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Email Marketing – Increase Your Sales With Video and Email

Video holds a strong attraction for consumers and if properly adopted in email marketing has the potential to make your business one of the most talked-about and profitable on the web, simply through embracing people's desires to share and be entertained. For proof that consumers want to watch entertaining marketing videos, you need only take a look at the array of advertisements, viral videos, how-to guides and other video shorts hosted on sites such as YouTube.

The question is: how to spread the word? Starting with your own consumers in an email marketing campaign is the most logical step because:

  • They've already invested in your brand and are more likely to be receptive towards your message
  • The video will have the most value to them, especially if it has informative brand, service or product content related to their interests and past purchases
  • They will have friends in their address book who might want to watch the video too, provided the content is strong enough
  • Two common ways of including video in email are to either embed the video within the body of the message using code or to attach it as a separate file that recipients can download and open at their convenience.

    So why are not companies using video and email marketing?

    The thought of an email marketing campaign with video that displays and plays the moment it's opened is a tantalising one. That's because, to be frank, copy and images alone do not jump off the screen in the same way video with its visual, audio and textual elements combined does. Some companies have even reported increases in 'click-through' rates (leading to more sales conversions) of up to 50% after adopting an 'email and video' approach.

    However, the reality is most emails with video embedded or sent as file attachments will not display in email clients and desktop applications. This is usually for one of several reasons:

  • Spam filters redirect the email to the junk folder or block it completely because they suspect the attachment / code of being a virus
  • Slow user connection speeds and / or large file sizes prevent users from playing the video in the email
  • The video player is not supported by the email client or desktop application and fails to load
  • ... and these are just the technical hurdles your email faces; consider for a moment how your audience might react.

    Some will be pleased with the video, others will hate it, either because they can not open the email for the technical reasons stated above or because it upsets the consistency of your previous email marketing campaigns (especially if you do not indicate the presence of a video in the subject line or in prior emails). If these upsets occur too frequently, subscribers will get fed up and either unsubscribe or stop opening your messages.

    Does this mean video in email marketing is off-limits?

    Not entirely: the embedded and attached video tactics mentioned above are just two out of a possible three. What we have not mentioned is linking to videos hosted on your site - a safer option that allows your subscribers to view the video at another location without unexpectedly crashing their computers.

    By sending an email with a link to the video, they can decide whether to follow the link or not, depending on if they think it is relevant to them and if their connection speed can support it (you could host multiple versions of the video in different sizes to make it as inclusive as possible). This approach keeps the email's file size down, has greater success with spam filters, and provides you with a useful metric ie how many people have watched the video - and takes subscribers needs and expectations into consideration.

    Tip: To improve the search rankings and number of site impressions you receive, it's better to host videos on your own site instead of external locations like YouTube. That way any links and traffic the video inspires will be directed to your domain, boosting your rankings.

    Best practice tips to get people visiting your video

    Here are several easy-to-follow tips that will help promote interest in your email marketing campaign and accompanying video:

  • Capture subscribers' attention by mentioning the video in the email's subject line; write something intriguing to get the highest open-rate eg 'Video Exclusive: How to Interest Subscribers'
  • To generate further interest once subscribers have opened the email, place image stills from the video prominently in the body. Pick the ones that you feel are boldest and represent the video best
  • To get the highest click-through rate, make it clear you're linking to a video by combining image stills with related video icons like play buttons and computer media player skins, such as the kind seen on YouTube
  • Ensure maximum click-through to the video landing page by including hyperlinks on the image stills and a text link to the video benefit it
  • Make the call to action in the text link unambiguous: 'Click here to be taken to the' How To Interest Subscribers 'video tutorial'
  • It's possible that some of your contacts' email clients might have images automatically disabled, in which case the image stills will not display. That's why it's important for you to have the text link benefit the image as it provides subscribers with an alternative route to the landing page. As an additional tip:

  • Adjust the HTML alt tag for the video to provide a description of the image eg 'Image Still from Video Tutorial'. That way, if the image fails to load when the email arrives, recipients will know there is supposed to be one displaying and will click the option to 'load images'
  • Encouraging recipients to share your video

    Making a video is easy - making a video subscribers want to share because it's entertaining, informative and relevant is more difficult. Decide on the creative elements that will bring the best result for your video and use these final, additional tips on how to get people sharing it:

  • People take pride in being the first to know about something big; if your video has viral potential ie people are going to want to share it - reinforce the unique position your subscribers are in with flattering copying and clear calls to action eg 'Want your friends to be in on the action? Send them an invite / Forward this video to a friend '
  • Make it as quick as possible for subscribers to forward emails by creating an email template that includes the link and explains why it's been forwarded; include an information field for their friend's names and email addresses on the landing page. Once the names and addresses have been entered, users should be able to click 'send' and expect a fully-working email to deliver on their behalf
  • Establish credibility (and increase the likelihood of high open-rates) by making sure the email subject line communicates the content clearly and the 'from' name reads as your company
  • If subscribers enter their friends' first names in the landing page data field, use mail merge to include it in the opening 'Dear ...,' which will help build trust
  • Go one step further towards creating credibility by taking the first name of the person who wants to forward the mail in the data entry field as well. Use mail merge to have it insert automatically in the subject line eg 'Daniel Wants To Share This Video With You'
  • Increase video exposure by supplying a URL and HTML embedding code next to the video, allowing viewers to post the video on their own website or blog
  • Follow these simple best-practices and you will see an increase in the number of people opting into your email marketing campaigns: that's more qualified leads for you to send campaigns to and turn into loyal customers.

    Not only will this grow your email marketing list organically, the resulting inbound links and traffic to your site should see it rise higher in the search engine rankings, meaning a sustained increase in the number of sign-ups you see long after the video has been launched. Embrace your subscribers' desire to be entertained and share with their friends, and create more new sales leads for yourself by combining email marketing with linked video.

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