I love a good video and I’m willing to bet your subscribers do too. 

Videos give email campaigns an element of interactivity that can intrigue, entertain, and even teach your subscribers in ways that the written word can’t.

This means better subscriber engagement, higher click-through rates, and higher conversion rates.

Surprisingly, with all of that, only about 25% of email marketers include video in their campaigns. That’s especially surprising considering that video email marketing has a 300% higher return on investment (ROI) than generic email marketing campaigns.

Now that you know that, I think you’ll agree  —  it’s time to elevate your marketing strategy with video email marketing.

What is video email marketing?

Video email marketing is the art of adding videos to your marketing emails to make them more engaging. 

The basic concept is pretty simple and adding video to your emails is easier than you think.

Relying on a few practical tips, you’ll have your video email campaigns up and running in no time. You just need to marry your best-performing content — video — with your most profitable method of delivery — email.

Video content + email delivery = success

Video content is the best way to grab — and hold — your audience’s attention.

Most consumers love watching videos and want even more content from their favorite brands.

It’s become the preferred method for taking in information. You can use video to simplify complex topics or capture your audience’s imagination. 

Then send those videos directly to your consumers.

Email marketing has the highest rate of return of any marketing channel — the race isn’t even close. The average ROI is $36 for every dollar spent.

What video email marketing can do for you

Using video in your email marketing can accomplish many different objectives. Which ones you prioritize will depend on your video marketing strategy.

Humanize your brand

Videos are a great way to show off your personality. You can have some fun with them or show a different side to your brand. By giving people a face to put to the name, you encourage them to engage on a more personal level.

Reach the visual learners in an audience

Learning styles vary, and people often benefit from a combination of approaches. And with 65% of people identifying as visual learners, it’s important to incorporate plenty of visual material into your campaigns. It’ll help you become a trusted source of information.

Improve engagement rates

You want people to look forward to seeing your name crop up in their inboxes, and the word “video” alone can boost your open rate.

Plus, one of the best things about videos is that you can often count on initial viewers to help you with their distribution. People are more likely to share videos than text and images. 

Increase sales

A smart campaign can help ecommerce businesses sell more with videos. Video testimonials are a great source of social proof, and product demos spotlight all that your brand makes possible.

Service industries can also benefit from using video to announce events, break down different packages, or promote upgrades.

So what’s the bottom line for your bottom line? 81% of marketers claim that video has helped them increase sales. And, 94% of marketers say that video is the best — or tied for the best — form of content for conversion.

How to insert a video into an email

While it’s technically possible to insert a video into an email, most of your recipients probably won’t be able to view it inside the actual message.

Instead, insert a still image or GIF that links to the site where the video is housed.

That way, everyone can access the video as intended. 

Linking also allows you to track valuable data, such as click-through rate and time spent watching.

How to insert a video link into an email

The easiest way to insert a video link is to use your email service provider along with a video platform. 

After creating your video, upload it to YouTube, or another video hosting platform. The best email services integrate with video platforms, such as:

Often, they also integrate with Shopify, which has an online video tool to help you create and distribute product videos.

Wistia and Vidyard have built-in functions for thumbnail generation, but an email service such as Constant Contact will do all the work for you.

Just go to your email editing tools and drag a video block where you want it in your email. A pop-up window will ask for the URL of your video. Paste the URL in the designated area, and the tool will create and insert the linked thumbnail.

Click the video above to learn how easy it is to add a video to your Constant Contact emails.

If you need to create your thumbnail manually, label the video file in a way that describes the video itself — just in case a recipient’s device can’t properly display the thumbnail. Then, take a screenshot of the video, upload the image into a photo editor and overlay a triangular play button  —  letting people know it’s a video.

Insert the thumbnail into the body of the email and hyperlink to the video’s URL. You can also add a text hyperlink with a clear call to action(CTA), such as “Watch now.”

Where to place your video 

You can add video content to any of your regular marketing emails.

  • Personalize your content with triggered emails that feature videos relating to abandoned carts or recent purchases.
  • Add videos to promotions.
  • Make major announcements in front of a camera.

In general, you should display videos prominently in your mailing, preferably near the top to grab attention right at the beginning. 

In fact, you can use your video to hook recipients into opening the message. As noted above, emails with “video” in the subject line have higher open rates.

Sometimes, the video is a nice extra but not the message’s primary purpose. Feel free to place videos farther down if it makes sense. For example, you might include videos in longer newsletters, offering subscribers a variety of material.

Great ideas for using video in your email marketing

There’s no end to the kind of content you can distribute using video email marketing, but here are 10 ideas to get you started.

1. Break down industry topics

Teach your subscribers something. Cover technical topics in a way that’s accessible to laypeople, or do a series on industry FAQs. 

No one knows less about cars than I do. In general, no one cares less about cars, either — until something goes wrong. That’s why a newsletter with a Subaru video on battery health and replacement catches my attention. Its value is self-evident, and the video itself is very approachable. It was clearly created for people like me rather than for car aficionados. 

example of a video email marketing that breaks down technical topics
Subaru’s newsletter includes a video on battery health. The brand warns the reader of a potential car problem and then breaks down the topic.

When you click on the link, it directs you to a dedicated landing page. Subaru nails the two CTAs. The one in the email directs you to watch the video. The video’s landing page contains a big blue button below the picture, enabling you to schedule the required service right then and there.

2. Invite people to an event

A video invite is the next best thing to a hand-engraved invitation. Performers or producers can advertise sponsors or entertainment for an upcoming event. 

Even better, if it’s an annual affair, share some footage from last year’s event. Remind returning patrons about how much fun they had last year, and give everyone a serious case of FOMO.

You can use this year’s footage next year too, but there’s no need to wait. Use it in an email thanking attendees for their participation, or send a blast to all subscribers announcing the event’s success.

3. Thank customers or give them more information about a recent purchase

Pair your email service’s automation features with video content personalized to the viewer. Create a thank-you or informational video to be sent to recent customers via email. 

Total Wine teamed up with Chateau de Chantegrive for a thank-you video from the vineyard that offers a few tidbits about the wine’s characteristics and production. 

The extra communication is endearing. It’s also smart. The label sets you up to better appreciate and enjoy your bottle, making you more likely to want a second one in the future. 

example of a thank you video in email marketing
This emailed video from Total Wine and Chateau de Chantegrive thanks the reader for a recent purchase and positions them to better appreciate it. Note the inclusion of the word “video” in the subject line, which can help persuade people to open the email.

4. Show off a new product or service

What’s your next big thing? Are you adding new services or packages? Developing a new collection?

Instead of describing your offering, show it off with a video. You can call attention to special details, demonstrate new functions, and inject some energy into the promotion.

Real estate video marketing is particularly effective, and you can also send video emails with real estate listings. Take people on a tour of newly available properties or put together a montage of listings in a particular area.

5. Share your story

Video email marketing is a great place to take people behind the scenes in your organization. Tell viewers about your history, employees, or operations. It’s a great way to humanize your brand.  

Chicago’s Driehaus Museum uses the first anniversary of its founder’s death to honor the man and share his story with subscribers. The occasion adds pathos to the emailed video tribute to Richard Driehaus

example of video email marketing sharing a story
The Driehaus Museum seizes the moment and emails a link to a video tribute hosted on YouTube.

6. Make them laugh (or cry)

Ever notice that memorable TV commercials are almost always funny? Think of Kevin Hart monitoring his daughter’s first date in his Hyundai. Or Cheetos’s decision to embrace the orange dust and turn it into a dayglow-orange meme.

Comedy is hard, but it pays off. Celebrate your silly side in a way that works for your brand. Who knows? Maybe you could create a funny viral video sensation of your own.

You can also go in the other direction and appeal to people’s emotions by spotlighting tragedies or telling heartwarming stories. The goal is to make your audience connect and associate your brand with that positive response. 

7. Provide digital content samples

Email marketing video content makes particular sense when you’re selling the creatives themselves. If you sell subscriptions or digital files, use your emails to offer a small taste of premium material.

Oprah Winfrey appeals to Women’s Health subscribers with an invitation to join the Oprah Daily Insiders. As an incentive, the email includes a video with her “Intention of the Week” message, something to which members will get regular and exclusive access.

example of video email marketing that provides a digital content sample
Oprah Winfrey sells creative content, like videos. Her email video marketing campaign offers recipients a taste in the hope that they’ll want more.

8. Announce contests and e-courses

Use video to get people excited about the opportunity to win, buy, or learn. Tease included lessons or share prize lists. 

Take advantage of these content sources again later. Share your favorite tip as a mini-lesson for subscribers. For contests, you can let people watch you pull raffle winners’ names out of a hat or display the entries of winning contestants. Livestream it at an announced time and then distribute a clip via email.

9. Give insider tips and tricks

Offer practical advice related to your industry. You can solve a common problem or list tips to help people get the most out of your products.

In a video from Evernote and Kourtney Marsh, the influencer demonstrates how the software helps her organize various responsibilities and information. The newsletter link takes you to a video post on Instagram, taking full advantage of both Evernote’s email list and Marsh’s Instagram following.

example of a video in email marketing that gives insider tips
This video collaboration between Evernote and Kourtney Marsh gives viewers tips on how to use Evernote.

10. Offer testimonials or case studies

Happy customers have a level of credibility that you can’t match as a business. Ask customers if they would mind being recorded for a promotional video and then interview them about their experiences.

You can splice together fragments from different interviews or offer a whole minute or two with one particularly enthusiastic brand champion. 

Another approach is to direct your camera toward the work itself rather than the customer. Display before-and-after videos of renovations, or take virtual guests to an event you produced. 

If your industry isn’t full of telegenic moments begging to be recorded, you might use animation to jazz up a case study. Dramatize improvements with graphs and side-by-side comparisons. 

Be more effective with video email marketing

Email marketing is the most effective distribution channel, and video is the most popular type of brand content. Put them together to maximize your reach and impact.

You can use video email marketing to increase your email click-through rate and conversions, explain concepts or demonstrate products, and strengthen your relationships with subscribers.

There’s no shortage of great ideas for using video in email marketing. It’s one of the best ways to persuade, inform, excite, and entertain subscribers.

So what are you waiting for? Pick an upcoming email and add a video to it.