigns fail to deliver as intended.

Let’s go over some of these practices and ensure your next email campaign outshines those that came before it!

Effectively Adding Videos to Your Email Campaigns: Thumbnails & Gifs

Once you have a suitable marketing video to pair with your campaign—more on this in a bit—you are going to want to make that video the centering point of your emails. But since you don’t want to directly embed them—as that would render them unplayable for the vast majority of your recipients—crafting and including video-player simulating thumbnails or directly embedding a GIF from your piece are the two next best options.

Video-player Thumbnails:

All you need for these is to grab an image showing a compelling still from your video—one that captures the eyes and invites curiosity—and overlay a play button icon that simulates the video player one would normally see if your video was embedded on a website or social media platform like YouTube and Facebook.

Then it’s all about setting up that image in the body of your email (ideally, after a very short piece of copy giving readers a reason to click!) to work as an anchor linking to whatever website or hosting platform your video resides for people to watch.

It might sound like a bit of a roundabout way to set up videos in your emails, but it’s really effective. And as long as things are well set up on your hosting platform side, it should provide a seamless experience for your recipients. For example, you’ll want your video to auto-play when people get there to avoid requiring a second click.

Video Snippets via GIFs:

While the previous method focuses on simulating what people normally expect when watching videos on most other platforms, embedding a GIF lets you showcase a fragment of your piece that teases and prompts them to watch the whole thing, which can be equally effective in a different way.

GIFs are the best and most common ways to showcase a bit of your video in spite of the embed limitations of most email providers. Moreover, most people online simply love a good GIF; especially when they are funny or interesting.

As for how to go about actually doing it, you’ll first need to turn a clip from your video into a .gif file—something most video editing software make it really easy to do. Then, it’s all about dragging that into the body of your email (on most service providers), or simply using the Insert Photo/Image feature and finding your .gif file through that UI.

a close up of a reel of film

Which is the better method?

To be frank, there really isn't one. Both are viable options with slightly different appeals, so it comes down to personal preference, email accessibility, and what you think will resonate the most with your recipients or synergize better with the type of email campaign you are running.

An awesome thumbnail synergizes with well-structured, more formal emails where presentation is important, while GIFs can be thoroughly attention-grabbing and allow you to insert clips that add immediate value to recipients. So, it’s more of a decision to be made on a case-by-case basis.

Regardless of the method for embedding, adding videos into your emails can have a huge impact on your email’s overall click-through rates and improve your campaign’s overall performance.

Video Selection: Bridging The Gap With Recipients

Nowadays, people are way more aware and sensitive about the way companies approach them; and this is equally true for the B2C and B2B marketing landscapes. So, selecting videos that help build a bridge between your recipients and your campaign’s core message on a more personal level tends to improve the overall performance of your campaign.

Now, there are plenty of ways you can achieve this. Many brands go the way of humor; others prefer to inspire curiosity or hype, while some companies focus on projecting a sense of professionalism and competence.

Regardless of which approach would best suit your campaign’s message, remember that this selection should be made around the type of audience you are angling for as well. A video that might seem funny to the average person can come across as a waste of time for a busy company decision-maker.

Email outreach is all about building (and nurturing) long-term and ongoing relationships with prospective and existing clients and customers, so choosing video content that facilitates these interactions is vital to getting the desired results.

Which type is that for your particular situation? It depends, so take your time as you plan your next email marketing push to also craft or select videos that meet these criteria. Some popular examples include:

  • Personal greetings or messages around significant events or holidays.
  • Culture videos that summarize your organization’s goals and ideology.
  • Testimonial videos from satisfied clients.
  • Explainer videos covering your product, service, or message in depth.

The Five Letter Word You Can’t Miss in Your Email’s Subject Line

It might come as no surprise, but email subject lines are a crucial part of any email marketing push.

Effectively, subject lines act as the "headline" of your message and often determine how big of a percentage of your recipients even open up your email in the first place! And in today's landscape, where people have gotten used to mentally filtering most cold emails as spam, a good subject line is vital to make sure your email doesn’t go ignored.

Making sure to include the word video somewhere in your subject line has proven to be a pivotal factor in increasing open and click-through rates, given that it is the first thing people see in their inbox.

It's also worth noting that video marketing stats show that the majority of executives watch work-related videos once a week, and 59% of senior executives prefer to watch a video rather than read text.

The best way to go about doing this is to put the word inside brackets and/or bolded, followed, or preceded by your video's title or core topic. This way, you get to be both clear and grab attention more easily. For example: "How We Are Restructuring Our Service [Video]

And since we are in the topic of subject lines, we also recommend you avoid traditionally “spammy” words such as “free”, “earn”, “winner”, and the like. While these might be appropriate within the context of your strategy, these words tend to trigger spam filters, and can be more problematic than useful!

person writing on white paper

Video Email Campaigns and Metrics: Iterate Your Way To Success

Last but certainly not least, it’s worth touching upon the topic of marketing metrics and iteration for your video email campaigns.

Most platforms that allow you to set up wide-ranging email campaigns have features to let you track and analyze your campaign performance by providing data on things like your email’s open rates.

Data you can measure and use to help you figure out things that are working well and things that might need improvement.

But once you start adding videos into the mix, it’s also worth remembering that, when properly set up, your videos can act as a secondary (and often more in-depth) source for analytics you should leverage as well.

By setting up your video on a suitable hosting platform, like Wistia, you also get access to metrics that tell you how many people watched your video, how much of it they watched, and which action they took after watching; like what was the most popular question in that poll at the end, or whether they used that QR code promotion inside.

You can and should use this data as well to analyze how much of your audience is fully engaging with your core message, and maybe try different things on an A/B Testing setup to see which combination performs best.

After a while, you’ll have enough information to reliably conduct video email campaigns that consistently deliver results!

Wrapping Up: Integrating Video Into Email Marketing

There’s no doubt that video-powered marketing emails can open up a world of opportunities for meaningful interactions with your target audience, but you need to leverage these tools to their fullest potential in order to get the desired results.

Hopefully, after reading this far, you have a much more robust understanding of how to effectively implement this combination and how to refine said campaigns the more you use them.

Now it's time to hit the drawing boards and start brainstorming ideas for that next video email campaign you've been thinking about! Follow the guidelines we've gone over today, and I have no doubt you'll be impressed with the results!

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