How to Start Using Video in Email Marketing

August 19, 2023
Written by
Nathalia Velez Ryan
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own
Reviewed by
Ayanna Julien
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

How to Start Using Video in Email Marketing

Video in email marketing—once, it was a rare sight to see, but now it's a normal part of your inbox experience.

Think about it.

When you have a choice between reading a long block of text or watching a video, which do you prefer? 

Most people opt for video, which is why it’s one of the most widely used types of marketing media. In fact, 86% of businesses use video in marketing—you may be too. 

And while you may already be sharing video content on social media, which is a natural home for it, when done right, video can also be a powerful tool in email marketing. 

This guide will cover why and how to use video in your marketing emails. 

What is video email marketing?

Video email marketing means including videos in your marketing emails. This can make the content more engaging and boost opens and clicks.  

While video content won’t make sense for all your email campaigns—notifications and other transactional emails can convey the message with just text and an image—there are some instances when video can enhance the message and help improve engagement metrics

The types of videos you can use in emails include: 
  • How-tos and explainers: Demonstrate how to get the most out of your product or service, teach a class, or do a deep dive to answer frequently asked questions about a particular topic. 
  • Product showcase: Present your product or service’s standout features and the benefits to the user. 
  • Behind the scenes: Showcase your team, company culture, process, or other aspects of your business that would get viewers excited about what you have to offer. 
  • Testimonials: Let your customers do the talking and share their experiences with your business or product. 

Benefits of using video in email marketing 

A full page of text can quickly put off your email recipients, so if you have something to convey that you can’t get across in just a few sentences, a video is a great alternative. Plus, it’s one of consumers’ favorite ways to consume content—in a Wyzowl study, 73% of respondents said a short video would be their preferred way to learn about a product or service.

One of the biggest benefits of video is it can help boost your click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate. According to the same study:
  • 87% of marketers attribute video to helping them increase traffic to their website 
  • 94% of marketers admit video helps them improve brand awareness 
  • 88% of consumers claim watching a brand’s video convinced them to buy a product or service 
With numbers like these, it’s worth introducing video into your email marketing strategy to see how it can increase engagement. Now that you have a better understanding of why you should incorporate video, let’s dive into how to do it effectively. 

How to send videos in email marketing

There’s a good reason why email largely relies on text and images. If you build your emails with HTML, you probably know that it can be difficult to embed videos, and that still doesn't guarantee a correct rendering in recipients’ inboxes. In fact, most inbox providers—including Google and Outlook—don’t support embedded video. 

So how exactly do you send videos in your email campaigns? The best option is to use captivating images from the video and link to it on another website.

Follow these 3 steps to send videos in your emails. 

1. Get the video URL 

It’s likely that you’ll host your videos on a website such as YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, or maybe even your app. If that’s the case, the first thing you need to do before you start sharing is to make sure the video is set to public so anyone with the link can view it. Next, copy the URL and have it ready to go when you start building your email. 

2. Create a still image or GIF from the video 

You’ll need an eye-catching image to encourage the recipient to click through to watch your video. To get it, choose a visually compelling moment from the video and either take a still image or create a GIF

If you opt for a still image, you have a few options to acquire one. For starters, video hosting websites like YouTube generate multiple thumbnail image options from the content of the video, so you could use one of these. 

Another option is to pause the video at the moment you want to capture and take a screenshot—just be sure the screenshot is high quality enough to render correctly in your email. But if you prefer a higher-quality image (and you’re proficient in Photoshop), you can also try this method to get a still from your video. 

Optional: Once you have your image or GIF, you can use an image editor to add a Play button icon to make it abundantly clear that clicking on this image will take users to a video. 

Now that you have all the components, you’re ready to add the video to your email. First, insert the image or GIF into your email editor. (Follow these instructions to insert a GIF on Twilio SendGrid.) Next, add a hyperlink to the video from the image or GIF. 

It’s crucial that you cover all your bases and increase your chances that recipients will click through to watch the video. So in addition to the hyperlink on the image, create a call to action (CTA) in the email copy or a button below the image. 

Ultimately, the purpose of using videos in emails is to get recipients interested and engaged with your business. So don’t forget to give viewers a CTA after they watch the video, like going to a landing page where they can take action (e.g., purchase a product or register for an event). You can include the CTA within the video itself and in the video description. 

Ways to use video in your email marketing campaigns

Now that you know the practical steps to add videos to emails, let’s get to the creative part and look at some examples of effective ways to use videos in your email marketing campaigns. 

Create a personalized experience 

Video can help you personalize communications with customers and meet them wherever they are in the customer journey.  

For example, if a customer just purchased a product for the first time, you can send them an explainer video that shows them how to use or set up the product. Even though you can use automation to trigger these types of messages, to the recipient, it feels like a personalized experience. 

Another way to marry video and personalization is to use customer identity and behavior data to send users videos aligned with their interests. For example, let’s say that a particular user has watched a few vegetarian recipe videos on your website. You can use this information to send them an email with related content likely to pique their interest and keep them engaged. 

Showcase your company’s personality 

Whether you send a welcome series, retention campaign, or a recruitment email, video can be a great way to show your business’ culture and personality. After all, it’s one thing to say your company is fun or inclusive, but it’s quite another to show it.

This could take many forms, like a tour of your headquarters, a vlog, a friendly competition among staff, or any other format you can imagine. It’s an opportunity to be creative—just be sure the video aligns with your brand voice and has a clear goal. 

Announce an event

Sure, you can describe how it feels to attend your awesome event, but a video can do an even better job immersing recipients into the experience. 

For example, if you want to announce an annual event that you have plenty of footage of, video works especially well. You can showcase the music, activities, performances, contests, or whatever makes your event special to help drive up registrations or ticket sales. 

You can even repurpose video content to make it go further—post a sneak peek on social media, share short clips on Instagram stories, link to the full video in an email, and more. 

Hype a product launch

When it’s time to unveil a shiny new product or the return of a fan favorite, video can be an effective way to promote it. After all, static images can only do so much to show the features of your product. Video, on the other hand, allows you to give 360 views, show the product in action, and display how real-world users make the most of it. 

Once you get viewers excited to try your product, give them a CTA, so they know how to get their hands on the new launch. While you’re at it, give your email subscribers an extra perk such as a presale code as a reward for being loyal customers. You can even ask subscribers for early reviews or photos with the product and use these for the next strategy. 

Share testimonials 

Consumers put a lot of faith in recommendations from other people—one study found that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and 70% trust online reviews. This is what makes testimonials so effective. 

So whether you work with customers to produce a video in-house or gather user-generated content, video testimonials help convey the value of your business (and, in the case of the Liquid Death example below, your business’ irreverent personality). When real people use your product or talk about how your business has helped them, it can be a major selling point for email recipients and move them further along the customer journey. 

Another great way to source testimonial videos is to find influencers in your industry who may already use your product and even post video reviews on their channels. With their permission, you can share their videos in your emails and give recipients the chance to hear an honest review of your product. 

Add compelling content to your newsletter

Recipients expect your newsletter to be full of useful or interesting content, and videos can help you add some variety. Plus, videos can boost your newsletter’s CTR by encouraging recipients to click through to watch.

For example, if you have a video-centric business, like MasterClass, newsletters are the ideal place to promote new videos. But if you don’t produce videos in-house, you can still link to videos related to your industry that readers would find compelling. 

Best practices for sending videos in your emails

Ultimately, using videos in your email campaigns can enhance engagement and communication with your audience. However, you need to get the nitty-gritty elements right to ensure your email shines:
  • Mobile optimization: Ensure that your videos are mobile-responsive and can be viewed easily on different devices, as a significant portion of email opens occur on mobile devices.
  • Thumbnail selection: Choose an attention-grabbing thumbnail for the video that encourages recipients to click and watch.
  • Call to action (CTA): Clearly place a CTA that encourages recipients to click on the video. The CTA should communicate the benefit of watching the video.
  • Host videos: Host your videos on a reliable platform (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo) and embed them in your email. Avoid using autoplay to respect user preferences.
  • Fallback for non-supported clients: Some email clients don't support embedded videos. Provide a fallback image with a play button overlay that links to the video on your website.
  • Video length: Keep videos short and focused, as shorter videos tend to have better engagement rates. If the content requires a longer video, consider breaking it into shorter segments.
  • Visual appeal: The opening frame of your video should be visually engaging to capture attention from the start. Avoid lengthy intros before getting to the main content.
  • Loading speed: Videos should load quickly to avoid frustrating recipients. Use compressed video files to ensure smooth playback without causing delays.
  • Captions: Many viewers watch videos with sound off, so consider adding captions or subtitles to ensure your message is still understood.
  • Branding: Maintain consistent branding in your video, including colors, fonts, and overall style, to reinforce your brand identity.
  • Interactivity: Use interactive elements like clickable hotspots or annotations within the video to engage viewers and guide them to relevant content.

Try video email marketing with Twilio SendGrid

Whether you prefer to design your emails using HTML code or a drag-and-drop editor, Twilio SendGrid’s Marketing Campaigns helps you build effective email campaigns. 

Following the steps outlined in this post, you can quickly integrate videos into your emails with Twilio SendGrid. It’s as easy as dropping in the image or GIF into the email editor, linking to your video, and sending! With our automation tools, responsive templates, and email testing, you can maximize video as an email marketing tool. 

Ready to give video email marketing a try? Get started with a free account today

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