Using Video to Enhance Your Email Marketing Campaign
Video is at the forefront of many successful marketing campaigns and we are finding that businesses which incorporate video marketing into their overall marketing strategy see higher engagement rates, Click-Through Rates (CTRs) and conversions. In an age where time is money and information overload is a real thing, video might just be the number one tool that allows you to get your message across in a quick, easy to digest and visually stimulating way. If you need convincing, consider these interesting statistics on the use of video content as a marketing tool:
- Video has huge market share - YouTube reports over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month—almost an hour for every person on Earth.
- Video is mobile - people are watching video on their phones and there is no better way to put yourself straight into the hands of consumers’ than with short, engaging and easy to digest content. Video is easily searched and shared - according to Marketing Week, video results appeared in almost 70 percent of the top 100 search listing on Google in 2012, and sharing video is also huge on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Video encourages real time feedback - if you’re looking to interact with existing and potential customers and keep them engaged in real time, the comments sections below your videos provide a great way to do this.
- Video can be measured – you’re able to monitor many things such as traffic sources, sharing statistics, and number of views over time etc., and determine which are successful and where you could make changes.
So how does this tie in to email marketing?
According to Invodo’s video statistics: The Marketer’s Summary 2014, using video to enhance your email marketing campaign boosted opens by 20%, increased click-through rates by 2 - 3 times and also saw a dramatic increase in time spent reading the email, conversion rates, as well as sharing and forwarding of the email. Another study in this report showed that simply using the word “video” in email subject lines boosted open rates by 18.5%, click rates by 64%, click to open rates by 39% and even reduced unsubscribes by up to 26%. Pretty powerful stats, proving that recipients are far more engaging with video driven campaigns.
Well the question that remains is how do I best implement video into my email marketing campaigns? In the past, very few clients supported the playback of video in emails. If you wanted to provide videos to your subscribers this way, the best method was to put a link within the content with a visually stimulating image. An animated .GIF file was the safest method of video content to use. Video playback required the use of a third-party plug-in, which became a security risk to email clients. The email would be sent straight to bulk folders and rendering support wasn't at its best.
Today, there have been some key advances, which have changed the game for marketers who want to include video directly into their email messaging – making it a safer and more viable option for an engaging campaign.
Key advances in audio-visual emailing:
- HTML and email client support – the ever-expanding functionality of coding languages, such as HTML, allows for quick and efficient embedding that is responsive to the user’s mobile or desktop device; meaning a better user experience, tailored to the size of their screen and their download speed, for example. In the same breath, email client support has also expanded, offering new functionality within templates and media players and a wealth of knowledge to aid Internet marketers in this endeavor.
- Hosted, progressive download files – this technology allows for delivery of a file via HTTP. It is transferred to the user’s device and they can access any part of it as soon as that section has buffered. Additionally, a temporary copy of the file is stored so that they don’t have to download it every time they’d like to view it.
This means that including video in an email is easier than ever before, but there are also a number of other benefits for marketers hoping to communicate with their customers in an exciting and engaging way, including:
- Accessibility is greater than ever - close to 50% of your recipients will be able to see a full video in an email. An even higher 90% should be able to see a full video or an animated .GIF/ .PNG, according to ReelSEO.com.
- It’s a good way to gain greater reach - you can begin a user journey with your potential and existing customers by offering them something of value. However, in order to make the most of your efforts, it’s important to develop a strategy around leveraging the popularity of using online video in your marketing initiatives. This can be done with your own research or the help of a professional/ your email service provider.
Best practices for using video with email marketing:
- Understanding your recipients – while the use of video is an option, it should still be done in a useful way that serves a greater purpose. This is where strategy plays such an integral role, as you will need to determine when video can help you communicate a message best and when it isn't necessary.
- Content – in order to maintain consistency in your messaging it’s important that you have an engaging subject line and supporting content that will set an expectation for the video’s content. Thereafter, it’s up to you to meet that expectation.
- Visibility – make sure that you place the video or animated .GIF above the fold to ensure that recipients see it immediately. You have a very limited amount of time to catch their attention and visibility is the fastest way to do it.
- Diversified, responsive content – HTML5 is supported on mobile devices like iPhones, iPads and some Android devices, plus, on desktop, Apple Mail and Hotmail. It also plays fully if a campaign is viewed in FireFox, Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer (9 and higher). In cases where it is not supported, such as in Outlook, Gmail or Yahoo!, it’s easy to specify fallback content, such as an image with a link (view html snippet below), so that users of those email clients can still feel included. Be sure to source a list of the current mail clients that are capable of displaying video directly into the email and establish your fallback content from there.
- Choosing landing pages versus embedded videos – you’ll need to determine which situations call for embedded videos versus a link to a landing page. This is dependent on your objective as well as the audience you are targeting and what kind of access they have to your content, based on your market research.
- Use animated gifs to extend reach – you don’t necessarily need to use the HTML5 video tag. Using animated .GIFs extends the reach of video to those who can’t necessarily see it fully within email, and can therefore increase click-through rates.
- Quick message delivery – be sure to deliver your message quickly and efficiently. By not getting your marketing message across at the beginning of your video, you run the risk of people giving up and not viewing it in its entirety – ultimately missing the message.
- Results measurement – the best-practice approach to measuring the results of your video/ mail campaigns (which will also give you a good indication of whether or not your approach has been successful) is to measure the plays and completion rates of your videos, over and above your open rates.
Using video with TotalSend:
The HTML5 <video> tag provides native video support using a single codec across all browsers without the need for third party plugins like Flash. Place this HTML5 code in your template and kick-start your next video email campaign:
<video width="#" height="#" poster="fallback.jpg" controls="controls"> <source src="http://yourdomain.com/videoname.mp4" type="video/mp4" /> <a href="http://yourdomain.com/video"> <img src="fallback.jpg" width="#" height="#" /> </a> </video>
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