Be honest: how many unread emails do you have in your inbox?

Most of us now receive more marketing outreach emails, newsletters and spam than ever before, and it can be hard to stay on top of.

As a marketer, it can be even harder to figure out how to cut through that inbox noise and make sure your emails get opened.

There is a simple solution: video email marketing.

According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, 68% of B2B companies use video content in their marketing. Videos can increase brand awareness, generate traffic, and boost conversion.

And, most importantly, people like video: Hubspot’s 2017 content survey found that 54% of respondents would prefer to see video from brands than other types of content.

There’s a misconception that creating videos is complicated, time-consuming, and — yes — expensive. But with the right tools and strategies, it doesn’t have to be. Creating marketing videos can be quick, easy, and even fun (more on that later).

Here’s the catch: marketers have been trying — largely unsuccessfully — to incorporate video into emails since the 1990s. And most methods for embedding videos into your marketing emails are still… clunky, to say the least.

Thankfully, we have a workaround. Read on for our step-by-step guide to including videos in your email marketing 👇

Why should you include videos in your email marketing?

SuperOffice found that just including the word “video” in their email subject line increased their open rate by 6% — so adding video to your emails is a great way to penetrate that inbox clutter and make your email stand out.

Here are some more benefits of using videos in your emails:
It creates a more personal connection with your readersThere’s a lot of rubbish in our inboxes these days. Sending your email with a video that shows the face of the person sending it lets your reader put a face to the name, humanizes your brand and creates a meaningful connection between you. Suddenly, you’re no longer one of the hundreds of unread, uninteresting emails cluttering their inbox: you’re a real person with something to say.

💡PlayPlay pro tip

According to OptinMonster, 83% of customers prefer an informal and chatty tone in video marketing — something to bear in mind when putting together your videos.

It engages readers

According to data from SocialBakers, video content achieves 135% more organic reach on Facebook. On Instagram, videos generate more comments, more likes, and more shares than other types of content. Video is just better at engaging your audience — and better engagement means more clicks, more conversions, and a higher ROI.

It simplifies complex subjects

If you have a new product or update to explain to your audience, the numbers are clear: video is king. In fact, 69% of people prefer video over text when learning about a new product or service. People also retain more information when they learn it through a video (85% more, in fact), so using video is a great way to get a complicated message across without leaving your readers confused.

6 types of video to include in your email marketing

Here are six types of video you could include in your email marketing:

Event teasers or recaps

Need to get the word out about an upcoming event? Use a short video that showcases some key highlights — with a stellar CTA — to convince your email list to register and attend.

If you want to spread the word about a recent event, a well-put-together event recap video can be a great marketing tool.

Customer testimonials

Testimonials from happy customers can generate 62% more revenue for your company—so why not send that social proof straight to your prospects’ inboxes?

You could use a written testimonial, of course. But remember: according to Forbes, viewers retain 95% of a message when they learn it through video, compared to 10% in text format (and you really want them to remember the nice things your clients are saying about you).

This example from Google AdWords is fun, informal, and does a great job of illustrating the product’s real-life benefits.

Content teasers or recaps

Video is a great tool for generating buzz around your content — even before it’s published. If you have a valuable piece of content in the pipeline, consider promoting it with a video teaser.

Got a great piece of content that’s performing well? Use a video recap to generate more traffic.

Product demos

A video is a clear and simple way to tell your customers about a new product or update, particularly for B2B SaaS companies. To make sure it’s not too dry, keep the focus on the user and how your product will improve their life.

You've Probably Heard of Slack

As this example from Slack shows, product demos don’t have to be boring! They’ve done a great job of using a character to demonstrate the product’s benefits.

Explainers

Explainer videos aim to educate your audience. In a B2B context, this might mean explaining how they can get the most out of your product.

Using graphics that reinforce the words in your video — like in this example from TechInsider — is a great way to help your customers retain the information.

Announcements

You can use announcement videos to tell your employees about new hires, project completions or policies. Or to keep stakeholders or customers up-to-date with exciting news about your company. Either way, a short, informal video shares the news while showing the human side of your business.

How to create videos for email marketing in 8 steps

Developing, creating and sharing a video as part of your email marketing is a process that requires time and a bit of thought, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Let’s dive in 👇

1. Define your campaign and objective

Do you want to announce events? Create leads? Share news about your business? Defining your objective upfront gives your email marketing campaign focus. And, by thoroughly researching your target audience and what your competitors are doing, you’ll have a good idea of what works before you even get started.

2. Decide what type of video to create

The type of video you make will depend on your objective. If you want to drive conversions, customer testimonial videos can be a great way to give prospective clients a gentle push. If you need to tell your customers about a new product, a simple explainer video is the way to go. By figuring out what you want to do at this stage, you can avoid wasting time going down blind alleys later in the process.  

3. Write your script

Before you start shooting, draft a video script that outlines each scene, the dialogue and how your video will flow. It’s much easier to make changes at this stage than later, and a fully fleshed-out script will help streamline the process when you come to making the video.

4. Shoot and edit your video

This might mean shooting scenes with live actors or simply recording your screen for a product demo. You’ll then need to edit your video together. The idea of editing a video can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but it doesn’t have to be complicated if you have the right tools. There are many different tools available, and the one you use will depend on your level of expertise and the style of the video you’re making.

If you don’t want to (or can’t) shoot your own footage, you can also use stock visuals. With a platform like PlayPlay, you’ll get access to a library of free-to-use images, GIFs and audio. With the PlayPlay video maker, you can simply select on-brand media and put together a compelling, professional-looking video to get your message out.

5. Add your call-to-action

Think about what you want your viewers to do after watching your video. Share it with friends? Sign up for an event? For best results, keep your CTA simple and actionable. To make it as easy as possible for your viewers to follow your video CTA, include visual elements like arrows pointing out the subscribe or like button.

6. Write your email and subject line

To get people to watch your video, you need them to open your email — which means an effective subject line is crucial. And one of the easiest ways to get those emails opened is to tell your readers that there’s a video inside: remember, just adding the word “video” to your subject line can significantly increase your open rate.

Your email body text also needs to be on point: you should give enough information to catch a reader’s attention, but not so much that they don’t need to watch the video.

7. AB test and optimize

Play around with your subject line, email text and CTA and optimize your email campaign according to what works best.

Inserting a video into an email is a tricky business. Technically, it’s possible to insert the embed code — the HTML code you’d use to embed your video on a webpage — into the body of your email. However, not all email providers support this, so you have no guarantee that your subscribers can actually view your video.

For the more technologically adept, you can also use a specific HTML5 code to make your video launch automatically when the email is opened. But a lot of email providers are not fans of this technique either. In fact, some of the big players — namely Google and Yahoo — don’t support it at all. Ouch.

Here’s the workaround: instead of back-and-forthing with your IT department trying to get your video embedded directly into your email, use an engaging thumbnail as a link to your video. Adding a simple “play” pictogram (using an editing tool like Photoshop or Canva) can encourage even more clicks.
If you use Mailchimp’s email marketing software, you can simply add a video “block”, paste the URL to your video, and it will pull the preview image directly from YouTube or Vimeo.

Use Video in Your Email Marketing

Another option is to use a GIF as a link to your video. GIFs are tolerated by email clients and provide a useful sneak-peak of your video that leaves viewers wanting more. Even better: you don’t have to be a tech whizz to create one — free tools like EZGIF let you upload your video, select the best part, and create a compelling GIF in just a couple of clicks.

Including video in your email marketing is a sure-fire way to improve engagement and get your message across in a way that’s understandable, digestible, and won’t have your subscribers yawning before they’ve scrolled to the end of the email (or worse still—not opening it at all).

Without the right tools, making videos can be complex, time-consuming, and expensive. PlayPlay is the simplest video maker, and requires absolutely no knowledge of video making or editing (we promise!). Start your 7-day free trial today, and you could have your first video made in minutes.