How and Why to Use Video in Your Email Marketing

Learn how to use video email marketing to increase open and click-through rates and boost conversions in this short small business guide.

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Online video consumption is soaring. Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day, while more than half of U.S. consumers view online videos daily. Sure, a lot of that comprises people watching Baby Shark and cat videos on repeat, but these statistics underline the importance of video as a marketing tool.

Including a video in an email can lead to a 6% increase in your open rate.

Video email marketing can seem intimidating when you’ve never done it before, but it doesn’t have to be. Below we’ll explain why you should add videos to your emails, and best practices to ensure it enhances your email marketing campaigns.


3 benefits of adding video into your email marketing strategy

Using video in email is a great way to boost your marketing conversions. Here’s how it can help you get the results you want from your email marketing strategy.

1. Connect with customers on a personal level

Sometimes text and images can seem impersonal, and they don’t always resonate with customers. Imagine the difference between sending a message from your CEO via video as opposed to a written message.

Customers can see the executive’s personality, hear their tone of voice and how they emphasize certain words, and see the gestures they use. Sometimes written words can seem inauthentic, but with video, there is nowhere to hide.

It’s the difference between connecting with a human and a company.

The Running Channel shares videos every week created by and featuring its coaches. This means you can get to know each one on a more personal level, rather than their being just a name in an email. You’re also more likely to trust their advice when you’ve seen them practicing what they preach.

An email from The Running Channel featuring a video on running stereotypes.

The Running Channel shares videos by its coaches in every email. Source: therunningchannel.com.

2. Tell a better story

As a writer, I believe strongly in the importance of words to tell a story. Words carry such power, but sometimes a message can be better conveyed in a different way.

For example, you could use a video to tell the backstory of your brand and how it came about. Or you could film a video of a company celebration to show what your culture is like (this can also help attract talent).

3. Showcase your products

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, realtors were thrown into a tailspin. How could they safely show people around apartments and houses, ensuring the safety of the owners, the people viewing the property, and themselves? People still need to move house, even when it feels like the world is ending.

Arise the video tour. Instead of sharing static photos, realtors created comprehensive videos of the properties they had for sale and rent. For some people, these videos were enough to decide, as they fully showcased the positive and negative qualities of properties.

If you include videos in your emails, your customers can get a 360-degree view of your product and better decide whether it’s right for them. You’re also less likely to get returns, as customers are making more informed decisions.


4 tips for using video in your email marketing campaigns

Now you know why you should use video in your marketing emails, but do you know how you should implement it? Check out our top tips on running video email marketing campaigns below.

1. Think about hosting and streaming

You can’t embed videos from YouTube or Vimeo in your email and allow users to stream them from these sites; you need to host them yourself. This means you need the original file.

Your video also needs to be a manageable file size; ideally, it should be less than 1MB. Otherwise, it could be marked as spam or not reach your recipients’ inboxes. In the email, you can include a static image of the video, which users click on to play, or you can use a GIF taken from the video.

You also have to think about the cost and bandwidth needed if all of your subscribers stream the video simultaneously.

2. Keep it short

Nobody will watch a 30-minute long video, even if it’s an extended version of Baby Shark or a cute cat at the piano playing Mozart. The rule of thumb is to keep videos under two minutes.

You can sometimes break this rule if you already have very engaged subscribers, and you want to provide an in-depth explanation you can’t fit into two minutes.

3. Create a video email template

Rather than reinventing the wheel each time you send out a video in an email, create a template you can use each time you start a new email. Check if your email marketing software already has templates specifically for video, or if they can help you create one using their drag-and-drop editor.

Mailerlite lets you quickly add video to its email templates using its drag-and-drop editor.

Mailerlite’s drag-and-drop email editor showing you how you add a video.

Mailerlite makes it easier to add video to its email templates. Source: mailerlite.com.

4. Track the success of your campaigns

Your business is unique, and so are your customers. Despite the popularity of YouTube and the rise in video viewing, video email marketing might not work for your business. Don’t just assume it will succeed, track every email you send with video in it.

Track views and clicks. A/B test your emails — one version includes a video and one doesn’t. Use an email marketing solution with heat mapping functionality, so you can see where readers are engaging and which parts of your email they skip.

VerticalResponse helps you understand whether your videos are resonating with your customers with its heat map functionality. You can see a visual representation of where subscribers are clicking in individual emails and over time. This can also help you decide on the best placement for your videos.

An email with the percentage of clicks displayed next to links.

VerticalResponse’s heat map visually represents clicks. Source: verticalresponse.com.


Don’t just rely on video

Videos are a popular and successful method of engaging with customers, but that doesn’t mean you should only send video emails from now on. Your readers want variety; they want you to mix things up and continually innovate. After all, what works now might not work six months down the line.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Instead, send GIFs, text, and images. Make some emails long, and others super short. Try just using text. And make sure you stay up to date with the latest trends in email marketing, especially ones that relate to your industry and business size and type.

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The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned. Click here for more information.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.