Video in Email: Strategy and Planning

Using video in your email can be an effective way to engage your prospects and customers. Prior to placing videos in your email program, use the discussion points below to determine if it is a good fit for your business as well as to help create a cohesive plan for success.

Should you use videos in your email program?

  • Does using video in your email fit your business model? What is the potential value to your prospects and customers? Do you have the right people and technical resources in place to execute successfully? Can it give you a competitive advantage?
  • How can using video in your email help you reach your business goals? Video in email is typically associated with marketing to increase sales, but can it help you cut costs too? 
  • Does using video in your email fit in with your marketing strategy?  Video in your email may help drive prospects and customers to your website, social networks, or your branded YouTube channel. Since video can be used outside the email channel, it’s important to synchronize it with your overall marketing strategy. Also, if you participate in YouTube’s AdSense revenue sharing program, a possible side benefit is an increase in revenue that may be able to help offset some of your video production costs.
  • Do you have budget available? Your budget may dictate when you can start testing as well as which methods of video to pursue.  You can always start with a modest budget in the beginning and test the results to see if it is worth a budget increase in the future. With customer-created videos, your costs can also be minimized.

Plan for success
If you think using videos in your email marketing program is worth pursuing, the next step is to create a more detailed plan to give yourself the best chance for success. 

  • Discover how your prospects and customers want to see a video. Talk to them during meetings and conferences or send a survey. Also talk with your employees in customer service, sales, and call centers since they are on the front line talking with prospects and customers every day. Videos they may want to see:
    • A welcome video from the CEO or a celebrity spokesperson
    • Product demonstration and instruction
    • Customer testimonials
    • Customer onboarding and training
    • The video as the product (entertainment, training, instruction)
    • Interviews with industry insiders
    • Market or industry insights
  • Think of cost effective ways to produce a high-quality video. You don’t need to spend half your marketing budget on the perfect video, but quality is important. The video is a direct reflection of your business, so a poor quality video can harm your brand image. You could:
    • Hire a local video contractor
    • Buy video editing software and develop the video yourself
    • Ask your customers to submit videos
  • Research which video methods you want to use within your email.
    • Animated gif: The animated gif isn’t technically video but it does provide a video-like experience. Animated gifs are generally cheaper to produce than a standard video and are a good way to get your feet wet and gain some experience to find out what resonates with your customers.
    • Image link with video play graphic: A popular method for incorporating video in email is displaying a simple image with a visible video play button. When a subscriber clicks on the image, they are taken to your website or another video playback service such as YouTube.
    • Embedded video: Embedded video is viewed directly in the email client. It is only supported by about 60% of email clients, so its effectiveness may be limited. Use a fallback image for email clients that don’t support embedding.
  • Set some realistic goals. If your measure for success is doubling your revenue in a week, then you will probably not meet that goal. Start with a modest increase above a current goal over a month or a quarter depending on your sending frequency.
  • Determine your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs will help you determine if you are reaching your goals. Possible KPIs include:
    • Read rate
    • Click-through rate
    • Conversion rate
    • Average order value
    • Revenue
    • Number of videos viewed
    • Website visits
    • Viral impact
    • Unsubscribe requests
    • Complaint rate
  • Develop a testing plan. Testing the effectiveness of your email video strategy is an important step and should not be ignored. Perform classic A/B split tests not only with the content but with the subject line. Figure out an acceptable timeline for testing as it may take some time to determine what resonates with your customers.
  • Create a feedback mechanism. Gather feedback from your prospects and customers about your email video strategy by sending surveys and through regular day-to-day communication. Using qualitative and quantitative feedback (from your KPIs) helps you determine if using video in your email is a good strategy over the long term.
  • Determine a start date. It’s important to determine a reasonable start date so you have time to get all of the pieces in place and produce your email video experience. Be mindful of busy times of the year like during a major holiday or industry event, as you may not have the resources and focus required to help make your strategy successful.


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