Using video in email marketing

You’d be forgiven for assuming that this blog is going to be a stark warning about the perils of using video in email marketing.

You might even think I’m going to convince you not to bother and instead stick with plain images and GIFs.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Video remains (and is likely to for the foreseeable future) one of the stickiest, most engaging forms of content.

So, use it in email marketing you should. Just be aware of the following…

Embedding video probably isn’t your best bet

Although it’s now possible to embed video within emails, not all clients can display them.

Think about it: when was the last time you received an email that contained an embedded, playable video? I’d wager it may have been never.

Don’t be deterred, though, because there are two simple solutions.

  • Use a static frame from the video as an image and link to a landing page. This is the easiest method, but does take the recipient immediately away from your email. Although, that’s a click-through, and they’re like rocking horse you-know-what in email marketing.
  • Use a standard ‘find out more’ call-to-action (CTA). If you want to keep eyes on the main content in your email for as long as possible, there’s nothing wrong with ending the intro text with a text-based CTA that simply links through to your video landing page.

Try embedding video within your emails. By all means go for it. However, I’d suggest some thorough A/B testing against the methods above to see which garners the most engagement.

Use GIFs with the same caution

A common way to get around the inability for most email clients to correctly render and display video content is to use GIFs instead.

I’m not against this, either; GIFs are actually a pretty smart way to preview your video and do so in a way that is both engaging and non-intrusive thanks to the lack of audio (few people want their email inboxes to start blasting out unexpected sounds or commentary).

However, there are still display issues with GIFs and certain email clients. At best, they might be ignored entirely; at worst, they could be viewed as spam or some form of malicious content.

Once again – A/B test GIFs if you want to use those to preview what’s to come on your video’s landing page.

You still need a good story

As good as video marketing is, and as brilliant a companion it can be for email, you still need to tell an engaging story.

Without a story, video is nothing more than something that is played by many and engaged with by very few.

Before you set foot into the wondrous world of video content, make sure you’ve got a clear story in your mind. What are you going to show your audience that will help them or answer a burning question they have?

Equally, be sure to include a CTA at the end of your video, because if you manage to get someone to click through from an email campaign, all of that hard work will go to waste if they’re not encouraged to do something once they’ve finished watching.

Wrapping up

I hope I haven’t put you off including video content in your email marketing campaigns. As you can see, it’s more about how you direct people to the video itself.

We’re some way from having a broad range of email marketing clients that willingly accept video, therefore my recommendation is to always go for the easiest option (unless your A/B tests suggest otherwise, of course…).