Best practices for embedded video in email

For the uninitiated, video may seem like something of an exoticism for the world of marketers, something left to the Fortune 500 list. For those of us in the industry, adapting to the ubiquity of video sharing has been an absolute necessity in the past decade to survive and thrive.

However, the reality of any innovation that features highly expedited progress is that ultimately the technology can surpass the etiquettes and best practices in interpersonal facilitation. We often simply struggle with implementation -- the human side of knowing exactly how to deliver on a new technology to truly optimize our output.

Software innovations have strengthened our ability to track our video deliverables; platforms like video content management systems have streamlined the entire video marketing process from start to finish. However, we’re still ultimately reliant on email for a vast number of our communications, and understanding how to deliver video content through this platform can still feel like something of a mystery.

We’d like as many eyes on our marketing initiatives as possible; that is, after all, the name of the game. And we know that email will be a part of delivery. So how do we best ensure that video delivered via email is reaching our audience? Let’s look today at some best practices to adhere to when integrating video and email for customer outreach.

Title it like you mean it

Marketers will often ask during an audit about increasing audience on outreach emails, and one of the first things any marketing expert will do is open their sent mail to look at the subject lines. Why? Because it’s often such an overlooked starting point but many times it’s the first impression that a new customer is getting of an interaction with your company.

Approach your subject line with a sense of purpose and, in a concise manner, actively pursue to grab your target’s attention. This doesn’t mean a clickbait approach; this isn’t the celebrity gossip column. Instead, entice them with your words, consider what their motivations would be to push forward with your business and lean on those.

In practical terms, including the word “video” in the subject line is an absolute must for marketers. Ample studies have shown the click-thru increase with this inclusion, rating often at a 300% increase. You can do this by simply inserting “

” at the beginning of the subject line, followed by your draw-in subject.

Go ahead and name drop

Another click-thru strategy is to be as referential as possible with your subject line. Insert the contact’s name in the line to personalize it, and don’t be afraid to say that you made the video specifically for them. This will increase the stakes and make the viewer more apt to want to open and view the video.

If you were referred to a contact by a third party, absolutely include their name in the subject line. This will instantly gather their attention and influence click-thru.

In general, operate within your subject lines in an experimental manner and break from the norms. Look through your own inbox, take note of similarities and rethink how you can break from these in creative ways.

Augment video with text

The embedded video is the focal point of your email, but that doesn’t mean you just send it off in an otherwise blank email body. Harness text to strengthen your message.

First and foremost, include a brief introduction above the embedded video. Consider having it lead off the subject line by continuing a thought that was left hanging. In your intro, talk shortly about the video and its content. Emphasize the length: whether it’s short or long, sell them on why that’s the case. Focus on the quality depth and product immersion of a five-minute video, or the brevity of a 30-second intro.

Following the video, include pertinent summary information to either build on key points or to provide some base information should they choose not to view. Then, pivot towards the follow-up. Give the reader precise and direct info on next steps to be taken, a point of contact or end on a question about coordinating a meeting with a specific time and place already in mind.

Do the heavy lifting for them and cut to the chase, leaving no stone unturned. Draw them in, entertain and inform them, summarize and follow up. If your video email hits on these notes, you’re headed in the right direction.

Sean Gordon has an extensive track record recruiting, hiring, training and unlocking the talent of people. For 20 years, Sean has been on the front lines of business across North America. Connect with Sean Gordon on LinkedIn.

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