How to Use Video to Increase Engagement in Email Marketing

For years, marketers have said video would be the next evolution in email marketing, but the challenges of implementing it have held it back. Email clients not supporting it, file size restrictions and video production time have been too much to overcome.

Instead, we’ve gotten animated GIFs and static images with overlay play buttons. While serviceable, it’s not the video experience we imagined.

Animated GIFs result in static animation and looks less like a video. Images with an overlay play button make it clear there’s a video to watch, but the user has to click out of the email to view it — often to a third-party site like YouTube — and take another action to drive them to your site.

Now, 98% of email clients support video, the number one type of content to inspire consumer research, and the time has never been better to bring new life to your email marketing with video. Here are ways to incorporate video in your email marketing program.

Using Video in Automated Lifecycle Messages

Automated lifecycle messages already have higher-than-average email engagement, and video provides an opportunity to engage and entice email subscribers further. While video could work in just about any lifecycle message, consider these opportunities:

Welcome series: Instead of a generic welcome graphic, include a welcome video featuring the company founder, showcasing products, reinforcing a lifestyle or communicating what the company is all about.

Post-purchase series: These emails are designed to enhance the customers’ purchase experience and build customer loyalty. You can thank customers and introduce other types of post-purchase content such as how-to or resource sections, product review requests and customer service info.

Lapsed-purchase series: Lapsed-purchase messages are sent to customers who’ve made a purchase but haven’t returned in a designated period of time. Reengage them with your brand and products through video by introducing new or trending products and styles.

Combining Social Media and Email Videos

Videos are popular content on social media, with 60% of internet users aged 18-64 watching video on social properties other than YouTube.

Repurpose some of your most-liked videos, such as Instagram Stories, into emails. This is a great way to reduce content production time while still providing content you already know appeals to your customers.

Here are two other ideas for weaving social media and video into your email marketing.

Social invite messages: You’re probably used to seeing those generic “connect with us on social” emails found in a welcome series. Instead, use videos from your social media accounts to take these messages to a whole new level by showing off what shoppers can expect when they visit your social pages.

Unboxing videos: You can also use user-generated unboxing videos of customers opening your carefully branded packaging. These videos are a great way to showcase products and the joy of the purchase experience. To take it a step further, add value to cart abandonment messages, building the feeling of anticipation and excitement from a potential purchase.

Promotional Emails and Other Uses

Video can be used in virtually any message you send, but the trick is finding ways to use the video to actually add value to the message. Here are a few ideas for adding video into your promotional email mix:

Tell your brand story: Video can help you tell your story and humanize your brand. Use it to take consumers behind the scenes of an event, like employees volunteering, office life, company outings and photo shoots. Content like this can serve as a wonderful complement to a promotional email.

Top-rated products: Top product emails are a great way to harness the power of social proof in marketing. Instead of using static images to list your top products, incorporate a video element to showcase one or all of the products, customer testimonials, or build anticipation as you “reveal” the top product.

Daily deals: Have a daily deal offer for a specific product or category of products? Use video to demonstrate what makes the product so great or show customers using the product.

Lights, Camera and Most Importantly, Action!

One of the common challenges for retailers when it comes to video is finding the time and resources to create content. While uniquely-created content can be doable for some, don’t feel like you need reinvent the wheel.

Use content you already have, such as videos posted to your social networks or ones that live on the ecommerce or resource section of your site.

When it comes to the optimal video length in email, Playable CEO Bob Hitching recommends keeping them to 10 seconds or less. This fits in nicely with things like Instagram, SnapChat and TikTok videos. The shorter length also help marketers source and create content.

But what about those pesky 2% of email clients that don’t support video? For subscribers using those clients, you’re in the same position you are now: The first frame of the video will display as a static image. A good practice, whether the email client renders video or not, is to ensure this first frame supports your overall email message.

No matter the type of message, video can enhance the email experience and make your brand stand out from the crowd — if you use it effectively. But like all tactics, overuse can lead to subscriber fatigue. Find emails that can most benefit from the use of video and take advantage of the content you already have to give your emails an extra punch.

Video may have killed the radio star, but it will do wonders for email marketing.

Greg Zakowicz is a Senior Commerce Marketing Analyst at Oracle Netsuite

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