email video

8 Steps to Using Video in Email Marketing

By: Jonathan Mahan, Senior Account Executive, BombBomb

January 16, 2020

By now, most marketers would agree that video is a powerful tool for getting attention, communicating clearly and creating lasting impressions. Yet, very few are harnessing the power of video in their email marketing. That’s a shame, because most email inboxes suffer from a serious lack of imagination. To add some pep into your email marketing step, here are the basics of using video in email effectively.

Break patterns with your subject line. The same general rules apply to video email subject lines as to other pitches and promotions. Keep it concise, trigger curiosity and tell readers why it’s worth their time to open the email. For videos, include the word “video” in the subject line, which falls outside of anticipated patterns for an email inbox.

Avoid static images. Once the email is opened, make sure that the preview of the video is in the form of an animated gif rather than a still thumbnail.

Set expectations. It’s best to include a specific video length; something like “play 51-second video” overlaid on a preview works well. This lets busy readers know that engaging with your video won’t be a significant time investment.

Marry copy to video. A video email differs from a traditional pitch in the body text. The job of the video is not to restate what is written in the email. Rather, the written message and video need to work in tandem with one another. If your message is fairly short and can be covered in a 1-2 minute video, then the job of the text is just to explain why it’s worth the recipient’s time to watch the video. For example: “I saw you were active on our website. I wanted to make sure you were aware of a few things before you get much further in your search, so here’s a quick video.” If your message is significantly longer in nature (like a newsletter) then the roles reverse. It is the video’s job to serve as a quick overview of the content and ultimately make the case that it’s worth the recipient’s time to read the full body of the email.

Focus on the payoff. Video emails must hold some significant value to viewers, in the form of education, entertainment or both. Otherwise, they won’t bother to open your next email.

Keep it real. The true power of video in email marketing comes from its ability to make connections in a way that typically only happens face to face. Don’t diminish that effect with unnecessary editing and “polish.” Video emails tend to be most effective when they feel more like a casual conversation than an advertisement. I tell my BombBomb clients that unless your editing truly makes the video more valuable to the recipient, you’re better off with a single unedited clip that shows you as you are. The small mistakes and “ums” that make their way into your video only make you more relatable to the viewer.

Land the plane. Just like in a written email, your video should end with a clear call-to-action telling viewers what steps you’d like them to take next, and why it’s worth their time to take those steps.

Measure success and follow up accordingly. Once the email has been sent, pull a tracking report and see who watched the video. Follow up with another video and an even stronger call to action to that group. This could take the form of another mass email—or, if the group is small enough, consider sending individual recipients personalized video emails with their name written on a whiteboard in the preview.

There’s much more to be said on email video marketing, but hopefully this guide will help you get started.

Jonathan Mahan is a senior account executive at email software company BombBomb, coaching clients on how to make the most of animated gifs, timestamp overlays, reporting and more. Connect with Jonathan via email for a personalized video and a free test drive of the software.

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