How to Include Video in Your Email Marketing Strategy

Video is fast emerging as the quickest and most effective way to communicate and engage with your target audience. Thus, it makes a lot of sense to add videos to your email marketing strategy as well. 

Here is what you need to know about adding video to your email campaigns.

Getting Started with Video Email Marketing

Video emails are intriguing, and they stand out from the standard text and image-based email communication.

Video email marketing has a pivotal role to play in every stage of the marketing funnel. It’s an integral part of a strategy aimed to create brand awareness, lead generation, lead nurturing, and conversion.

Video email marketing isn’t too different or challenging. But, to get the results you want, you will need to get the basics right. 

  • Draw up a video marketing strategy by clearly outlining the objectives (short and long-term), target audience, budget, to-do list, competitors, marketing tools, channels, and strategies, testing strategy, and step-by-step procedure. 
  • Create great videos with compelling and engaging content. Bear in mind that the quality of the video is as important as the message it conveys. Use good video recording and excellent video editing and just try to produce sharp looking video content,
  • Long videos in emails don’t interest the viewers as the short videos do. One major reason is that long videos, even if excellent with a good story and message, are hard to follow and remember. Therefore, keep the videos short, engaging, and enjoyable.

How to Embed a Video in Your Email?

There is more than one way to embed video in your email. If you possess the required technical know-how, with a decent understanding of HTML, JavaScript, JQuery, etc… then you can write the necessary code to send the video emails to all your subscribers. 

HTML5 videos have emerged as a robust alternative that offers rich media experience, more functionality, superior features, and more benefits. Over the years, support for HTML5 has increased. Now, Outlook, iPad Mail, iPhone Mail, and Apple Mail support this video format. The latest survey shows that more than 77% of websites currently support HTML5 videos. 

Many marketers feel that attaching videos directly to your emails will do more harm than good. So, here is the best alternative. Use an email marketing application such as MailChimp, ConvertKit, AWeber, etc. There are quite a few to choose from; let your budget, requirements, and preferences guide you in making the right choice.

Screenshot of email with a large video thumbnail with play button. Thumbnail is linked to video on YouTube.
Email from MicroConf Connect welcoming new members using a video thumbnail which takes them to the full video

Using an email marketing application allows you to create a thumbnail of the video with a play button. The thumbnail will act as the link, which when clicked will take the viewer to YouTube, Vimeo, your website, or to the place where the video is hosted.

Sending people to a video embedded on your own site? Create video popups using our Video Popups extensions!

Videos in Email: Statistics That Matter

Marketers love statistics; they seem to attach almost a spiritual importance to it. The following statistics should be an eye-opener to marketers and businesses currently not using video email marketing. 

Including a video thumbnail in an email can increase the click-through rate by 50%! Click To Tweet
  • Adding the word ‘Video’ in the subject field alone can increase the email open rate by 19%.
  • Including a video thumbnail in the email can increase the click-through rate by 50%.
  • Video email marketing is cost-effective. The use of videos can reduce CPL (Cost per Lead) by 19%
  • 65% of executives check out a website after watching its video. 
  • 64% of people are likely to purchase a product or service after watching a video. 
  • Increased email opening, click-through rate, and website traffic will have a positive impact on the website’s SEO. 

Videos in emails also help save time and effort. Videos created for email marketing can be compiled and used on social media and elsewhere to draw more visitors, shares, and comments for the website. 

Best Practices for Using Videos in Email Marketing 

How to Construct the Subject Line?

To pick up from where we left off, the first stat on video email marketing dealt with this question. Just the word ‘Video’ either at the start or at the end of the subject line improves the open rate by 19%. 

By adding the word ‘Video’ you are already off to a winning start to your campaign. But, to make it attractive and extra apparent, use the word in brackets. Don’t make the subject line too long though. Keep it short and to the point.

When to Play the Video?

Customers don’t like decisions made for them; they want to stay in control. Hence, avoid the use of the auto-play feature in email videos (and on websites too!). Once the users click and enter your email give them a couple of seconds to browse the text and then play the video on their own volition. 

It’s a tricky business. On one hand, you cannot rush and force the consumer to see a video. Then again, the direct opposite, making them click many times and delaying the video can be counterproductive too. 

In this regard, there is complete unanimity among marketers. They prefer to use single-tap instead of double-tap inside the email.

In single-tap, the user enters the mail, presses the play button (on video thumbnail), the video starts to play in the same tab or takes the user to your website, Vimeo, or YouTube and automatically plays the video.

In the double-tap method, clicking the play button will take the user to the site that hosts the video, where the user has to click the control a second time to begin the video. 

Is Call to Action (CTA) Necessary?

Adding a clear CTA is important, even though some find it challenging to use CTA in a video email marketing campaign. Whatever might be the goal of the video, you will want the user to take action. It can be the most obvious suggestion such as Play the Video, Share the Video, etc. 

You’ll be diluting the purpose and message of the email if a clear and actionable CTA is not included. 

Add a CTA early on in your email, preferably in the first paragraph. You should also include it at the end of the video. 

Tips to use CTA effectively: 

  • Use a clear, immediate, and actionable call to action in your email to encourage user participation.
  • Use social media buttons at the end of the video and tell the viewer what to do. 
  • Visual clues along with a verbal CTA can encourage the user to act. 
  • Create a sense of urgency by including phrases such as ‘Limited Offer!’ or ‘Join Now!’
  • Follow up with your email subscribers by sending a ‘Thank You’ note or an appropriate message after the expected action is taken. 

Do Captions in Videos Help?

Nowadays, videos in emails come with the sound turned off. This is mainly to help those who don’t have the headphones plugged in or don’t want to inconvenience people around. Adding captions in your videos ensures the viewers watch then and there, instead of putting off the act for a later time and date. 

Many people prefer videos with captions even if they can listen to the audio. This is because captions improve comprehension and the viewers understand the content better. 

According to PLYMedia, 91% of viewers watch the video with captions till the end, as compared to 66% who watch the full video without captions.

Normally, with a video, we’re passive participants, only listening and watching. But, with captions, we read, making us connect and get involved with the video.   

Do GIF and Cinemagraph Thumbnails Attract More Views?

A couple of years ago, marketers found that a simple innovation in using thumbnails can significantly increase the click-through rate and video views.

According to Litmus, around 57% of all marketers used animated thumbnails in the form of GIF and Cinemagraph. These innovative thumbnails are easy to insert, supported by most email clients, and they drive higher clicks than static thumbnails. 

Graphics Interchange Format or GIF is a short and simple graphic file with limited text and color options. GIFs fit well into emails and they play immediately. These files also allow animation without much coding and programming. Cinemagraph is a lot like GIF, but only part of the image is animated and plays on a loop. 

Bonus Tip: Test, Measure, Tweak, and Test Again

You want the best possible video emails in front of your subscribers. You might put in the best efforts to create quality emails and videos, but there is no guarantee you will get it right in the first attempt.

That’s why A/B testing is the most used tool by marketers. A/B testing works; it even benefited former US President Obama to raise more funds during his 2008 presidential campaign. 

With regular testing, marketers can see what works better: whether you want to test two different videos, static or animated thumbnail, video with or without captions, thumbnail linked to a video on your website or video platform (example: YouTube), less or more text, different video CTAs, etc. 

Measure the results of the split testing, monitor the engagement data, compare the results with the goals, make the necessary changes, and test again till you strike a formula that works for you. 

Video Email Marketing Examples

Successful video marketing strategy doesn’t manifest itself all of a sudden. It’s a painstaking process when done correctly can change the marketing numbers for the better. Besides, your video emails will have a meaningful impact on the audience.

Let’s take a look at two actual examples of video emails from businesses that have had the desired effect on the consumers. 

Awesome Merchandise

Awesome Merchandise decided to give the audience a glimpse of what goes on behind the closed doors of the company. They appended a short 3-minute video to their email which introduces the consumer to a staff member and shows how the T-shirts are made, packed, and shipped.

Awesome Merchandise’s video that is included in their emails

The video in the email helps the consumer understand and make a personal connection with the brand. The video email was an instant hit, with 23,000 views within hours of sharing the email with their newsletter subscribers.


The aim of differentiating themselves from the rest of the crowd forced Bluleadz to use videos in the course of the entire customer’s journey. Because they were making so many videos – introduction, how-to, culture videos, and more – they found new ways to use videos and also learned ways not to use videos. 

One of their more successful strategies was to combine videos and email. They also closely monitored the metrics and performance of this strategy. Bluleadz found that using video and email together resulted in a 36.9% higher close rate. They found the video in the email marketing strategy speeds up the buyer’s journey. 

Final Thoughts

Video and email – both are powerful marketing tools.

Adding video in the email will only augment the benefits of your email marketing campaign. Video emails can increase views and lead to other expected outcomes if it is done right.

A solid strategy plus flawless execution can often make the viewer drop what he/she is doing to watch the video.

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