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March 2012

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How to Make the Most of Videos in Your Email Campaigns

by Cody De Vos, Agency Relations

A while back, I decided to revisit a craft I’d always wanted to hone: video editing. And, wouldn’t you know it, ever since upgrading to my fancy new software, I’m seeing the potential to make videos all over the place. It’s like my Dad always said: “Give a man a hammer, and every problem looks like a nail.”

As a medium for your message, online video is a mighty fine-looking hammer. Internet Retailer reports that visitors who view product videos are a whopping 85% more likely to make a purchase. It’s easier than ever to create video content, and when done right, it works wonders for your company’s credibility.

In fact, video and email are two of the most effective communication tools on the web. And together they are even more powerful — case studies and split tests show that video links improve conversions by anywhere from 9% to 400%. Numbers like these don’t go unnoticed by advertisers. The Email Experience Council shares that  projected budgets for online video ads will increase 22% from 2011 to 2012.

But how can you be sure that video is the right medium for your message? It doesn’t matter how exquisitely crafted your hammer is: If you use it to change a light bulb, you’re going to make quite a mess. So let’s take a look at some ways to make the most of videos. With these in mind, your video content is sure to get great results.

Video provides education
When I decided to change the oil in my car for the first time, I immediately set out in search of instructions on the web. It quickly became clear that reading instructions wasn’t enough: I needed to see it done. A few training videos later, I changed my oil without a hitch. (Sure, it still wasn’t a pretty process, but it could’ve been a lot worse.)

Sometimes, words and images alone aren’t the best way to teach others. GQ Magazine routinely employs crisp, stylish instructional videos in their email campaigns. In their quest to teach guys like me a thing or two about scarves, video content does the trick.

Video connects us
People love watching and, maybe more importantly, sharing videos. Even those that only last seven seconds. What other medium could prompt the shared experience of millions of people worldwide so quickly?

That’s why I love this video in a recent Global Giving email. In just three minutes, they illustrate the value of donor contributions and the heart of their mission. By pairing this video with a personal email message, Global Giving shows appreciation for their donors in a way that’s more memorable than text and images alone.

Video entertains
What can video do that words simply can’t? Sing and dance. Sometimes it’s okay for a video to be pure entertainment. In the case of artist promos, that’s often the whole point. Indie record label Jagjaguwar — home to Bon Iver and other coffee house favorites — uses video in email to promote their roster and engage in a little online community building, too. By featuring an artist-created music video (shot by the song’s performer, Lia Ices), and inviting readers to submit their own video for this song, they build buzz for an emerging artist while tapping into a lively online videography community.

In a demographically ideal pairing, the winning video played on, a prime destination for all aspiring filmmakers. It was the perfect marriage of old-fashioned promotion and user-generated content sharing.

Suddenly feeling a little Spielbergian? Check out Molly’s tips for sharing video in your email campaigns, grab your video camera (or even just your smartphone) and start exploring.

Just remember: Every video click is a time commitment for your readers, and they watch the seconds go by on their screen. So show them that you value their time by keeping your videos as tight and informative as you can. And if you need any help sharing your video in your email campaigns, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Cody provides strategy consultation for agency clients of Emma, an  email marketing and communications company that serves more than 30,000 customers around the world. He studied Film at Columbia College in Chicago and is currently sharpening his editing skills on video footage of Terminator the Second, a live theatrical Shakespeare/Terminator mashup that he also co-wrote and directed. 

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