Unlike images, sending video files in emails is still a pretty rubbish experience. But what if you’ve just worked on a really awesome video that you need to share in an email campaign? Here are three tips for integrating your videos in email newsletters.
1. Thumbnail images with embedded link
While it’s not possible to embed a video file directly in your email, you can embed an image. Since most video hosting platforms will require that your video has a thumbnail (more advice on this here), you can use this as an eye-catching link to your video from your email.
To set your recipients’ expectations, our suggestion would be to superimpose a play button on your thumbnail image to show your viewers that they’re about to be sent to a video. If you don’t have the technical skill or resources do this, you could instead put a button or a very clear link to your video somewhere in your email to direct your recipients to your video. The key thing is to make sure that your recipients know that they’re being sent to a video, as they may not be in a suitable place to watch it. (They may choose to save the email and watch your video later instead.)
If you’re feeling really adventurous you could consider using an animated GIF instead of a typical still image, but bear in mind that this will increase the file size of your email considerably. Many inboxes still have a file size quota, and users on mobile devices have data caps. Your recipients won’t be happy if you exceed their allowances, and you also don’t want your emails bouncing. Reducing the file size of your GIF will result in a loss in quality, possibly to a point where it’s better to stick with a higher quality JPG or PNG that’s not quite as eye catching but at least still legible.
2. Use a branded player page
When sending marketing emails, it’s important to think about how your audience is going to interact with your campaign. In many cases the end-goal will be to drive sales of your product or service, so it’s important to think about where your video is hosted and where your potential customers will go after they’ve watch your video. Think about your video’s call to action and what viewers will be doing next, then make sure they’re in the right place to do that.
When sharing your video natively on a free service such as YouTube you lose control of the customer journey. YouTube’s interface is full of related videos and comments which could be from your competitors, or who knows what else. Your viewers could end up going to someone else, or they might stay on YouTube, instead of coming back to engage with you.
YouTube, and most other platforms, make it very easy to embed your videos on your own website, so make sure that you’re sending your recipients to a landing page on your site and do everything you can to enrich that page with more content, similar videos, share buttons, and so on. We also suggest taking it a step further and using a video hosting service such as Vimeo or Wistia that provides greater control over how the video player looks and functions. The key to success is keeping control of the customer journey.
P.S If you have multiple videos and you need a place display them that’s branded and fully within your control, take a look at our online service, Vimsy. You can do so much more with your videos, including selling them on a one-off or subscription basis. It’s free to get started.
3. Measure the results
Once you’ve sent your campaign, make sure you measure the results. Services like Mailchimp make it easy to see how much engagement your campaign has received, including the number of times your recipients have clicked on the links in your email. If your email campaigns aren’t getting the right engagement, perhaps due to design or other technical reasons, this will have a knock on effect on your video.
On the video side, most hosting platforms (including Vimsy) offer at least some level of insight into the performance of your videos. As a bare minimum you should be able to see the number of times your video has been played, which means you can get a rough idea of how many of those email clicks converted into video views. If the numbers don’t correlate then it’s worth looking into why – perhaps your landing page wasn’t optimised for mobile devices, or maybe you need to enable autoplay to make your videos start playing as soon as your recipient lands on the page. You can use this data to optimise future email campaigns.
Additionally, if you’re able to track video engagement, it’s worth keeping an eye on your video analytics as you may need to re-edit or restructure future videos to ensure that your audience is watching them all the way through and not drifting off.
Using this data will benefit your videos in the long run and will guide you on making sure that you get the most out of both your email and video campaigns going forward.